Kevin Durant is expected to opt out of his player option for next season and become a free agent this summer, and there have already been months of speculation about where he might sign. And that was before he had both a public and private blow-up with Draymond Green over Green’s decision not to pass him the ball at the end of regulation in their overtime loss to the Clippers last week.
Now the attention surrounding not only the Warriors, but also Durant’s future, has only intensified. But according to the man himself, the incident with Green won’t have any impact on his free agency decision. Via Yahoo Sports:
“Nah, [it won’t factor],” Durant told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “Because at the end of the day, I’m just a ballplayer that’s just trying to be in a great environment to play basketball and groom my skills every day. And I want to compete on a level that once the game starts, I’m just totally comfortable with my surroundings, with just going out there and being me.”
Durant added that while he was upset about what Green said, he’s also annoyed by all of the extra attention that’s come with it. Most of all though, he doesn’t want it to affect him on or off the court.
“I never really felt like it was a problem, because I know Dray and he says some crazy [expletive] out his mouth all the time,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “But on top of that, it was just that there was so much coming with it from the outside, and so much stuff that we have to answer now.
“I was upset, but I know that I can’t hold on to something like this. I know that I’ve got to make a choice with myself, like how long are you going to be upset about this to the point where you’re going to let it affect what you do on the floor or how you approach the game? Once it gets there now, I got to make a grown-man decision and tell myself, ‘Look, man, no matter what, you still got to come to work every single day. It’s going to work out. It’s going to figure itself out.’ And I think everyone’s been handling it the best way they could and we’re just trying to move forward with it.”
Durant has some interesting things to say, and the interview is worth reading in full here. On one hand, it’s very easy to see how all of this attention would be completely frustrating. The Warriors are already one of the most covered teams in the league, and now the drama has only increased that tenfold. At one point people were even analyzing Durant and Green’s body language as they walked into the arena in Atlanta in the first game following the incident. That’s a little ridiculous.
At the same time, this feels a lot like Durant saying the things he thinks he’s supposed to say — this won’t affect his decision, he’s trying to move on, etc. But it’s hard to believe him. Not only because it’s hard to believe that kind of incident wouldn’t impact any player, but also because of what we know about Durant — which is to say, he’s not exactly the most thick-skinned player in the league.