Warriors

Kevin Durant reveals when he knew he was signing with Warriors, business partner says that's 'hardly factual'

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Kevin Durant reveals when he knew he was signing with Warriors, business partner says that's 'hardly factual'

On Tuesday, Bloomberg hosted the second annual Players Technology Summit in San Francisco.

Andre Iguodala's business partner, Rudy-Cline Thomas, moderated a Q&A session with Kevin Durant and his business partner/agent/close friend Rich Kleiman.

Before asking any questions, Cline-Thomas shared the following personal anecdote:

"Remember 2017, you just lost to the Warriors -- no 2016, you had just lost the Warriors, May -- you and I get together after the game. I thought I was just gonna focus on not talking about basketball, and you wanted to focus on talking about Silicon Valley -- asking me how it was out here.

"You had been following what Andre and I were doing, how it was being surrounded by all these CEOs, innovators and entrepreneurs. And I was like, 'Wow. First and foremost, like yo -- this dude just told me he's about to sign with the Warriors, right (laughter). So, I was like I'm not gonna tell anybody, didn't tell anybody whatsoever, didn't want any rumors to get started..."

Innnnnnteresting.

Cline-Thomas then asked Durant when he started thinking differently about his business opportunities.

"Probably about 2015, I had got hurt. Basketball had always been my world ... it stopped, and I had to think about other parts of my life and what I was interested in ... it was rough because I didn't know what I wanted to do or what I liked or what type of person I wanted to be ... I started to hear about Andre and more guys around the NBA -- especially that play for the Warriors -- that took advantage of the opportunities of being in the Bay Area.

"So throughout that whole year, me and Rich were talking about investing in companies and what I like to do outside of ball. Then I (saw) you and just all those questions came out at once and I was basically telling you I was coming to the Warriors (laughter)."

Does Durant still pick the Warriors if Golden State wins the 2016 title?

Remember that during the 2017 Finals, Draymond Green told ESPN's Zach Lowe: "If we win the championship, I'm like 99 percent sure we don't get him."

About 20 minutes later, Cline-Thomas asked Kleiman what he has learned from Durant over the years:

"Well I just learned that he told you in May, before free agency -- which is hardly factual, which we'll have to clear up with Marc Spears and everybody here (laughter) -- no way did that happen, but cool... (laughter)."

It's funny that Kleiman mentioned Spears (who works for The Undefeated), because in late June 2016, one of Durant's longtime friends told Spears: "His decision is 90 percent made. It would take an amazing sales pitch to change it."

The assumption was that Durant was 90 percent sure he was going to re-sign with the the Thunder.

That was not the case.

One other nugget from the summit:

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

Jalen Rose: Draymond Green 'scapegoat' if Kevin Durant leaves Warriors

Jalen Rose: Draymond Green 'scapegoat' if Kevin Durant leaves Warriors

If Kevin Durant leaves the Warriors in free agency next summer, fans will need someone to blame.

ESPN's Jalen Rose — a former NBA player himself — knows exactly who will take the fall for Durant walking away.

Draymond Green.

"There are certain things you can say to me in a disagreement and our relationship will never be the same," Rose said Monday morning on ESPN's Get Up! "That's what happened with Draymond and KD.

“This will be their final season playing together in Golden State. A lot of people speculated already that KD would be leaving. Unfortunately now for Draymond, he'll be the scapegoat to a lot of fans, to a lot of members of the media, but I don't think that's going to deter them from their ultimate goal of winning a third straight championship."

Green and Durant got into a heated exchange at the end of regulation last Monday in Los Angeles. Green was suspended for his involvement in the incident, and things appeared to blow over last Thursday when the two players were seen walking into the Toyota Center in Houston together.

But the Warriors have lost three consecutive games and haven't looked like the joyful bunch that has won three of the last four NBA titles.

Four specific steps to fix the struggling 12-6 Warriors

Four specific steps to fix the struggling 12-6 Warriors

SAN ANTONIO -- Losers of three consecutive games, the Warriors would like to think they have bottomed out, that returning to the warm bosom of Oracle Arena will be the panacea for all that has ailed them over the past eight days.

Coming home might make a difference, but they still have to play the games.

Here are four specific ways the Warriors can dig out of a place they’ve never under coach Steve Kerr:

STEP ONE

Fix Kevin Durant

Kevin Durant not only is missing shots, he’s missing presence. He’s playing as if his mind is elsewhere, particularly on defense, where his indifferent closeouts indicate disengagement.

His offensive numbers over five games last week were poor by any standard but downright atrocious for his own. His field-goal percentage was 39.6, nearly 10 points below his career percentage. His 3-point shooting percentage was 14.3, a full 24 points below his career percentage.

He’s shooting 92.5 percent from the free-throw line, the one place where he looks like KD.

When fully engaged and enthusiastic, Durant is one of the NBA’s most ferocious weapons. When he’s not fully invested, he looks like this.

Durant has carried teams before, and he likely will do it again. The Warriors must find a way to unlock that dude. Nothing has worked so far. Time to call a psychologist?

STEP TWO

Insert Cook as starting point guard

There might not be a guard in the NBA that Quinn Cook is able to lock down. Defense is not his thing and never will be his thing.

He earned a Warriors contract because he can shoot. And with Klay Thompson and Durant struggling to score, especially from beyond the arc, Cook is the man best suited to fill this gaping void.

Cook is shooting 52.6 percent from the field, 48 percent beyond the arc. He has been the most accurate deep shooter on the team not named Stephen Curry.

Cook started the first three games after Curry went down with a groin injury, with the Warriors going 2-1. With Kerr wanting a defensive presence, Andre Iguodala was inserted as starter for the last three, with the Warriors going 0-3.

It’s not Iguodala’s fault. He’s doing what he does -- but not what Cook does. The Warriors are 2-4 since Curry went down with a groin injury, the victories coming in the only two games in which Cook played at least 30 minutes.

STEP THREE

Run some pick and roll

With Curry out, the floor shrinks on the offensive end. Even though the insertion of Jonas Jerebko into the starting lineup at power forward helps stretch the floor, Durant and Thompson aren’t getting anything close to their usual space.

Why not turn to pick-and-roll action featuring Durant and Cook? Or Cook and Damian Jones, whose shooting is iffy but his diving toward the rim is fantastic?

There are a few other combinations that have potential, and most them involve Durant. He likes pick-and-roll because it’s effective and he loves to make a defender look bad.

Kerr, of course, is not a fan of pick-and-roll as a staple. He feels it turns too many of his offensive weapons into spectators. He’s not wrong. But it’s a wrinkle that has worked in the past.

Durant has said that Curry is the Warriors’ system. Put another way, the Warriors can’t run their stuff nearly as well without him. So why not offer a different look?

STEP FOUR

Get Curry healthy

There is a belief among some within the organization that the Warriors won’t get their identity back until Curry returns. There is some truth to that.

One of the reasons Thompson has had such a wonderful career is that he plays alongside Curry. Curry on the court is its own gravitational pull. Opposing defenders have a way of falling toward him on every play.

This one is not an immediate fix; the Warriors have not issued a timeline for Curry’s return. But his return, whenever it is -- maybe sometime within the next 10 days -- will automatically unleash the best of the offense.

If Durant still can’t get himself going, the problem is even deeper than it appears.