Warriors

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant demanded Warriors give Nets first-round pick

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant demanded Warriors give Nets first-round pick

On June 30, Kevin Durant announced that he would sign with the Nets in free agency.

But technically, he ended up signing with the Warriors and then was shipped to Brooklyn in a "sign-and-trade" that brought D'Angelo Russell to the Dubs.

Although the transaction came to fruition, KD wasn't on board from the beginning.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN has the details:

Durant initially balked at being traded for Russell straight up, multiple sources said. He didn't think it was a fair deal, and in this case, the Warriors had to not just satisfy the Nets, but also Durant.

Leverage was applied by the player, and Golden State had to include a first-round pick before Durant would agree to sign off. The Warriors begrudgingly gave it up and did so with a heavy condition: If the pick falls within the top 20 next year, they don't have to send it, and instead will only give Brooklyn a second-round pick ... in six years. It's one of the most unusual pick protections the NBA has seen recently.

One school of thought is that the two-time NBA Finals MVP did the Warriors a favor because he could have said no under any circumstances.

Another is that Durant comes across as being a little petty by refusing to cooperate unless the first-round pick was included.

If the Dubs ultimately send their 2020 first rounder to the Nets it means the 2019-20 season was a success.

[RELATEDNew details emerge regarding Durant's contract with Nets]

It seems that the perfect scenario from a Golden State perspective would be for the pick to fall between 15 and 20, which would mean the Warriors made the playoffs and they get to keep the draft pick.

It will be fascinating to see how it unfolds.

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Warriors' Rick Welts shares funny story of being mistaken for Joe Lacob

Warriors' Rick Welts shares funny story of being mistaken for Joe Lacob

Warriors team president Rick Welts went to Croatia for vacation in the summer of 2018.

Wearing a Warriors hat in a restaurant resulted in a waiter saying, "Curry, yeah!" Welts recently explained to Daniel Brown of The Athletic.

Soon thereafter, other employees began to believe they were in the presence of Warriors owner Joe Lacob.

“He just started screaming to his co-workers there, ‘Joe Lacob! Joe Lacob! Joe Jacob!' " Welts told Brown. “I was waving, ‘No, no, no!’ but I gave up.

"So, I impersonated Joe Lacob — and got really good service from this really tiny restaurant in Croatia.”

Now that is a savvy play from a seasoned veteran.

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

Welts has helped turn the Warriors into a global brand, which is why the franchise elected not to change its name to the San Francisco Warriors when they relocated from Oakland to Chase Center.

"What's happened in the interim is the Warriors, with the success we've had on the floor, have now become the team that everyone knows around the world," Welts told Warriors radio voice Tim Roye in April 2017. "More Steph Curry jerseys are sold around the world than any other player in the NBA. More Warriors merchandise than any other team in the NBA.

"So now, I think we've done a 100 percent reversal, saying, 'You know, we have a lot of equity in this Golden State name and it really means something around the world.' "

And that includes Croatia.

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Patrick Beverley using Steph Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors as motivation

Patrick Beverley using Steph Curry-Kevin Durant Warriors as motivation

The Clippers are one of the favorites to win the championship when the 2019-20 NBA season resumes later this month.

Their quest begins July 30 when they face off against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first of eight "seeding games" on the schedule before the playoffs begin.

How is Clippers guard Patrick Beverley approaching the "bubble" in Orlando? Is he focused on any specific opponent?

"I'm treating everybody the same. Every team I play, I'm playing it like we are playing Golden State when they had Kevin Durant," he recently told Dragonfly Jonez of Whistle. "Every point guard I play, I'm playing Steph Curry."

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

So Beverley -- a two-time All-Defensive selection -- is adopting the mindset that every team the Clippers face arguably is the greatest of all time, and that his one-on-one matchup is against the player many consider the second best point guard ever.

[RELATED: Steph a 'liability' on defense? Beverley offers up a reminder]

It's smart to think this way because the circumstances when it comes to actually playing games will be unprecedented. Taking the court in small gyms without any fans is going to be downright strange, and some motivation will need to be manufactured.

While plenty of Warriors fans view Beverley as an antagonist who they love to root against, they should remember the respect he bestowed upon Steph, KD and the Dubs with this comment.

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