Warriors

Durant to the media: 'Going to say how I feel from now on'

Durant to the media: 'Going to say how I feel from now on'

OAKLAND – Kevin Durant on Tuesday unveiled plans to embrace the kind of unambiguous candor that surely will reveal more of his true self.

Durant didn’t exactly put it that way, but in the wake of comments he made Monday night that he feels were magnified by media, the Warriors forward was clear in saying he no longer will sidestep issues that he perceives as sensitive or might be misconstrued.

“Man, whatever I say is going to be twisted up,” he said after going through a 90-minute practice. “So I can’t . . . I’m just going to say how I feel from now on. People that know me know what I mean, so it is what it is. Anything I say will be twisted up and be a headline. So it is what it is.”

The key phrase here is this: “I’m just going to say how I feel from now on.”

The interpretation is that Durant in the past generally had, out of discretion or propriety or personal etiquette, taken measures to avoid sheer honesty.

And maybe he had. Durant for most of his career has been portrayed by friends and associates as someone sensitive to his image as well as that of those close to him. They say he’s a quality individual who occasionally is susceptible to saying the safe thing to avoid further probing or scrutiny.

Durant’s new-leaf statement came less than 18 hours after he confirmed that his summertime decision to sign with the Warriors was influenced by their loss in the NBA Finals. In short, watching the Warriors lose the Finals made the idea of joining them even more attractive than it already was.

The news was that Durant finally admitted what a long-suspected element in his decision. The general belief was that it would have been more difficult to leave a contending team in Oklahoma City to join a team that had won back-to-back NBA championships.

A team that reached The Finals by beating Durant’s Thunder in the Western Conference Finals.

A team that won an NBA-record 73 games in the preceding regular season.

How on earth could Kevin Durant, as magnificent as he is, obtain professional profit by joining the unquestioned best team on earth?

By losing to the Cavaliers in The Finals, the Warriors proved to be flawed. They needed . . . something. They were missing . . . something. They were good, mighty good, but they also were defeated, thereby becoming the first team in NBA history to give back a 3-1 lead in The Finals.

Durant had a full two weeks, from Game 7 on the evening of June 19 until he chose the Warriors on the morning of July 4, to absorb it all. He could review his Thunder career, ponder the past and present and the future. He could examine and research the Warriors, what he liked and did not like, and visualize his potential effect.

So there was Durant on Monday night, sitting with Warriors CEO Joe Lacob, general manager Bob Myers and teammate Andre Iguodala at a ceremony in which the Warriors received the ENCORE award by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. The questions were coming, and they were answering.

On the subject of what he would done if the Warriors had won The Finals, Durant didn’t answer that directly but gave a response to the facts that shot straighter and more extensively than he has at any time since he was introduced by his new team on July 7.

"As they lost, it became more and more real every day," Durant recalled. "You start to think about it even more. To see if I would fit. Then, once I sat down with these guys, everything that I wanted to know about them, they kind of showed me. But we don't have to talk about (what would have happened if the Warriors won The Finals), because they didn't get the job done, and they came after me.

"I guess you could say I'm glad that they lost."

Glad because it made his decision easier. Durant knew he then was positioned to make a difference, to get a team back to the top rather than help it stay there. Such circumstances produced a bigger, juicier carrot.

And now that he has made the jump, Durant knows the microscope will stalk him every hour. He is vowing there will be no smokescreens. Can he stick by this new commitment to gospel truth? Can he consistently express and say what he truly feels?

Let’s hope so, for a more candid Durant would eliminate the need to guess.

NBA Draft 2020: Deni Avdija celebrated Warriors' 2015 title in old photo

NBA Draft 2020: Deni Avdija celebrated Warriors' 2015 title in old photo

If the Warriors select 19-year-old Deni Avdija in the early stages of the 2020 NBA Draft, they'll be picking a player who appears to have been a fan of the franchise for at least a quarter of his life.

The Israeli-Serbian forward has been lighting up the Israeli Basketball Premier League for Maccabi Tel Aviv, averaging 18.2 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. ESPN's NBA draft guru Mike Schmitz describes Avdija as an "aggressive offensive player who is in attack mode every time he steps onto the floor," who, "loves shooting pull-up 3-pointers in transition."

Hmmm. Sound familiar?

That would seem to mirror the way the Warriors played throughout their (still ongoing?) dynastic run. Given a photo posted to Avdija's Instagram in September of 2016, it would appear he has been a fan of Golden State for some time.

View this post on Instagram

מה זה בית ספר #🇪🇸

A post shared by Deni Avdija (@deniavdia8) on

That's the Warriors 2015 NBA Champions hat that Avdija is wearing while apparently sailing off the coast of Spain. A good-looking hat for an even better view.

[RELATED: Watch potential Dubs draft target Avdija dominate in Israel]

Just throwing this out there, but I'm gonna go out on a limb and guess he's a pretty big fan of Steph Curry, too.

Maybe, just maybe, they'll be teammates within a few months, and Avdija will have more Warriors apparel than he'll know what to do with.

Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaq gives outrageous breakdown of potential Lakers-Warriors matchup

Shaquille O'Neal won't back down from this debate.

The Hall of Fame center is 100 percent convinced his three-peat Los Angeles Lakers were better than the Steph Curry and Kevin Durant-led Warriors.

Shaq has made it clear over the last two years that he believes the 1999 through 2002 championship Lakers would have easily beaten the 2016 through 2019 Warriors in a hypothetical matchup.

The Diesel even claimed that the Warriors wouldn't have been a contender during the Lakers' dominant run.

But in an interview with Maxim Magazine published Tuesday, Shaq said the Lakers starters would have won every 1-on-1 matchup with the Warriors.

Brace yourselves, Warriors fans.

"I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time (Phil Jackson), plus me and Kobe [Bryant], wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang," Shaq said. "Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. [Derek] Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. [Rick] Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace [Grant] would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind [Zaza] Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not."

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Where do we even begin?

Yes, Kobe was an elite defender, but Curry is a generational talent. He would not have been dominated by Bryant. Steph against a prime Kobe would have been must-see TV, but it wouldn't have been as one-sided as Shaq believes.

If Shaq thinks Klay would be manhandled by anyone, let alone Fisher, he hasn't watched the Warriors shooting guard enough. Thompson has five inches on Fisher and would just shoot right over him.

If Fox tried to bully Draymond, the Warriors forward would pull a Doug Christie and sock him in the jaw. Draymond's motor would give him the edge in that matchup.

Durant would get his against Grant or any other defender the Lakers threw at him. You know who he is. He's Kevin Durant.

The only matchup the Lakers win hands down is Shaq vs. Zaza. Sorry, Zaza.

Shaq's Lakers were able to do something the Warriors weren't able to do: Three-peat. But Golden State very likely would have accomplished the feat if Durant and Thompson had been healthy for the entirety of the 2019 NBA Finals.

[RELATED: Why Curry, Dubs would dominate Lakers]

Yes, Shaq has every right to defend his Lakers teams, but to say they would completely dominate those Warriors teams is a bit far-fetched. Before Durant arrived, the Warriors won 73 games. After he signed, they steamrolled the league on their way to back-to-back NBA titles, and could have three-peated.

This debate will never be settled, but one thing is for sure. Shaq won't let it go.