Warriors

NBA rumors: Warriors alarmed Kevin Durant lacked joy after second title

NBA rumors: Warriors alarmed Kevin Durant lacked joy after second title

In three seasons with the Warriors, Kevin Durant won two championships and two NBA Finals MVPs.

If he didn't get hurt, it could have been 3-for-3 in both departments.

On June 30, KD announced that he was going to sign with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency. On Monday, Golden State general manager Bob Myers said he doesn't think there's anything the Warriors could have done differently to keep the 10-time All-Star with the franchise.

ESPN's Brian Windhorst agrees, and offered the following context Monday on The Jump:

"I think even if he doesn't get hurt, even if they win the title, I think there's a good chance he was leaving. You never know for sure. The thing about the Warriors, they were very alarmed after winning two titles that Durant didn't seem to have the joy.

"We knew he suffered the downsides of what it meant to come to the Warriors. When he took and raised that Bill Russell trophy twice -- and didn't have the joy -- they were worried last summer.

"Normally you would think, 'Oh my gosh, this guy just won two titles and two MVPs -- this guy is locked up with us for life.' And they were worried about it way back then, and as the season went along it only made it even worse."

Let's provide even more context.

In late March 2018 -- about nine months after the Dubs won the title -- KD revealed the following story on The Bill Simmons Podcast:

"People tell us we're superstars, and we really aren't ... after we won the championship, I had Taco Bell and it ran through me just like it would a normal person. I'm like, 'Oh sh--. I thought I had a golden stomach (joking). I thought I was immune to everything, but no.

"That's the perception of it all -- we're just immortal. We're normal fu**ing people who are really good at what we do. But at the end of the day, we go to sleep just like everybody else. We really put on our pants just like everybody else ... it made me realize that I am not king anything because we won a championship." 

A couple months later, after the Dubs won back-to-back championships, ESPN's Zach Lowe wrote the following:

Both [Steve] Kerr and [Steve] Nash saw the drifting start over the summer, after Durant realized his first championship would not complete his life -- or silence every critic. He didn't work as often with Nash, or as productively, as planned.

"He didn't have a great summer," Nash says. "He was searching for what it all meant. He thought a championship would change everything, and found out it doesn't. He was not fulfilled. He didn't work out as much as he normally does."

[RELATEDEx-Dubs exec West explains why Clips are best organization]

For a multitude of reasons -- some of which have come to light -- KD felt like it was time to leave Golden State.

You can only hope he finds what he's looking for.

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Warriors' Kevon Looney, Alen Smailagic cleared for on-court workouts

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Warriors' Kevon Looney, Alen Smailagic cleared for on-court workouts

MEMPHIS -- After injuries ravaged the Warriors' roster during the first month of the season, the team got a bit of good news Tuesday. 

Big men Kevon Looney and Alen Smailagic have been cleared for accelerated on-court workouts, while guard Jacob Evans will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

As the Warriors continue their four-game road trip, Looney and Smailagic are expected to participate in practices with the Warriors' G League team in Santa Cruz.

While nothing is set in stone, Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't rule Looney out of next Monday's game against Oklahoma City.

The injuries updates come as the Warriors are in peril. In the last month,  Stephen Curry broke his hand, sidelining him until at least February, while two-way guard Damion Jones fractured his hand last week. In Tuesday's injury report, seven Warriors were listed as 'out,' including guard Klay Thompson. 

Looney, who was dealing with a neuropathic issue in his hamstring, carries the most importance. In the past two seasons, the multifaceted defender helped Golden State reach the NBA Finals. In his absence, the Warriors are giving up more than 120 points per game.

[RELATED: Bowman must adapt when Warriors are healthy]

Meanwhile, Evans was showing signs of progress following a tough rookie season, shooting 50 percent from the 3-point range before a left adductor sidelined him on Oct. 28. 

As for Smailagic, the rookie was expected to contribute right away with the Warriors undermanned frontline before spraining his ankle in a training camp scrimmage. In the last week, Kerr said the 19-year old told his coach he dunked during practice, showing his recent progress.

Warriors vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

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Warriors vs. Grizzlies watch guide: Lineups, injuries, player usage

In a battle featuring two teams in different stages of rebuilding, the foundering Warriors face the suddenly resurgent Grizzlies on Tuesday at FedEx Forum in Memphis.

Pregame coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 4 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 5:10.

The Warriors (2-12) own the longest losing streak in the NBA this season, seven games, dating back to Nov. 6. It’s their longest string of defeats since April 2012, when they lost eight in a row.

Though the Warriors have not lost a season series to Memphis since 2012-13 (0-3), they have lost at least once at FedEx Forum in 11 consecutive seasons, including each of the last three.

The Grizzlies (5-8), early in a full rebuild, opened the season losing five of their first six games under first-year coach Taylor Jenkins. They are showing signs of improvement, though, going 4-3 since then. They have won three of their last four.

 

PROJECTED LINEUPS

Warriors

F  Eric Paschall
F  Draymond Green
C  Willie Cauley-Stein
G  Glenn Robinson III
G  Ky Bowman

Grizzlies

F  Jae Crowder
F  Jaren Jackson Jr.
C  Jonas Valanciunas
G  Dillon Brooks
G  Ja Morant

 

INJURY REPORT

Warriors: G Stephen Curry (left hand fracture), G Jacob Evans III (left adductor strain), G Damion Lee (right hand non-displaced fracture), F Kevon Looney (neuropathy), F Alen Smailagic and G Klay Thompson (right ACL rehab) are listed as out.

Grizzlies: G Grayson Allen (left ankle soreness) is listed as out. F Andre Iguodala is not with the team.

 

ROTATION OUTLOOK

Warriors: Whether Warriors coach Steve Kerr stays with the unusual lineup that started Sunday in New Orleans (with Green starting at PG) remains to be seen. The slow start in that game (down 10-2 after three minutes, trailing by as much as 14 in the first half) could force a more conventional approach ... Undrafted rookie PG, who had 19 points and four assists in 28 minutes off the bench, made a strong case for starting, particularly with fellow rookie Morant at the point for Memphis ... Though rookie SG Jordan Poole remains mired in a shooting slump, the Warriors are encouraged that it has not affected his defense. The effort is there on that end, and the belief is his shots could start falling any day now ... Today’s player availability count: Nine.

Grizzlies: Though the team is built around Morant, the overall No. 2 pick in the June draft, rookie SF Brandon Clarke (No. 21 overall) has been terrific off the bench, averaging 12.3 ppg and 21.9 mpg ... The Grizzlies lead the league in paint points, averaging 55.0 per game, and Valanciunas is a big reason for that. He has scored in double figures in 12 consecutive games. Only two teams are more forgiving in the paint than the Warriors, whose opponents average 51.9 per game .. Picking up on the ball movement trend, the Grizzlies averaged 29.4 assists over their last seven games ... They also have made at least 10 triples in each of those seven consecutive games, matching a franchise record.

Officials: Kevin Scott (crew chief), Marat Kogut, Natalie Sago.