The Warriors and the Clippers both held their meetings with Kevin Durant on July 1.
At around 9:30pm PT on July 2, the Los Angeles Times reported that Durant informed the Clippers he would not be signing with them.
On Thursday morning, Doc Rivers joined "The Vertical Podcast," and Adrian Wojnarowski asked Rivers the following question:
Woj: "By all accounts, you made a very strong impression in your meeting, but then you had a decision to make before he (Durant) was ready to make a decision ... you had your own free agents, you had to make a decision -- Do we wait another day on Kevin? Do we think we're deep enough in this and risk losing all of our guys who are going to go out and get deals if we can't commit to them? What was the conversation like within the organization, how did you come to the decision to basically bail on the Kevin Durant process?
Rivers: "Hour-to-hour. That's how tight it was. We were gonna wait it out. We were willing to take the gamble if we felt we were in it. And we were in it. We were in the Top 3 at the very end ... we got two players to delay an hour ... we had two players on our team that could sign for more money, but they were gonna wait another hour to stay with us. That told us we were doing something right...
"We had to get this right. If we're gonna go after Durant, if we can get him, let's stay in it; it's worth it, even if we don't get him. But if we're not going to get him, we gotta make that decision. We gotta do our job business wise. We asked a simple question, and the first question I asked was, 'Are we in the Top 3?' And they said 'Yes.' So that made us feel good. My next question was, 'Are we in the Top 2?' And we had made the decision if they say 'No' then we go, if they say 'Yes' we stay. And they said 'No.'"
At 8:38am PT on Monday, July 4, Durant announced to the world that he was going to sign with the Warriors.
Woj: "What was your sense of why you weren't in the Top 2? Was it just that he fit seamlessly into what they had in Golden State?"
Rivers: "That was the sense. I thought he liked us a lot. He's told us since, and so has his representative, (they) said the presentation I did and Lawrence (Frank) and Steve (Ballmer) was as good, or maybe the best presentation, but when they kept looking at how are you gonna do it ... We had to actually ask each guy to take a hit financially. We needed Kevin to take a hit this year to fit, and then next year we would have needed Blake and Chris to take a hit financially.
"Well, he didn't have to do that if he stayed in Oklahoma. He didn't have to do that if he went to Golden State. Plus, they had room to build around that. So I think at the end of the day, they looked at it as far as roster wise, and said 'Well, the Clippers look great. We love who they are, but financially they're gonna be so strapped, it's gonna be so hard to work, I think we're going to the safer place,' and that's Golden State."
Does Rivers think it's "fair" that Durant ended up with the Warriors?
"I have no problem with it," he declared. "I really don't. I have no problem with it."