Warriors

Kevin Durant explains why he got combative with the media last week

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Kevin Durant explains why he got combative with the media last week

Programming note: Watch the pregame edition of Warriors Outsiders Tuesday night at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

The Warriors beat the Pacers in Indiana on Jan. 28.

Earlier that day, Kevin Durant spoke to reporters after shootaround. It was the last time he met with the media until after the Warriors crushed the Spurs on Feb. 6.

That night, he voiced his frustration with the continuing speculation about his future. Where did that come from?

"When you have beat writers that come into practice and the games, you build relationships with these guys in person," Durant explained Monday morning on ESPN's show Get Up! "Just wanted to let them know how I approach the game as a player, knowing that I have to talk to media.

"If I get the opportunity to talk to media, I want to give the fans my perspective about the game, not about business -- stuff that I can't control at this point. So I was just letting them know what I want to talk about when I come into practice or before shootaround or after a game."

In his comments following the win over San Antonio, Durant chose to single out The Athletic's Ethan Strauss -- who published an article the night of Feb. 5, which included passages such as:

Let us be frank, with the caveat that the choice lives inside the head of one guy who can and does change his mind: Insiders around the league think Kevin Durant is leaving the Warriors for the Knicks. Most people within the Warriors either think Durant is leaving or profess not to know one way or the other.

And:

Sources say that Durant believed his besting of LeBron James in the 2017 Finals would get him hailed as the game’s top player, a mantle he’s craved for some time.

Then, the next Finals unfolded in much the same way, with much the same result, all while Warriors fans cheered loudest for the smaller MVP’s baskets.

Durant clearly felt compelled to break his silence because of this article. But why the silence in the first place? The narrative was that he didn't want to answer any potential questions about the Kristaps Porzingis deal and/or Anthony Davis' trade request and/or Kyrie Irving walking back his long-term commitment to the Celtics.

As KD said following the win over San Antonio, he simply "didn't feel like talking the last couple days."

On Monday, the reigning two-time Finals MVP said his message was aimed at local media, not national outlets or reporters who encounter Durant when the Warriors are on the road.

"They're around you every single day, and they see the pattern of who you are as a human and as a basketball player," KD said. "So I just want guys to be truthful, especially if they're gonna walk up to me in the locker room after games and then go behind my back and write stuff like that. At least come talk to me.

[RELATEDKnicks use Kevin Durant photo in ticket pitch to fans, later remove it]

"But it was good to get that off my chest and let everybody know in the building -- if you're covering the team -- what I'm about. And I think everybody understands and we're moving forward from it."

Durant spoke after Golden State victories over the Suns and Heat, and it appears things have calmed down.

But the noise is bound to pick back up again soon.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

What Warriors' Ron Adams believes is Alen Smailagic's best current skill

What Warriors' Ron Adams believes is Alen Smailagic's best current skill

During Alen Smailagic's rookie season with the Warriors, he showed flashes as to why Golden State traded two future second-round draft picks (2021 and 2023) to acquire him.

The No. 39 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft averaged 4.2 points and 1.9 rebounds in 9.9 minutes per game over 14 appearances.

"His best skill right now -- for a young guy, he's not afraid of the game," Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic last week. "He comes into the game and he's turned on. He makes some good plays.

"That was noticeable this year. His confidence, his savvy, whatever you want to call it. It was pretty impressive."

The 19-year-old has the utmost belief in himself, and doesn't shy away from the bright lights.

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

Smailagic believes he already belongs and can have a big impact on the game.

This is an important mindset to possess as it can help when things aren't going your way. And the reality is that Smailagic is far from a finished product.

"He has a ways to go," Adams said. "I think he made great strides this year. He would get in the game and the only thing he thought about was how (he was) going to get the ball into the hoop (laughter). He was just really intent on that. 

"He began to understand the game in a different way. He began to understand the game the way Steve (Kerr) likes the game to be played. I thought he improved defensively."

[RELATED: Draymond has eager student in Warriors rookie Smailagic]

It's possible that the 6-foot-10 Serbian is a consistent rotation player next season. The Warriors would be ecstatic if that comes to fruition.

But he might not have a significant role, and he could end up spending a decent amount of time in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors.

That is all to-be-determined.

"He's a young developing player," Adams said. "And when that's the case, you can never be surprised when things happen more quickly than you think they should in terms of development, and you can't be disappointed when they don't."

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How latest reported NBA schedule timeline could affect Warriors, draft

How latest reported NBA schedule timeline could affect Warriors, draft

The Warriors know they practically are guaranteed to land a top-five pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.

Yet they still don't know when the draft -- originally scheduled for June 25 -- actually will take place.

But the latest intel from ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is helping us narrow down the date.

The draft typically falls on the first Thursday after the scheduled date for Game 7 of the NBA Finals. So if we assume the league maintains that format, the Warriors could be making their selections on Oct. 15.

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

To reiterate, we are making an assumption here and it's possible the NBA doesn't follow its normal protocol during these very uncertain times. 

But as Woj writes:

The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October, sources said.

[RELATED: Oturu could be what Warriors wanted out of Bell in NBA draft]

If we apply the same logic for the 2020 NBA Draft Lottery -- which was slated for May 19 -- you can expect it to be held in mid-September.

We might know all of the specifics as early as Thursday because that's when the NBA's Board of Governors is expected to vote on the NBA's return-to-play proposal.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

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