In two interviews published Wednesday, Rich Kleiman, Kevin Durant’s manager and business partner, added some new perspective on both his decision to join the Nets last summer and his rehab, now in its eighth month.
In an interview at the Museum of the City of New York, Kleiman essentially tried to defuse any further discussion of why Durant decided not to join the Knicks, but instead crossed the river and what it means to him to be a Net. Kleiman was among the guests on hand to honor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and businessman Owen D. Thomas with Gotham Icon Awards.
First, Durant was asked how he’s adjusting to life in the Big Apple.
”He loves it. I’ve seen it more recently now, maybe because his rehab is picking up. But he loves it. He looks like he’s fitting right in. Kevin wants to be able to do what he wants and move how he wants, and in New York City, people don’t care what you’re doing. Everybody moves at their own speed and I think he’s fitting right in. (Durant) works so hard that you can put him on the moon and he’s going rehab and work to this degree. So I think, for him, it doesn’t matter what city he’s in, he’s going to lock in. But who wouldn’t love living in New York?”
He spoke as well about KD’s ambitions for the Nets ... and how reporters are asking the wrong questions about 2019 free agency.
“I think he’s excited to really put Brooklyn on the map and really make that franchise something special. I think a lot of times people want to focus on why the Knicks didn’t get him and (less) on about what the Nets did to get Kevin and Kyrie there. And that’s a shame because it wasn’t in lieu of where the Knicks were. It was because Brooklyn was who they were.”
Kleiman wasn’t asked about KD’s return at the museum but DJ’s at Hot 98.7 got him to open up a little more. Again, he left open the possibility that Durant would at least as good when returns as he was the last time he played and suggested his rehab is going well.
Essentially, though, he was non committal on KD’s return —“Why have that conversation now?” — adding, “Its going to be fun to watch him play whenever that is.”
“He’s great. He’s so locked in on every level like ... he really is. Its going to be fun to watch him play again, whenever that is as a fan. “
Kleiman declined to get into any detail on when he might return, deferring that conversation.
“It’s not like procrastinating. It’s like why have a conversation now that we just don’t have to have? Let him lock in on what he does everyday. The dude doesn’t miss a rep. He doesn’t miss a rep.”
Asked if he expects Durant to come back in the best shape of his life, Kleiman said, “yes, I think so.”
As for KD’s mental state, he told HOT 97.8 “he’s so centered,” that he’s seen his sport, his life slow down while he’s been out, giving him a different perspective.