Kevin Durant was a central figure in the Warriors' dynasty, so surely there will be a massive group of Golden State fans that will experience a feeling of longing when the Dubs open the 2020-21 season against his Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday night. Though his time with the Warriors was relatively short, Durant left a lasting impact, and he understandably is missed.
Of course, the feeling is mutual.
"Definitely miss my guys, I can't lie," Durant told NBC Sports Bay Area's Kerith Burke on the "Dubs Talk" podcast. "I miss being around, I miss just seeing the guys. Three years, and we've been through some battles. I definitely think about the guys and wonder how they're doing and wonder how their families are doing, health -- all that stuff -- cuz we're brothers.
"I think about Shaun [Livingston] a lot, I think about Zaza [Pachulia], I think about all of the guys that I played with there. It's gonna be good to see everybody. Texted with [Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser] the other day, and looking forward to seeing him. They're always going to be family. I'm looking forward to playing against them and actually saying what's up to everybody."
While Durant has moved on from the Warriors, several of his battle-tested teammates remain with the organization. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green obviously remain on the roster, while Livingston and Pachulia since have taken positions in the front office.
Livingston's transition from player to Warriors director of player affairs and engagement didn't catch Durant by surprise.
"I seen that one coming," Durant added. "[Livingston] has always been very savvy when it comes to knowing the game, knowing what's coming next in the game. It seems like it's perfect -- perfect transition for him, living in the Bay, staying in the Bay and being a part of the organization. I'm happy for him."
That feeling is mutual, too. The Warriors harbor no ill will toward Durant for his decision to leave them for the Nets in free agency. And beyond that, they, as well as basketball fans everywhere, are overjoyed to see him back on the court, looking like his typical superstar self coming off a torn Achilles.
Tuesday's season-opener rightfully will be a celebration of the return of Warriors basketball. And it certainly is fitting that Durant will be a part of it.