Kevin Durant

Warriors react to LeBron rumors: 'That's the nature of the game right now'

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Warriors react to LeBron rumors: 'That's the nature of the game right now'

OAKLAND -- Asked about his immediate reaction to a report Wednesday night indicating LeBron James, upon becoming a free agent, would take a meeting with the Warriors, Kevin Durant was quick, brief and blunt.

“Bull----,” he said Thursday after practice.

Durant was not alone among the Warriors with such response to an ESPN report citing unnamed sources claiming James, who is expected to opt out of his contract and become a free agent in July.

“He’s got to get No. 23 from Draymond,” David West said before exiting the interview area.

“In 14 years in this league, I’ve seen it all,” Shaun Livingston said. “Nothing really surprises me anymore. This is out of left field. Out of left field. But, hey, it’s exciting for the NBA. I’m sure they like it.”

General manager Bob Myers began his interview session with a statement reminding everyone that he’s forbidden to discuss players on other teams without being reprimanded by the league.

There are numerous reasons why James won’t be joining the Warriors, one being that they treasure their current chemistry and balance, and another being they would have to dismantle most of their current roster to fit the massive salary commanded by James.

Coach Steve Kerr seemed simultaneously amused and indifferent to the notion.

“Are you really going to ask that?” he said. “Do you want me to get my checkbook out? I can just make it out to Adam Silver or to the NBA? You know that’s illegal? I’m not answering that.”

Yet the idea of James’ representatives bringing the Warriors as a possible destination was enough to have tongues wagging all around the league Thursday. It was a topic of conversation at the pre-practice breakfast table shared by general manager Bob Myers, Stephen Curry, Durant and Kerr.

“That’s the nature of the game right now,” Durant said. “It’s more so about free agency, the business side of basketball, than it is about the real games. Nothing is far-fetched when it comes to stories and headlines and clicks.”

In Durant’s mind, the idea of a story reporting James’ interest in the Warriors is yet another sign of the rampant insanity that invades the NBA/media landscape.

As Durant was being interviewed, two TV camera operators jostling for position got into a brief skirmish during which one told the other, ‘I will knock you the (expletive) out, right here' before peace was restored.

“See, look, like, what are we doing,” Durant said, grinning while pointing toward the belligerence. “What are we doing? What are we doing? What’s going on here, really?

“We’re talking about basketball. That should be the most important thing.”

Durant calls 'bulls---' on LeBron to Warriors rumor

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Durant calls 'bulls---' on LeBron to Warriors rumor

LeBron James is expected to decline his $35.6 million player option and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2017-18 season. 

The four-time MVP would obviously be a coveted prize, but one rumored team connected to LeBron is causing quite the stir. On Thursday, ESPN reported the Warriors could meet with LeBron during free agency if Golden State can create a max salary slot. 

Your thoughts, Kevin Durant? 

"Bulls---," Durant said with a laugh Thursday to reporters at Warriors practice. "Bulls---. In this league, like a couple years ago, me coming here, nobody would have thought that. There's part of me as a basketball player that's like, 'you should just worry about basketball,' but there's another side where we know it's a business as well and a lot of crazy things have happened in the league. 

"In the future it's gonna be even crazier things that are gonna happen." 

The Warriors and Cavaliers have squared off in three straight NBA Finals with Golden State beating James and Cleveland in two out of three. 

Durant has averaged 28.5 points in two Warriors wins over James and the Cavs this season. He won Finals MVP last season, averaging 35.2 points, 8.4 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game against Cleveland. 

The night the Warriors hated their display of 'disgusting basketball'

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The night the Warriors hated their display of 'disgusting basketball'

An evening that began with a sheer absence of passion and profoundly negligent defense ended in an orgy of self-described masochism in Salt Lake City.

The haters came hard and heavy at the Warriors late Tuesday night, with the hardest and heaviest coming from those representing the team.

“It happens. It’s the NBA. It’s a long season,” coach Steve Kerr told reporters at Vivint Smart Home Arena after he and his team were on the blunt end of a 129-99 pummeling by the Utah Jazz. “The key is always how we bounce back.

“I think our guys will tell you, that was a pathetic effort out there. That was disgusting basketball.”

Informed of Kerr’s description, Stephen Curry barely hesitated.

“That’s pretty accurate,” he said.

“They just outplayed us in probably every aspect of the game,” said Klay Thompson, who provided a few glimpses of sunlight on offense (27 points, 12-of-17 shooting) while giving the Jazz guards plenty of daylight on defense.

This was the Warriors at their worst, comically bad, reminiscent of some of the rock-bottom days under the bargain-basement Chris Cohan ownership and its nondescript rosters and revolving door of coaches.

“Our hearts weren’t in it,” Kerr said. “At this level, if your heart’s not in it, I don’t care how much talent you have. You’re going to lose.”

This was Kerr’s 297th regular-season game as Warriors coach, and the previous 296 passed without anyone -- much less this utterly mediocre Utah team -- so thoroughly shredding the defense upon which they’ve built their elevated status. Utah shot so well as 58.2 percent from the field, blowing right past the previous high in the Kerr era, 54.5 percent by the Nuggets last February.

Forward Joe Ingles, a one-dimensional shooter who would be maybe the ninth man in the Warriors’ rotation, scored 17 points in the first half, draining 5-of-6 shots from deep. He made Kevin Durant look like a totem pole. Check that. Durant deserves all of the credit for that.

“I’ve got to be better. I can’t let Joe Ingles get loose on 3s like that and expect us to play well on the road, especially in here,” Durant said. “I’ve got to start off the game better if we want to win games.”

Durant wasn’t alone in playing an unsubstantiated rumor of defense that ushered Utah to its tip-to-buzzer rout. One game after deploying spectacular individual and team defense to close out the contending Boston Celtics, the Warriors threw their championship rings on the floor and watched their jewelry get ground into the floor.

Every member of the Jazz roster that played, and all 12 healthy bodies did, shot at least 50 percent, with the exception of terrific rookie guard Donovan Mitchell, whose 8-of-17 shooting dropped the team’s percentage down to 60.9 overall and 50 percent from beyond the arc.

It was not much of a surprise that the hulking and deliberate Jazz owned the paint, with a 58-46 scoring advantage, but it was downright shocking to watch the them score as many fast-break points, 14, as did the Warriors.

Such a darkly comic evening wouldn’t be complete if the Warriors didn’t toss the Jazz a few gifts. How about 20 turnovers, off which Utah scored 18 points?

“I asked Draymond on the bench in the fourth quarter if he could remember that bad of a performance we’ve had in recent memory and we really can’t. They’re few and far between,” Curry said. “But we’ve got to understand that every game we can’t show up and expect to win, especially on the road.

“It’s kind of cheating the game.”

Not only did the Warriors cheat the game, they also cheated themselves and their fans that were among the crowd in the arena.

Though they own the best record in the NBA at 40-11, it’s too much to believe the Warriors are going to be excellent, or even good, every night. There are going to be games when the desire to compete at the highest level fails to materialize.

That’s what happened. They didn’t want it. From the moment they stepped between the lines, the Warriors were, in boxing parlance, looking for a soft place to land.

They know it, and they have to wear it. The saving grace is that this was one of 82, and the Warriors are two days away from the next chance to better represent what they’re about.