Warriors

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant felt like 'distant second fiddle' to Steph Curry

NBA rumors: Kevin Durant felt like 'distant second fiddle' to Steph Curry

For several years now, Steph Curry has been considered the most popular and revered athlete in the Bay Area. When it's all said and done, he might be at the very top of the region's all-time list.

And apparently, the love that fans feel for Curry partially is reponsible for Kevin Durant leaving the Warriors to sign with the Nets.

Marc Spears of The Undefeated had the details Sunday, after Durant made his decision:

A source close to Durant also told The Undefeated there were several things that took place over the past year that caused the star to leave. While Durant’s shocking move to join the Warriors in 2016 quickly paid dividends for him — two straight championships and two Finals MVP awards — there was always the sense that the 10-time All-Star felt like a distant second fiddle to Stephen Curry.

Perhaps it would have helped the Warriors’ cause if their fans showed more love and appreciation for Durant’s elite achievements.

Curry regularly received MVP chants from the Warriors crowd when he shot free throws, while that didn’t become commonplace for Durant until this past postseason.

Hmmmmmmm. This sounds familiar.

The morning after the Warriors beat the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 2 of the Western Conference finals, Jay Williams -- who works with KD and his business partner, Rich Kleiman, at Thirty Five Ventures -- said the following on ESPN's morning show "Get Up:"

"I saw something last night -- and I'm not speaking for him -- but for me, it kind of bothered me. Stephen Curry was on the free throw line (late in the third quarter) and granted Steph is an incredible player, he's MVP-caliber, two-time MVP. Take a listen to what the fans were cheering..."

(The show then cut to a clip of the Oracle Arena crowd chanting "M-V-P! M-V-P! M-V-P!" And that bothered Williams?)

"It's like, 'OK, could this ever really be my team?' I feel like if you're a basketball player, you know that's Kevin Durant's team. But from the outside looking in, fans still see it as Stephen's team. And I don't care what anybody says, that has to sit with you in some kind of form or capacity.

"He's back-to-back Finals MVP."

The fact that this example was mentioned again certainly makes it seem like it in fact is KD -- not Williams -- who was bothered by the "M-V-P" chants, and Williams is relaying what he's been told.

Furthermore, Ethan Strauss of The Athletic wrote the following Sunday night:

In truth, KD was never embraced or loved by local fans on the level of the incumbent Curry.

This is undeniable, and it impacted Durant's outlook on his future.

It hasn't even been 24 hours since we learned the two-time NBA Finals MVP is leaving the Dubs, and important context is coming to light. It's safe to assume more is on the way in the coming days, weeks and months.

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NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

NBA rumors: Warriors privately 'cool' on playing when season returns

To play or not to play?

That is the question facing the Warriors as the NBA nears a decision on how many teams will participate when the league resumes the 2019-20 season.

While coach Steve Kerr said the team is operating as if the season is over, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday that owner Joe Lacob told his fellow owners that the team was "willing" to play if all 30 NBA teams were asked to play.

But ... Wojnarowski also reported, citing sources, that the Warriors have been "far more cool to the idea in private."

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

Based on Wojnarowski's reporting from Friday, the NBA Board of Governors are expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's proposal for a 22-team restart plan later this week, meaning the Warriors -- who hold the worst record in the league -- would not be asked to play any more games this season.

The Warriors don't have anything left to play for this season. They are the only team that has been officially eliminated from playoff contention. Does it make sense for the players to go through several weeks of training camp to play a handful of meaningless games?

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again,' " Warriors star Steph Curry told former teammate Anthony Morrow recently on "The Life Podcast."

[RELATED: Warriors facility opens, players show up]

Would it be advantageous for the Warriors to get a brief look at Curry playing alongside Andrew Wiggins? Sure, but they don't need to risk injury to either player when the goal is making sure the team is ready to bounce back for the 2020-21 season.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Steph Curry reacts to Damian Lillard's comments on 'meaningless games'

Damian Lillard created headlines last week with his comments about the NBA's potential plans for resuming the 2019-20 season.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," the Portland Trail Blazers star guard told Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now.

"If we come back and I don't have an opportunity to make the playoffs -- I will show up to work, I'll be at practice and I'll be with my team. I'm going to do all that and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games."

What is Steph Curry's reaction to that?

"I feel what he's saying because it's hard mentally to go with this long of gap, and then prepare for games you know don't matter," the Warriors' superstar said on the "The Life Podcast" with Anthony Morrow and Justin Jack. "I get it.

"It's a hard thing to put your mind in that space, 'I'm gonna go out here and compete and bust my a-- and know in five games we're just gonna be back in the offseason again.'"

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

Golden State did re-open Chase Center facilities Monday so players could work out again, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Bay Area's Logan Murdock. 

But all indications are that the Warriors won't be playing any additional games this season, and will not be included among the teams that eventually will take the court in Orlando.

[RELATED: Oakland's own Lillard rips Orlovsky for calling him spoiled]

"Between now and Thursday's vote of the board of governors on the plan to restart the season, the NBA is working to complete the details of a 22-team format," ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe wrote Monday.

So for Lillard and the Blazers -- who currently sit in a three-way tie for ninth place in the Western Conference -- it appears they will get the opportunity to claw their way into the playoffs.

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