Warriors

NBA rumors: Steph Curry heard Kevin Durant's Nets choice on flight from China

NBA rumors: Steph Curry heard Kevin Durant's Nets choice on flight from China

Kevin Durant will sign with the Brooklyn Nets, and ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news at 1:52 p.m. PT on Sunday.

So, where was Stephen Curry when the report surfaced?

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic has the details:

Stephen Curry flew straight to the New York area from Shanghai, China. But he wasn’t going to pitch Kevin Durant on why he should stay with the Warriors. It was already too late. He was on the plane when the news broke that Durant was leaving for Brooklyn.

And Curry didn’t turn the jet around or cancel the trip. Because it wasn’t about recruiting. It was about respect. It was about thanks ... he was there to wish Durant happiness and peace, express his support for his decision.

And when Curry got to Durant’s apartment in Manhattan, Durant confirmed to Curry his decision that their time together was over. Face to face. Man to man. Friend to friend.

Durant is teaming up with Kyrie Irving and DeAndre Jordan -- two close friends -- in Brooklyn. In fact, KD and Kyrie reportedly are taking below the max to enable Jordan to sign a deal that will pay him $10 million annually.

But let's get back to Curry real quick, because there was another very interesting anecdote from Thompson's article:

Curry and Durant never really got to become Curry and Durant. It might have been the only thing that truly could have kept Durant in the Bay.

“He wanted that type of relationship,” said one source friendly with Durant. “It just didn’t work out like that.”

To be sure, they got along. There was no behind-the-scenes fighting to speak of between the two ... they were cool with each other. Still are. But their relationship could only go so deep because of their circumstances.

[RELATEDKD's past comments on Kyrie might explain move to Nets]

Curry and Durant won two titles together, and had the opportunity to be one of the best duos in NBA history. But for many reasons, the partnership lasted just three seasons and ended before it really began.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Warriors of the East? Hawks GM building something with young nucleus

Warriors of the East? Hawks GM building something with young nucleus

Some players continue to await a contract offer. Others are under contract with one team but would rather play elsewhere. Every team sees Carmelo Anthony on the shelf and keeps shopping.

Team USA is facing its biggest roster-building challenge in decades. The Lakers are holding open tryouts. And, by the way, training camps open in a little more than a month.

As we sprint into the second half of perhaps the most fascinating summer in NBA history, it’s a good time to take note of what has transpired. News, notes and quotes from around the NBA:

News the Warriors didn’t need

The Mavericks re-signed point guard J.J. Barea to a one-year contract for the veteran’s minimum. Barea has a reputation as a good locker room guy, and he often finds ways to hurt the Warriors with his shooting. The pesky 5-9 veteran is a big reason why Dallas, one of the league’s weakest teams in recent years, has somehow beaten the vastly superior Warriors three times over the past four seasons.

Putting his teacher's hat on

“I’m looking forward to it. We have a lot of young guys coming in, more than we’ve had since I’ve been here. I’m looking forward to having the chance to work with them on a regular basis. I hope I can make an impact.” – Warriors assistant coach Ron Adams, who next season will operate with a reduced travel schedule while focusing primarily on player development.

The league needs more of this man

Marreese Speights. He reportedly is one of three big men being considered by the Lakers, who are reeling from the loss of DeMarcus Cousins. The other two, Joakim Noah and Dwight Howard, are bigger names, but neither has ever lit up an arena as Speights has. With his deep shooting, his inviting smile and his front-porch philosophy, he can get buckets while charming anyone crossing his path. Ask the Warriors. We’re shamelessly rooting for Mo.

We also admit, this would be, um, interesting

Howard returning to the Lakers. It would be a sequel to one of the most explosive soap operas in the 21st century NBA. Kobe Bryant’s disgust with Howard when they were teammates was epic and still echoes throughout Staples Center. Should there be a reunion, Howard will be joining his seventh team in less than 50 months, counting the Lakers twice. We wonder, though, if any ex-Laker who was a target of Kobe’s scorn has any real chance of making it in LA.

Big man faces 100,000-foot mountain

Cousins’ road back will be unlike that of any other player in NBA history, according to Jeff Stotts, a certified trainer that tracks and analyzes injuries across various sports through his cleverly named website “In Street Clothes.” Stotts tells The Ringer he could not find even one example of a player sustaining both a ruptured Achilles’ tendon and a torn ACL. Which makes Boogie the inaugural test as the worst-case scenario for NBA player’s lower body. We hope he recovers. He’ll deserve the standing ovation he gets upon his return – whether it’s with the Lakers or another team.

Speaking of ex-Lakers and Kobe’s scorn

Whatever happened to Smush Parker? Well, Smush, 38, was most recently affiliated with the LA Superstars of the Primetime Basketball League, a well-intentioned creation of former NBA player and coach Byron Scott.

Still the best . . . we think

With De’Aaron Fox withdrawing from the training roster, Team USA took 13 players to Australia, where the final three exhibitions will be played over the next seven days. Someone still must be cut before the team heads to China next week, the FIBA World Cup opener is scheduled for Sept. 1. Among the candidates to be sent home are Harrison Barnes, Mason Plumlee and maybe even terrific shooter Joe Harris. Can’t imagine coach Gregg Popovich cutting his only Spur, Derrick White, who can fill in at point guard.

Warriors East in the making?

Preparing for his third season as Hawks GM, Travis Schlenk received a contract extension while also adding a title this week: President of basketball operations. He went to Atlanta to rebuild, and there are indications he’s getting it done. Around a nucleus of point guard Trae Young, center-forward John Collins and sharpshooting guard Kevin Huerter, Schlenk added a strong draft that included small forwards De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. In a poll of rookies entering the NBA, Reddish was voted the player from this class likely to have the best career.

He’ll always have ‘Linsanity’

Jeremy Lin turns 31 on Friday and feels he may have cycled out of the NBA. He’s probably right. He began last season with Hawks before being waived in February. Signed by Toronto two days later, he played decent minutes – until the roster gained full health. After spending the playoffs on the distant end of the Raptors’ bench, J-Lin questions whether there is a place for him in the NBA. He reportedly is considering an offer from the Beijing Ducks worth a little more than $3 million.

The OGs

“They basically are Bird, Parish and McHale and they deserve to retire after a very, very long tenure with the Warriors. They deserve to retire in that uniform and not play for any other franchise. That’s what they have earned. And that’s the way they view the Bay Area and the Warriors and how much they love playing there. I can’t see Steph and Draymond playing for anybody else.” – Lakers analyst Mychal Thompson, on his son, Klay, along with Stephen Curry and Draymond Green during the Warriors Insider Podcast this week.

[RELATED: Where Warriors fit in award conversation]

Send good thoughts overseas

Former Cavaliers coach David Blatt announced this week that he has been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Blatt, 60, has no plans to retire. He currently is coaching Olympiacos of the Greek Basket League. Guard Will Cherry, a former start at McClymonds High in Oakland, is on the roster.

Where Warriors fit in preseason conversation for 2019-20 NBA awards

Where Warriors fit in preseason conversation for 2019-20 NBA awards

Editor's note: Grant Liffmann (@grantliffmann) is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders, which airs on NBC Sports Bay Area 90 minutes before each home game and 60 minutes after every game. Each week, Grant will drop his Outsider Observation on the state of the Dubs.

Over the last couple seasons, as the Warriors became an historically great team, they began to lose the favor of NBA Awards voters who were looking for players and coaches that did not have the same incredible supporting cast around them. There also was a sense of voter fatigue, as voters perhaps became a bit bored casting ballots for a Warriors squad that had been so dominant for multiple years.

But as the dynamic of the league has changed, and the Warriors are no longer prohibitive favorites to win the title after a massive roster overhaul, Warriors household names are now being thrust back into the NBA Awards conversation for next season.

Here is a preseason NBA Awards watch list:

Most Valuable Player- Stephen Curry

After winning back-to-back MVP awards a few seasons ago, including the first ever unanimous winner, it seemed as if it would be impossible for Curry to reinsert himself back into the MVP conversation as long as Kevin Durant was in town.

But with Durant's departure, and the assumption that this Warriors team is considerably worse than prior seasons (especially with the absence of Klay Thompson for a majority of the season), Curry is now back in the MVP spotlight.

[RELATED: Curry not popular with rookies]

But what would it take for Curry to re-take the award? For starters, he will have to stay healthy and play at least 70 games most likely. Secondly, the Warriors will have to surprise some folks and not only make the playoffs, but perhaps get in comfortably.

Finally, Curry will have to do what he has been doing his whole career: putting up high scoring totals with incredible efficiency. If Curry can average 28 to 30 points, while shooting around the prestigious 50-40-90, then there is no doubt he will be considered one of the favorites to win his third MVP award.

Defensive Player of the Year: Draymond Green

Every season Draymond's name is thrown in the mix for DPOY, but after a couple seasons in which he did not consistently bring his defensive greatness on a nightly basis during the regular season, many believe that the award is out his reach now.

But after watching a slimmed-down and highly motivated Draymond dominate on the defensive end in this last postseason, there is hope again that the award is in his sights. But to do it next season will be his biggest challenge yet. The Warriors have lost several of their best defensive players including Andre Iguodala, Thompson and Durant, making it seem like the team will be deficient on that end.

[RELATED: Draymond, Warriors have chip on shoulders]

If Green were to elevate the Warriors on defense to a respectable level, then perhaps that alone will garner voters attention. But if the Warriors overall defense were to falter, Draymond's individual play will most likely be overlooked come awards season.

Coach of the Year: Steve Kerr

Like Curry, the incredible accumulation of talent on the Warriors roster made Kerr an afterthought to voters looking for coaches that exceeded expectations. Perhaps it is unfair to Kerr that there was not more appreciation for his job of maintaining the ego's of a star-studded team expected to win the title every single season.

But in the end, the apathy and lack of effort of a team eyeing the start of the playoffs, scattered throughout the regular season pushed voters away from considering Kerr. This upcoming season, yet again, the conversation has changed.

[RELATED: Kerr -- Warriors need D'Angelo Russell]

If the Warriors are to make it into the playoffs in a loaded Western Conference, they will have to bring effort and desire every single night. For the first time in a few seasons, Kerr will have to commit most of his time to strategy and coaching, rather than psychology and guidance. He and the coaching staff are excited for the challenge, and could very well be in the running for hardware by season's end.

On Thursday we will take a look at some Warriors dark-horse candidates for NBA Awards.