Warriors

Steve Nash shares why he believes Kevin Durant left Warriors for Nets

Steve Nash shares why he believes Kevin Durant left Warriors for Nets

After seven seasons competing against Kevin Durant in the NBA, Steve Nash formed a close relationship with the superstar forward during KD's three years with the Warriors. 

The Warriors hired Nash, a Hall of Fame point guard and two-time NBA MVP, as a player development consultant prior to the 2015-16 season. The next season, Durant was a Warrior. 

But the star forward's legendary run with the Warriors came to an end this past offseason. Nash says if you told him in 2016 that Durant would only be a Warrior for three years, he would be a bit surprised -- but far from shocked. 

"I think I would have thought he would have had such a great experience there that he wouldn't want to leave," Nash said on the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast. "That would be the surprise." 

Nash worked closely with Durant in Golden State. The two often were seen working one-on-one when Nash popped in at the Warriors' practice facility. The two kings of their craft grew on a personal level, too. 

As for why he thinks Durant left, Nash turned to some of the same reasons KD fled the Thunder for the Warriors in free agency in the first place -- he wanted another challenge. 

"Kevin's a thoughtful -- I don't want to say complicated -- sophisticated,  he's continually pushing himself and searching for whatever it is that's out there that's going to fulfill him and excite him," Nash said. "I think maybe that part of it was underestimated that he would leave in three years, because that's what led him there in the first place.

"He wanted something higher, bigger [when he left OKC for the Warriors]. He wanted to experience something different where he would be pushed in new ways, and it's kind of the same thing that's happening now." 

Plenty of speculation has come up regarding Durant's relationship with Warriors star point guard Steph Curry, despite the two always getting along during their three years as teammates. Some people believe KD had an issue with the Warriors always being viewed as "Steph's team" in the eyes of Dubs fans, no matter how great KD played.

Nash believes Durant having his "own" team is far from all he seeks. 

[RELATED: KD has hilarious reaction to photo of him at Chase Center]

"I think that plays a role [in him leaving], but I don't think it's everything for Kevin," Nash said. "I think it's probably overplayed by the media. I think in some ways, Kevin just wanted a change. ... I think him constantly seeking a new challenge and new opportunity and new experience, there's a lot of layers to him.

"I think he loves to explore." 

Why Steph Curry's gesture at Oracle Arena finale touched Monta Ellis

Why Steph Curry's gesture at Oracle Arena finale touched Monta Ellis

For the final regular-season game in Oracle Arena history, Warriors star Steph Curry arrived rocking a No. 8 Monta Ellis jersey.

"Obviously, a lot of history that Monta was able to be a part of with the 'We Believe' Warriors era, and when I got here my rookie year, he was that guy," Curry told reporters back on April 7. "And I think for me, in terms of representing him on the last game, it meant a lot because we were in that backcourt together. 

"When he was traded it was a tough time in terms of the transition of the organization and things like that. I wanted to pay, obviously, honor to him in terms of his story, coming out of high school and doing what he was able to do. He was an Oakland fan, Warrior fan. Beloved guy."

Shortly after he got wind of Curry's gesture, Monta reacted on Instagram. But he recently expanded on his feelings.

"The biggest thing that I always wanted to do, like, when I leave this Earth, is know that I impacted somebody in some shape or form, no matter if it was on or off the basketball court," he told Marcus Thompson of The Athletic. "That’s my biggest thing.

"So to hear that from him, man, it just means I did what I was supposed to do. I made an impact on somebody’s life before I left here.”

During the 2009-10 season -- Curry's rookie campaign -- Ellis averaged a career-high 25.5 points per game.

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The following year, he racked up 24.1 points and 5.6 assists per contest, while Curry registered 18.6 points and 5.8 assists per night.

Although Monta was disappointed with how the franchise handled his trade to Milwaukee in March 2012, he has nothing but love for Dub Nation.

“That’s my second home,” he told Thompson. “I love Oakland. The fans are like no other. I’ve never seen any other fans in America like Oracle.”

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Why Steve Kerr’s message to enjoy Warriors' dynasty should’ve been heeded

Why Steve Kerr’s message to enjoy Warriors' dynasty should’ve been heeded

Steve Kerr knew this season would be different, how could he not?

Still, even the Warriors head coach couldn't have predicted how drastically different his sixth season in the Bay would be. 

Kevin Durant left to become a Net. Klay Thompson likely will miss the entire season rehabbing his torn ACL. Then, Steph Curry broke his left hand and will be re-evaluated in February and D'Angelo Russell missed nine of the first 21 games with a thumb sprain. This has left Kerr to lead a group of rookies, role players and reclamation projects through the NBA season.

Dynasties aren't built to last. Kerr, a six-time NBA champion as a player and coach, knows that. He knows how fleeting championship runs can be. The Warriors have gone from dreaded bully thirsting for June champagne to a champion laying on the canvas as a 12-month recharge washes over them.

“No,” Kerr laughed when NBC Sports Chicago's K.C. Johnson asked if he thought anyone savored last season's run when he told them to. “It’s human nature to think we’re going to win it again and we’re going to keep going forever. Life changes quickly.

“I talked not only to the media and our fans but to our team. Last year there were several times when I said, ‘This is going to be our best chance to win a championship.’ We’ve got an incredible opportunity that may never come up again. That’s something that’s important for everybody to realize---fans, management, players. It is lightning in a bottle. You can do everything perfectly and you still may not get to where you think you might be.”

The Warriors will be back. That's the plan at least. This season serves as a reboot point. A mere pitstop in a dynasty that has been paused not concluded.

But plans, even those best laid, rarely go as drawn up. Kerr knows that. That's why he implored everyone from Curry to those sitting in the nosebleeds at Oracle Arena to enjoy one of the most impressive runs in NBA history.

You never know when things will come back, and things surely never will be the way they were when Curry and Warriors were pulverizing teams into oblivion en route to five-straight NBA Finals appearances.

That ride, as Kerr predicted, came to an end.

A new one has begun.

[RELATED: Warriors' plan might draw speculation after two inexplicable losses]

The Warriors sit at 4-19. Rookies Eric Paschall and Ky Bowman have played well, as has veteran swingman Glenn Robinson III. But it's unlikely to amount to many wins this season. It's instead about teaching, about growth for next season when a fully loaded Warriors team will enact its vengeance on an NBA that is taking pleasure in pummeling the wounded champions. 

That will be a sweet moment for Kerr and the Warriors, should it come.

Pleasure, in sports and in life is, fleeting. Titles come. Confetti falls. Elation hits. Then, it's on to next year, and one day, before you've blinked, things are different. The run is over and a new course has been charted.

That course is expected to get the Warriors back to the top soon. If it does, expect everyone to heed Kerr's advice and enjoy the ride.