It’s ancient history now (we hope) but in interviews with Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone, Steph Curry said that he would have been thrilled to have Kevin Durant back on the Warriors.
“There was a conversation internally amongst us about ‘If he was available, would you?’ Every team has those conversations, and obviously in our situation, they’re gonna call me and ask me, ‘How do you feel about it?’” Curry told Sullivan back on August 9, just days after KD had apparently closed the door on the Nets with an ultimatum to Joe Tsai to choose between him and Steve Nash and Sean Marks.
“I was never hesitant. The idea of playing with KD and knowing who he is as a person, from our history in those three years, I think KD’s a really good dude. I think he is misunderstood. I think he has had certain things happen in his life that hurt his ability to trust people around him, in a sense of making him feel safe at all times. So all of those things, I understand, having played with him and gotten to know him. I love that dude.
“And if you said, ‘Oh, KD’s coming back, and we’re gonna play with him,’ I had so much fun playing with him those three years, I’d be like, ‘Hell, yeah!’”
However, Curry also told Sullivan that he understood reuniting with Durant would mean a complete reshuffling of the NBA champions. Still...
“Then you have to think: What does that actually mean? What does it look like? You tell me I’m playing with [current Warriors teammates Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Draymond Green], I’m like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ There’s all types of emotion and things that happen to the league. And if anybody’s saying that you wouldn’t entertain that conversation — no disrespect to anybody on our team — but you don’t know how things work. But you also understand, like, if we run this thing back, I’ve got complete confidence in my team that we can win it again, as constructed.”
Curry also talked with his brother Seth about a potential Durant recoupling, Sullivan writes. “For him to even be entertaining the thought of having KD back on the team kind of speaks to his character,” Seth told Rolling Stone on July 13, two weeks after Durant originally asked for a trade. “Who knows? I might be in the trade with him.”
On Monday, Brian Windhorst on ESPN’s First Take said, “I’m not even 100% sure that Kevin Durant is gonna keep that trade demand in the closet.”
However, league sources told NetsDaily after KD’s meeting with team officials on August 22 that Durant left upbeat about Nets prospects.
Sullivan, author of “Can’t Knock the Hustle” about the Nets 2019-2020 season, spent much of August talking to Warriors personnel for a Rolling Stone profile of Steph Curry. He even eavesdropped on older Curry talking with Snoop Dog as they talked about the big problem with KD’s demand: that whatever team traded for him would be denuded of stars and younger players.
“Man, he thinks that they’re gonna go to teams — like if he went to Phoenix — that they’re gonna be the same team if he’s there,” Curry told Snoop, according to Sullivan. Similarly, he noted that while Boston could have been an ideal trade partner, any trade that sent Jaylen Brown to Brooklyn would have posed some psychic issues, “They have a little bit of everything, but they would have to deal with the organizational transition to get rid of Jaylen. He’s such a pivotal piece.”
The Sullivan piece in the second this weekend where a key player on the other side of Sean Marks phone calls had second thoughts about what a trade for KD might entail. James Jones, GM of the Suns, said his talks never reached fruition because the Nets simply wanted to keep Durant.
“[T]hat’s why he’s in Brooklyn and not on some other team, but as far as with us, I get it. It’s always a great topic of discussion, but the one thing people forget is that when you’re talking about trades, or any player acquisition, the team that has the player has to be willing to move the player,” Jones told the Arizona Republic.
How serious were the discussions for having Kevin possibly come to Phoenix, the Suns GM was asked by Duane Rankin of the Republic. “We had discussions with Brooklyn about their desires and what they were trying to do, but ultimately, I would say like most teams, there was nothing to it...
“Not much discussion, in-depth discussion on it. I think every team in the league probably called them to check their temperature to see what it looked like, but as far as discussions and how deep they got? I just say there’s nothing to it.”
The Suns were reportedly Durant’s first choice, but were only willing to offer Mikal Bridges when Marks and Joe Tsai wanted a much bigger haul. That possibility essentially died on July 19 when the Suns and DeAndre Ayton agree to a four-year, $133 million package.
Finally, with the Nets unwilling to back off their demands for a superstar, multiple picks and swaps plus another rotation player and KD willing to return, the two sides agreed on August 23 after a meeting in Los Angeles to “move forward with their partnership.”
- Stephen Curry: ‘Hell, Yeah’ I Would Have Played With Kevin Durant Again - Matthew Sullivan - Rolling Stone
- Suns GM Jones explains why Kevin Durant isn’t in Phoenix - Duane Rankin - Arizona Republic
- Steph Curry would’ve loved a Kevin Durant Warriors return: ‘Hell yeah’ - Christopher Scarglato - New York Post
- Steph Curry confirms Warriors’ interest this summer in trading for Kevin Durant - The Athletic
- Stephen Curry says Golden State Warriors internally discussed trade for Kevin Durant, who is ‘misunderstood’ - ESPN
- Stephen Curry confirms the Warriors discussed trading for Kevin Durant this summer - Jasmyn Wimbush - CBS Sports