Former Warrior Kevin Durant has team of his own, acceptance with Nets

Former Warrior Kevin Durant has team of his own, acceptance with Nets

A YES Network camera caught Kevin Durant in a unique position Friday morning. He was standing on a Brooklyn rooftop, clad in Nets gear, with the Lower Manhattan skyline in the background.

Durant, participating in his first career media day on the East Coast was being instructed to spread his hands as a drone camera flew above, capturing footage for the team's digital department. 

The visual evoked a deeper meaning for Durant. After three years in the Bay Area -- where Durant joined an already star-studded team with the Warriors -- he finally has a city to call his own, coupled with a franchise he can potentially groom into a champion. 

The plan, according to Durant, started in a late-night pow-wow that included future teammates Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan -- two of Durant's closest friends -- contemplating their futures. 

"We was just like are we ready to do it?'" Durant recalled Friday during his first press conference in Brooklyn. "And we was like 'yeah.' It was really that simple." 

Since leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder four years ago, Durant longed to be a part of a team that doubled as a family extension. He didn't find that in Golden State and now -- with two of his best friends -- he'll try once more to achieve that goal. 

"I felt like it was time for a change. I wanted to play for a new team and simply put, I just did it," Durant said. “I didn't really think about what I was leaving behind or what we accomplished. I put that up on the shelf already, and when it was time to make a decision on my future, I thought solely about me."

In Brooklyn, Durant and Irving are in the final steps of a longstanding overhaul for the Nets.

Six years ago, Brooklyn mortgaged years worth of first-round draft picks to the Boston Celtics in exchange for aging stars Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce to pair with guard Deron Williams. The gamble failed, as the Nets have made the second round of the playoffs only once in the past 12 seasons. Worse, with most of its first-round picks owned by the Celtics, the team had little assets to get better. Still, under the tutelage of coach Kenny Atkinson, the Nets became one of the most intriguing teams in the league, including a playoff run last season, catching the eyes of Irving and Durant. 

Over the years, Jordan, Irving and Durant have built a strong bond. They won Olympic Gold medals together, shared vacation itineraries and ultimately made a pact to play together. 

"This opportunity ahead of us is something we haven't had in our careers," Irving said. "The ability to make a choice, sitting down, actually talking in detail about the future and the investment we had in one another and the investment we have in Brooklyn. It made sense all the way around." 

Friday morning's media day turns the page on a tumultuous year for Durant. For much of last season in Golden State, he battled the perception he was plotting a Bay Area escape. He called out journalists, argued with teammates on the sidelines and complained that TV pundits were concerned with his mental health than his basketball performance. Above all, Durant was searching to be ingrained into the family dynamic during his Bay Area stay. 

“I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted,” Durant told the Wall Street Journal last month. “But I’ll never be one of those guys." 

[RELATED: KD, Kyrie sending mixed messages on Dubs experience]

Now, with Irving and Jordan, Durant has a chance to build his own family, with a world-renowned metropolis behind him. 

"We're here to build," Irving said. "We're not saying we're a championship team right now. We're not gonna say 'this is what we're going to be going forward.' We're just here to observe one another, care for one another and to be here enjoy playing basketball."

What sporing event Warriors' Jordan Poole will miss watching most

What sporing event Warriors' Jordan Poole will miss watching most

Warriors rookie Jordan Poole has many interests outside of basketball.

If you follow him on Instagram, you know that he loves cats.

The 20-year-old enjoys watching movies and TV shows, and generally considers himself a homebody.

Poole also likes other sports, and when Wes Goldberg of the Bay Area News Group asked him which canceled or postponed sporting events he is going to miss, the Michigan product provided an answer that might surprise you.

"I love watching the college World Series, I definitely like watching softball as well," he said. "March Madness was going to be cool of course, but that’s basketball. The college World Series is something sports-related that I was really looking forward to."

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

How did Poole get into college baseball?

"I would watch the games when we were in school (at Michigan), go support my guys on the team, but I was really locked into the World Series," he answered. "Those games get pretty rowdy."

[RELATED: Paschall reveals Warriors teammate he'd quarantine with now]

Last year, Michigan reached the College World Series for the first time since 1984.

The Wolverines advanced all the way to the championship best-of-three series -- winning Game 1 before dropping the next two to Vanderbilt.

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Eric Paschall reveals Warriors teammate he'd quarantine with right now

Eric Paschall reveals Warriors teammate he'd quarantine with right now

Programming note: Relive Game 5 of the 2015 Western Conference Finals when NBC Sports Bay Area re-airs the Warriors' win over the Rockets on Thursday, April 2 at 8 p.m. PT.

Warriors rookie forward Eric Paschall is following the shelter-in-place rules.

He is practicing social distancing and doing his part to flatten the curve.

But if he had to quarantine with one of his Warriors teammates right now, who would he pick?

"Ohhhhhhh. Ummmmm. I would choose my man Ky Bowman," Paschall told Mark Willard of KNBR 680 on Wednesday night. "He's always in a positive mood. His energy is unmatched.

"Definitely Ky. Me and him live in the same complex so I could do that anyway. But definitely my man Ky. We'd be compatible."

Listen and subscribe to the Runnin' Plays Podcast:

It's safe to assume Paschall never thought he would be asked that question after the Warriors selected him with the No. 41 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft.

But the world has been turned upside down and here we are.

Lastly, Willard asked Paschall why he wears No. 7 with the Dubs.

[RELATED: Paschall refuses to bash Kerr when baited by Jefferson]

"All the other numbers I used to wear were taken," the Villanova product said. "No. 11 -- obviously I can't get that one. Klay Thompson has it. No. 14 is retired, No. 24 is retired and No. 4 -- Omari (Spellman) had. But at the time, Quinn Cook had it.

"So I was just stuck with seven ... I'm gonna stick with seven because it's a new journey in my life."

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