Warriors

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

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USATSI

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

LeBron James says young Lakers are 'hungry for knowledge'

LeBron James says young Lakers are 'hungry for knowledge'

LeBron James is no longer surrounded by veterans that have been around the block a few times.

Now on the Lakers, the four-time NBA MVP is running with a bunch of young pups with a sprinkle of veteran role players. The goal is still to get to the NBA Finals, but this might be LeBron's toughest task yet. He may spend quite a bit of time mentoring all the wide-eyed potential stars on the Lakers roster.

But that's not something LeBron is worried about. In fact, his early observation is that the youngster want to learn.

“I think more importantly than what I need to share with the younger guys," LeBron told China's CCTV5 recently. "I think what a lot of people are missing is how hungry for knowledge that the young guys have."

“[Kyle Kuzma] and [Lonzo Ball] and Josh Hart, and Brandon Ingram, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, [Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk] and Moe Wagner, we have young guys that are extremely excited not only about playing the game, but also learning the game. That’s going to help out even more because those guys are just hungry for knowledge, so I’m looking forward to that," LeBron said.

As for getting to a ninth straight NBA Finals, LeBron knows who he has to beat to achieve the goal.

"That's the goal with the new team, young team. We're very new to each other," LeBron said. "That's the goal, but we know the road goes through Golden State. We understand that. The whole NBA understands that. But that is always the goal. Each year, you train and prepare to try to get to another NBA Finals, so that is my preparation."

The Warriors will see LeBron four times now that he's in the Pacific Division, rather than the two times when he was in the East. The two teams will meet on Christmas Day in Oakland, Jan. 21 in Los Angeles, Feb. 2 in Oakland and April 4 in Los Angeles.

Jacob Evans III: Warriors training camp profile

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AP

Jacob Evans III: Warriors training camp profile

The Bulls did it twice, with Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen leading the way. The Lakers accomplished it once, behind Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant. In the 42 seasons since the NBA-ABA merger, those are the only franchises to win three consecutive NBA Finals.

When the Warriors come together for training camp on Sept. 25, their goal is to become the third.

Here is a look at those players with guaranteed roster spots.

EIGHTH IN A SERIES

Player: Jacob Evans III
Position: Guard/wing
Height/weight: 6-6, 200
College: Cincinnati
Age: 21
Salary: $1.64M (first year of a two-year rookie deal worth $3.57M per Spotrac.)
NBA 2K Player Rating: 72

2017-18 in review: As a junior last season, Evans started every game for the second consecutive season and led Cincinnati in scoring and assists, while adding 4.7 rebounds. Bearcats coach Mick Cronin described Evans as an “elite” defender, while opposing coaches marveled over his versatility, composure and basketball IQ. The Warriors were impressed enough to select him in the first round of the draft, 28th overall.

Key stats: 36 games (36 starts), averaging 13.0 points (42.7 percent FG, 32.7 3p, 75.4 percent FT), 4.7 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.3 steals and 1.0 blocks per game.

Season highs: Points (24), rebounds (eight, twice), assists (seven), steals (five), blocks (four).

2018-19 outlook: Despite displaying a strong feel for the game and court awareness, Evans did not dazzle during Summer League. His jump shot was errant often enough to leave some within the organization wondering if a mechanical adjustment might be needed. Evans told NBC Sports Bay Area in August that he’s not concerned and that his confidence remains high. There will be growing pains, and the Warriors will be pleased as long as there is actual growth within the pain. They can afford to be patient because an immediate impact is not needed.