Durant's thoughts on Kyrie trade: 'When you're around LeBron James...'

Durant's thoughts on Kyrie trade: 'When you're around LeBron James...'

On Tuesday, the Cavs traded Kyrie Irving to the Celtics.

On Thursday, Kevin Durant joined The Bill Simmons Podcast to discuss the blockbuster deal.

"Kyrie is just a pure basketball player," Durant started. "He crafted his skill since he was like eight, nine years old. You can just tell, the way he plays, nobody plays like him ... he probably played playground ball, his pops probably took him to the roughest neighborhoods and threw him out there on the basketball court, told him to just go play. So he built up the love for the game.

"When you’re around LeBron James, there’s so much that comes with that -- outside distractions and conversations and just noise that just comes around from being around LeBron James. And Kyrie was at the point, like, 'All right, we lost the championship, this whole season’s gonna be about if LeBron’s gonna leave or not. I’m ready for a new challenge.'

"All that stuff kind of met at the pinnacle of why he wanted to leave, and it just felt like he just wanted a situation where he would just be free from all of that and just play."

Durant can identify with Kyrie's situation.

"When you just love to play the game, the NBA kind of adds so much baggage on top of it from the business side to the media, just to like everything," he added. "And when you just wanna play and not worry about that stuff, you try to find a place where you can do that.

"And Kyrie, I’m sure he had to know that he was going to Boston. He wasn’t blindsided at all. I’m sure he was OK with going to Boston and wanting to go to Boston."

Kyrie reportedly requested a trade on July 7, but the news of his request did not surface until July 21.

On July 18, Kyrie told Sports Illustrated the Cavs are "in a very peculiar place." (this quote all makes sense now)

LeBron will make $33,285,709 in 2017-18 and he has a player option of about $35.6 million for 2018-19.

And to Durant's point, speculation about LeBron's future in Cleveland has already begun.

During the 2015-16 season, Durant's future with the Thunder was frequently discussed -- particularly after the report surfaced that the Warriors were the "significant frontrunners" to land him should he decide to leave Oklahoma City.

"You wanna have a good environment where you wanna play as far as, you want some type of structure, you wanna learn the game at a different level, you wanna kind of challenge yourself to fit in with a team and use your skill set a different way," Durant said. "Kyrie reminds me of myself, just from the outside looking in.

"I may be wrong on all these things, but from the outside looking in, being around him for a month or so, he reminds me of myself as far as just loving to play the game, just wanting to learn it and try to get better at it every day. I can feel that, I can sense that in him."

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller


Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies


Gameday: Curry out for payback against Conley, new-look Grizzlies

When the Warriors set foot in FedEx Forum on Saturday, they’ll find a very different atmosphere as well as a barely recognizable team of Memphis Grizzlies.

The Grindhouse is not the same. Zach Randolph and Vince Carter have left the building. So, too, has the “Grindfather” himself, Tony Allen.

So in their only trip to Memphis this season, the Warriors will focus mostly on point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol, the remaining core members of the team that reached the playoffs in each of the last seven seasons.

The Warriors (1-1) will be playing for the second night in a row, while the Grizzlies (1-0) have not played since their season opener Wednesday. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:05 p.m.

Warriors by 8.5

Stephen Curry vs. Mike Conley: Curry has a long memory, and he will remember not only that the Warriors last season lost twice to the Grizzlies but also that Conley’s 27 points and clutch play offset Curry’s 40 points and led Memphis to an overtime win in Oakland. It won’t matter to Curry that the Warriors posted double-digit wins over the Grizzlies in the last two meetings last season. He may want to take over.

Warriors: F Omri Casspi (L ankle sprain) has been ruled out.

Grizzlies: F JaMychal Green (L ankle sprain), G Ben McLemore (R foot surgery) and G/F Wayne Selden Jr. (R quad injury) are listed as out.

The Warriors have won five of the last seven in Memphis and 10 of the last 13 meetings overall.

BREEZE OR WHEEZE: Coach Steve Kerr has expressed some concern about the team’s conditioning level. On the second night of their first back-to-back set -- with the Warriors arriving at the hotel at 2:30 a.m. -- it could provide a glimpse of their progress. Kerr said he would consider resting one or two players. Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala, both coming off injuries, would seem logical candidates.

GEORGIA VS. SPAIN: The Republic of Georgia’s Zaza Pachulia and Spain’s Marc Gasol know each other well, having spent years battling internationally and in the NBA. There will be no surprises, but Pachulia will have to avoid foul trouble to remain a part of his team’s defensive rotation against one of the league’s best big men.

HOT KLAY: Klay Thompson is off to a torrid start, shooting 11-of-18 from beyond the arc through the first two games. And now he won’t have to worry about Allen, who relished in opportunities to defend the Warriors All-Star. Memphis replaced Allen with Andrew Harrison, who is not in the Grindfather’s class as a defender.

Klay Thompson makes pledge to North Bay fire relief efforts


Klay Thompson makes pledge to North Bay fire relief efforts

Klay Thompson is putting his money where his mouth is.

[POOLE: Unprompted remarks about wildfires show Klay isn't who you thought he was]

Shortly before Noon PT on Friday, Klay posted a 30-second video to Twitter to let it be known that he is donating to the North Bay fire relief.

"Hey everyone. As we all know, Northern California has been tragically effected by these wildfires for the past few weeks. 

And I will be pledging $1,000 per point I score for the next three home games. And you can donate as well by clicking on the link below.

We will be donating to the Redwood Credit Union's fire relief efforts. Let's stick together because a lot of loved ones and families have been displaced and lost from these terrible events.

Property has been damanged but we can build this thing back up if we stick together and donate.

Thank you for listening."

The Warriors' next three home games are:

1) October 25 vs Toronto (18.7 points over 11 career games)
2) October 27 vs Washington (18.4 points over 11 career games)
3) October 29 vs Detroit (18.2 points over 11 career games)

Hopefully the Warriors will be able to create a lot of good looks for Klay during that stretch...

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders and a Web Producer at NBC Sports Bay Area. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller