Warriors

Kevin Durant's potential NBA return called '$110M question' by Nets GM

Kevin Durant's potential NBA return called '$110M question' by Nets GM

If the 2019-20 NBA season resumes at some point this summer, is there a window of opportunity in which Kevin Durant returns to game action?

When asked that question recently, Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks did not explicitly rule out a return for the former Warriors superstar.

"That's a $110 million question," Marks said with a chuckle to Grant Chapman of New Zealand's Newshub. "In all seriousness, we've tried not to talk about his timeline a lot. He knows his body better than anybody.

"Our performance team and training staff have done a tremendous job getting him to this point, but I just don't know how coming out of this pandemic will affect anybody, let alone Kevin."

After this season, KD is owed about $123 million through the 2022-23 campaign, according to Spotrac.com. So it's unclear why Marks specifically said $110 million.

But that's not the important part here.

What matters most is that the GM seemingly left the door cracked open for a comeback from KD.

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Before the coronavirus pandemic shut the season down, the two-time NBA Finals MVP repeatedly made it clear that he wasn't going to play at all this season.

But on March 16 -- five days after the league announced the indefinite suspension -- KD's agent, Rich Kleiman, was asked the same question Marks was by Newshub.

"Honestly, not very realistic from my standpoint, and not even spoken about," he said. "It feels like it clearly was not something that was in the cards prior to all of this. And now, I think -- just like the rest of the world -- it's hard to take anything more than day by day.

"But again -- I think that Kevin is going to figure out the space that he needs to be in to continue to rehab during this time. But even that is hard to answer at this point, with the new kind of rules that were put in place."

[RELATED: KD's 13 most jaw-dropping Warriors games, performances]

Everything still is hard to answer seven weeks later.

The safe bet is that we won't see KD -- who ruptured his right Achilles tendon during Golden State's win over the Toronto Raptors in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 10 -- take the floor again until the 2020-21 season begins.

And when that happens also completely is up in the air.

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Steph Curry explains rationale behind Howard golf program donation

Steph Curry explains rationale behind Howard golf program donation

Warriors star Steph Curry simply was visiting Howard University to attend a screening of a documentary he was an executive producer for called "Emanuel," which focused on the horrific 2015 shooting of nine Black worshipers by a white supremacist inside a Charleston, South Carolina church.

But a single conversation with a Howard student ended up leading to Curry making a donation allowing the school to create a Division I men's and women's golf program, beginning with the 2020-21 academic year. The amount of Curry's donation wasn't disclosed by the University, but it is expected to support several scholarships, hire a coach and fund the initial recruiting process. One student in particular, Otis Ferguson IV, sparked the idea in Curry's head after the two spoke about Ferguson's hopes of Howard creating a club golf program.

"He told me how much golf means to him," Curry told reporters after the first round of the American Century Championship in Lake Tahoe. "The idea came just from that. I heard what he had to say and I was like 'What can we do to bring that Division I program back?' Men's and Women's, and create scholarships, because we know how great the game of golf is, wanting to continue to create access and opportunity, not just playing but also in the business of golf."

 

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The coronavirus pandemic could have some disastrous impacts on Division I athletic departments over the next few years, but it doesn't sound like Curry's donation is going anywhere.

The recent groundswell of support for the Black Lives Matter movement has brought national attention to Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which never have had the same kind of competitive football and men's basketball programs as their other Division I counterparts. Five-star prep basketball prospect Makur Maker committed to Howard's men's basketball program on July 3, which could be just the beginning of a trend of elite prep athletes choosing HBCUs for all sports, not just basketball.

[RELATED: Watch Steph Curry, Canelo Álvarez spar at celebrity golf tournament]

Curry's obsession with golf has been well documented throughout his NBA career. He and former teammate Andre Iguodala famously would sneak away during playoff series to get 18 holes in, whether they were at home or in another market. Iguodala recently said he bet a lump sum on Curry to beat the field in Lake Tahoe this weekend at the ACC.

The two-time NBA MVP finished Friday's first-round in 14th place, with 14 points (ACC utilizes golf's Stableford scoring system). Considering Steph's father Dell Curry stood ahead of him in the standings going into Saturday's second round, expect Curry to come out motivated at Edgewood Tahoe South.

Steph Curry believes Warriors' 15-50 year could be blessing in disguise

Steph Curry believes Warriors' 15-50 year could be blessing in disguise

Making it to five straight NBA Finals is a tough task.

Not many NBA teams have accomplished it. The journey each year takes a lot out of players.

During the Warriors' five straight Finals appearances, they played 105 NBA playoff games. That's a lot of extra miles on the human body, and it started to take its toll on the team over the course of a few months last year.

Kevin Durant, before leaving for the Brooklyn Nets in free agency, ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. Klay Thompson tore his ACL in the very next game, the last of the Warriors' season.

In the Warriors' fourth game of the 2019-20 season, Steph Curry broke his left hand and didn't return until early March. With his Splash Brother sidekicks out, Draymond Green nursed several injuries and missed 22 of 65 games.

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All that added up to an NBA-worst 15-50 record this season.

So what gives Curry hope that the Warriors can get back on the right track during the 2020-21 season?

"We still have a great core," Curry told reporters Friday during an interview after the first round of the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe. "We have an understanding of who we are, and like you said, it was a crazy year with my hand injury, Klay being out all year, Draymond in and out of the lineup with injuries all year, a lot of new guys. It's definitely different.

"But this could be a blessing in disguise in terms of this next three, four years we want to have. Get rested, get healthy. We'll obviously be watching Orlando and taking all that in, but come next season, whenever that starts, we'll be ready. We've had a long seven years, so it was nice to get a little refresh."

The NBA is set to restart the 2019-20 season in Orlando later this month. At the moment, the 2020-21 season is expected to start as early as Dec. 1.

The championship core of Curry, Thompson and Green still have that hunger and still carry a chip on their shoulders, as guard Damion Lee said recently on the Runnin' Plays podcast.

[RELATED: Five bold predictions for Warriors]

General manager Bob Myers and his staff will attempt to retool the roster this offseason, and get the trio some help.

But no matter what happens in Orlando or during the offseason, Curry and the Warriors expect to return to contention next season.

It would be unwise to doubt him.

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