Warriors

Steve Kerr talks at length about Kevin Durant's awkward media session

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AP

Steve Kerr talks at length about Kevin Durant's awkward media session

Programming note: Watch the Warriors take on the Suns on Friday night at 6 p.m. PT, streaming live on the MyTeams app.

After the Warriors beat the Spurs on Wednesday night, Steve Kerr spoke to reporters like he always does. The Warriors coach then left Oracle Arena and didn't see Kevin Durant's "media session heard 'round the world" until he got home.

Upon landing in Phoenix on Thursday afternoon, Kerr joined Damon Bruce on 95.7 The Game. And naturally, the main topic was KD.

"Kevin's been great over the past few years with the media," Kerr started. "He's been very forthright and engaging. Last night, the last week or so -- not so much. But let's give him a pass.

"He's a grown man, and he's gotta do his job and I've gotta do mine. We talk all the time -- just like I do with all the players. And they talk amongst themselves, so we're all part of this. When you're on the same team you deal with each other's issues and you try to help each other through everything."

During Durant's media hiatus, Kerr didn't give the two-time NBA Finals MVP any advice.

"He's been in this league a long time, and to be perfectly honest, I didn't see that coming," Kerr answered. "Even though he wasn't speaking with the media for the last week, I just thought he just needed a break. He was probably tired of all the speculation, and I just thought he'll eventually get back speaking with the media. I didn't see any of that coming what happened last night."

Kerr has been in the NBA for a very long time. And he's served in many different capacities -- player, broadcaster, GM, coach. He understands that interest goes way beyond what happens between the lines.

"Instead of the focus being on the Warriors playing for a third straight title, all the focus seems to be on where everybody's gonna be playing next year," Kerr said. "And look, that's part of the deal -- especially if you sign a one-year deal and you're a superstar and you're gonna be a free agent -- those questions are gonna come.

[RELATEDJared Dudley explains why KD shouldn't be surprised by media]

"All that revenue that generates the salary cap, it doesn't all come from ticket sales. It comes from media rights and all kinds of financial streams that are based on people's intense interest in the league. And so you just kind of have to deal with that and go along with that.

"There are times where you get upset and you just move on -- you keep going."

Sage advise, Mr. Kerr.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry, MVP? Six Warriors storylines to watch out for in 2019-20

Steph Curry, MVP? Six Warriors storylines to watch out for in 2019-20

 The Warriors enter the 2019-20 season at a crossroads. 

With Kevin Durant off to Brooklyn, Klay Thompson out for an extended time and eight new faces on the roster, Golden State looks to continue their Western Conference dominance. 

To get you ready, here are six storylines to follow entering the season. 

KD Gone

For the first time in three seasons, the Warriors will enter a season without Durant in the lineup. Durant left the Bay Area for the Brooklyn Nets last month, casting a glaring hole in the Warriors lineup. 

Last season, he averaged 26 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.9 assists amid reports he was leaving Golden State in free agency. By the postseason, he was playing arguably the best basketball of his career before a calf and Achilles tear ended his final season with the Warriors. 

Without Durant, the Warriors will need to hope their roster is balanced enough to withstand the absence of his numbers. 

Klay Thompson injury

After tearing his ACL in Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals, Thompson is expected to miss most of the 2019-20 season. With Thompson out, the Warriors are left to figure out how to make up the 20 points per game he provides. 

While the injury could have a return date of six to eight months, Thompson says he wants to take his time during his rehab.
 
"I don't want to rush it because I want to play until I'm 38, 39, 40 years old," Thompson told ESPN last month. "That's my plan, especially with the way I can shoot the ball. I'd love to see the floor this season. Don't know when that is. I doubt it's before the All-Star break. But at some point, it will be a goal of mine."

Fortunately for the Warriors -- the league seems to be on their side -- shelving road matchups with the Bucks, Lakers, and Clippers to the backend of the schedule, presumably when Thompson will be back. If Golden State can stay in playoff contention while he rehabs, the team could be primed for another playoff run. 

D'Angelo Russell

Golden State's All-Star summer consolation prize promises to change Golden State's offensive identity. Known as a pick-and-roll initiator, Russell's style will clash with the Warriors pass-heavy offense. The adjustment will be aided by the addition of big man Willie Cauley-Stein, who is expected to be paired on-court with Russell. 

Last season, Russell averaged 21.1 points and seven assists in 81 games last season with the Brooklyn Nets. In his best season as a pro, Russell made his first NBA All-Star team and finished second in voting for the league's Most Improved Player. If Russell can continue that play, the Warriors should be fine. 

Stephen Curry: MVP?

Last time Curry was on a roster without Durant, he put together one of the best offensive seasons in NBA history, winning the league's first unanimous MVP. Now, with Durant gone and Thompson more than half the season, more of the offensive burden will rest on Curry's shoulders. 

Willie Cauley Stein

While he had his best year as a pro last season, Cauley-Stein has built up a reputation of being inconsistent. Without a starting center, the Dubs signed the big man to two-year deal slightly above the veteran's minimum. 

Cauley Stein, 26, will have opportunities for a big payday if he can flourish within the team's offense and become a rim protector on the defensive end.

Will the Warriors make the playoffs?

With Golden State's post-KD era coming into form, basketball pundits have wondered if the team will even be in playoff contention. So far, the Warriors have brushed aside any notion of that reality. 

About an hour after Golden State lost the NBA Finals in June, Warriors forward Draymond Green promised his team wouldn't miss a beat. 

"I think everybody thinks it's kind of the end of us," Green said. "But that's just not smart. We're not done yet. We lost this year. Clearly just wasn't our year, but that's how the cookie crumbles sometimes. But, yeah, I hear a lot of that noise, it's the end of a run and all that jazz. I don't see it happening though." 

"I just laugh at it," Curry added during his second annual Warriors All-Girls basketball camp in Oakland on Monday afternoon. "Anybody can say anything about anything nowadays and it can pick up steam. So we've had lots of support. We've had a lot of criticism on the way that doesn't change now. Just what they're saying is different so doesn't change how we go about our business."

[RELATED: Warriors were never final stop for Kevin Durant, says Stephen A. Smith]

Any notion of Golden State missing the playoffs is preposterous if they're healthy. By March, they'll have three all-stars on the roster and will be primed to make a run if Thompson comes back at full strength. 

Warriors were never final stop for Kevin Durant, says Stephen A. Smith

Warriors were never final stop for Kevin Durant, says Stephen A. Smith

“You don’t wanna make an enemy out of me.”

ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said that about former Warriors star Kevin Durant in 2015 on “First Take” after the forward was vocal about not speaking to Smith. 

Smith recently joined Bill Simmons on “The Bill Simmons Podcast” and talked about, among other things, Kevin Durant.

While many around the league speculated throughout the season about whether Durant would go in free agency, Smith says that he never saw Durant’s move to Golden State as a permanent endeavor. 

“When Kevin Durant went to Golden State, I never bought the Steph Curry thing because Kevin Durant always knew it was going to be Steph Curry’s town,” Smith told Simmons. “He went there to - he never ever ever intended to stay more .. longer than he stayed.”

Much was made of Durant wanting to have his own team where he was the star, after spending nearly a decade sharing the spotlight with MVP Russell Westbrook. 

It would be unfair to say Durant was overshadowed during his time in Golden State, however, as KD captured two championships and a pair of Finals MVP trophies during his time with the Warriors. 

“He wanted to go there, win a couple of rings at the very least, and then move on. Because then when he moved on, he would be moving on as a champion.”

Now that Durant has teamed up with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn, Smith is unsure when Durant will be on a team where he is the guy.

“Golden State was never a permanent situation for him from my understanding. And that was never going to be the case. He always had intentions to leave. Because he knew that would never be HIS. The question now is, what could possibly be HIS?”

[RELATED: Warriors who could be dark-horse candidates for 2019-20 NBA awards]

Steph Curry, meanwhile, is left to pick up the pieces and do everything he can to keep the momentum rolling for the Warriors as they begin a new era of uncertainty across the Bay.

KD and Stephen A. now work in the same town, so hopefully Durant he doesn't try to pick any more battles with ESPN's most prominent talent.