Kevin Durant called into rapper Joe Budden’s podcast from Los Angeles Saturday and talked a lot of hoops, from how he’s doing physically (“I feel like myself, like a player”) to why he spoke out about the Knicks (“They bothered me for a whole year!”) to what role he played in the selection of Steve Nash (“I didn’t pick the Nets coach.”)
And with his choice to win it all, the Clippers, out of it, KD thinks it’s “Lakers in six” over the Heat.
Budden said he had hoped that Durant would be in New York for the podcast, but instead, the Nets star stayed on the left coast because “the Nets out here working out so I had to stay. A few of us, four or five of us, out here.”
There’ve been reports that in addition to KD, Kyrie Irving and Spencer Dinwiddie that a number of Nets, including two who played in Long Island, have been going full-court in L.A. Also, Adam Harrington, the Nets director of player development, has been out there.
“I’m in a stage now where we’re just hooping every day,” KD told Budden and his crew, Jamal “Mal” McKay and Rory Farrell. “I feel good waiting for next season to get back.”
Asked if the drills were full contact 5-on-5, everything, Durant confirmed they were.
“Yeah, we play 4-on-4, 5-on-5. I’m working out every day. I feel like myself, like a player. I got a long ways to go though,” he said, without explanation.
When asked later in the podcast what he expected from the Nets season, Durant would make no predictions. “I don’t know, we’re gonna see.”
KD didn’t discuss the Nets roster, but he did say he’d like to see Jamal Crawford return to the Nets next year. “I don’t even know if Jamal wants to play again,” he said, adding “I would love to have him on the team.” Later, Crawford tweeted that he does indeed plan on playing.
He was also asked about his role in the choice of Nash ... and whether Irving was less enthusiastic than he was about choosing the Hall of Famer. Durant deferred on both.
“First of all, I didn’t pick the Nets coach. We got people in place that do that,” he said. “I just supported it. Me and Kyrie. We’re always on the same page. He’s just a hooper. It don’t matter.”
He deferred as well as whether there’s another player in the NBA who could beat him, one-on-one.
“Man, it depends on how we playing,” he said, laughing. “What’s the game? One game? We playing a series of games? Sure dudes can get me in a game. I’ll say some dudes can get me. I’m not going to say I’m the best.”
However, Durant was very forthcoming on why he’s been so harsh in his discussions of the Knicks attempts to recruit him last year. Asked if he could “leave the Knicks alone,” KD, always direct, replied...
“What you mean? They bothered me for a whole year! I was just trying to chill and just play and worry about my season. All the Knick fans, those Knicks media. They bothered me the whole year. But when it’s my time to talk about it, I gotta shut up now?? I’ve been wanting to ask these questions for a year. Now that I’m available, it’s a problem?”
He also spoke about his putdown of Kendrick Perkins, his former Thunder teammate who had been dismissivel of his achievements in Oklahoma (and who later criticized Irving for his stands on the “bubble” and “social justice.”) Perk, he said, had gone too far.
“He tiptoed the line,” he said of Perkins. “You know he’s a former player. Sometimes you think he’s been in the media his whole career. Sometimes you gotta give him a little taste of reality like, ‘Bro, you played in the league with us. You know what we go through so don’t be acting like you don’t.’”
On the topic of former players getting behind the mic, Durant said that they should help fans understand the whole NBA experience, “mentally especially.”
“I respect the new gig, and they can’t be totally biased but at the same time I’d like you to give a real in-depth perspective of what we go through,” Durant said. “Mentally especially. Especially if you’re talking about situations that you’ve been through. You should really get it real instead of f*cking with the narratives. You know what I’m saying. I think they should be a little bit more honest about their experiences in the league. More fans will understand that way.”
He also agreed when it was suggested that the MVP award should incorporate the playoffs as well as regular season.
“The criteria is the regular season but I understand. I feel the same way you feel. I feel they should evaluate the whole season, evaluate the playoffs included. If you include the playoffs, then ‘Bron is easily the MVP. I see now why Giannis was the MVP. His numbers was crazy.”
But when asked if Chris Paul should have gotten more consideration, he disagreed.
“Come on, He made the All-Star team, was second team, All NBA. That’s his thing. He’s not the MVP. Even he wouldn’t say that,” Durant said.
He also expressed himself on other issues related to the “bubble.” He didn’t like how Patrick Beverly of the Clippers waved a sarcastic goodbye to Damian Lillard when the Trail Blazers were eliminated.
“It was too early to be thinking about that. You expect Damian Lillard to put out. He’s fighting for a playoff spot and you’re just clowning on him? Like you ain’t won yet.”
As for the Clippers demise at the hands of the Nuggets, Durant admitted his surprise. He thought L.A. was the favorite going into the playoffs.
“To see them lose was definitely shocking. Yeah, they had the most talent. They had the deepest team top to bottom.”
Now, he added, the Lakers have to be considered the favorites and he sees them taking the Nuggets in six before winning it all against the Heat, also in six. “Miami could give them some trouble,” he added.
And he wouldn’t criticize Danuel House of the Rockets for being banished from the “bubble” for reportedly having contact with a woman who administered COVID tests.
“You been in the bubble, away from action for thee months? Can’t blame him dawg. You been gone three months and you down 3-1?” he said to laughter from Budden and his crew.
On a more serious note, he said any team that wins the title in Orlando should not be dissed because of the “bubble.”
“Probably more respected!” he said when asked. “It’s tough for them boys in there. They’ve been away from everybody. to be the last one standing gotta be tough.”
KD also noted that he will be starting up his own podcast “The Etc’s,” later this month It’s part of his and manager Rich Kleiman’s content creation around basketball themes. His partner on the podcast is Eddie Gonzalez, who he described as “actually, it’s a dude I met off of one of my burner accounts.”
“Just trying to create content around stuff I like,” he said of the overall goal of “The Boardroom” network.
Durant has made the rounds of the podcasting and radio space this summer, as Def Pen notes. In addition to appearing on The Joe Budden Podcast, he has sat down with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson for All The Smoke and an episode of Play For Keeps.
- Kevin Durant insists he ‘didn’t pick’ Steve Nash to be Nets coach - Brian Lewis - New York Post
- Kevin Durant: ‘Knick fans, those Knicks media, they bothered me the whole year’ - Kurt Helin - NBC Sports
- Kevin Durant reacts to Giannis Antetokounmpo winning MVP over LeBron James - Nick Friar - USA Today