Warriors

What Kevin Durant told GM Sean Marks about why he signed with Nets

What Kevin Durant told GM Sean Marks about why he signed with Nets

Everyone wants to know: Why did Kevin Durant pick the Brooklyn Nets?

While Durant himself hasn't publicly given his reason, his new general manager Sean Marks offered insight in an interview on WFAN on Tuesday.

"Well, he said a couple things," Marks said of his conversation with Durant. "He did say, and I don't want to get into the whole thing ... he did say 'Look, I love the system, I love how you guys play, I see how hard you guys play, you're never out of games, we could never take you guys lightly.' That was one of the first things he said. 'If we were up 10 with two minutes to go, that doesn't mean anything against Brooklyn.' That's a real credit to the competitive environment that [Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson] has really brought. He's spearheaded that."

In three seasons under Atkinson, the Nets have gone from 20 wins to 28 to 42. With a young team, Brooklyn secured the No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference last year, and lost to the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Much like Warriors fans back in 2016 when Durant signed with Golden State, Marks has found himself in disbelief that Durant now plays for his team.

"I'm not going to lie, there's been a couple of times I'm definitely excited about [it]," Marks said. "Kevin for sure, the whole group and really the challenge of getting all these guys together on the same page and watching how it unfolds."

Marks said Durant gave the Nets no heads up about his decision, and that the team found out when the two-time NBA Finals MVP announced his decision on Instagram.

"What we knew was we were either getting a teleconference call with Kevin that night or we were potentially going to get a meeting," Marks said. "We'd seen some media reports earlier in the day that Kevin had crossed several teams off his list and we were still one of them. And those reports were there for everybody to read. And then when Kevin posted it on The Boardroom Instagram site, that was news to all of us in the office."

Durant is expected to miss the entire 2019-20 season as he recovers from the torn Achilles he suffered in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals. Instead of flying back to the Bay Area to have surgery, Durant flew to New York and had the surgery performed by Nets team physician Martin O'Malley.

Marks, though, doesn't believe Durant's injury helped the Nets land him.

"I've never actually asked him that," Marks said. "I know he is, since signing with us, met all our performance team and I could see the look on his face, that he was certainly pleased with what we had in front of him."

[RELATED: Warriors alarmed by KD's lack of joy]

We have yet to hear from Durant on all of these subjects, but we finally have a little bit of insight into why Durant left the Warriors. Once he's ready to speak, hopefully we'll get the complete story.

Warriors’ still-mounting injuries a big blow to young players’ development

Warriors’ still-mounting injuries a big blow to young players’ development

SAN FRANCISCO -- In the waning moments of the Warriors' latest loss Friday night, their bench resembled the front row of a fashion show more than a functioning NBA roster.

Toward the end of the bench, All-Star guard Stephen Curry sat in a black suit jacket, covering a massive cast protecting his broken left hand. To Curry's left, center Kevon Looney sat in a gray suit, his immediate future in peril as he continues to seek answers about an injured hamstring.

That type of visual has become commonplace over the last month.

Over that stretch, 11 Warriors players have been sidelined with injuries, crippling a roster that seemed armed with an outside shot of making the playoffs on opening night just three weeks ago.

The latest blow came Saturday morning, when an MRI confirmed that D'Angelo Russell had suffered a sprained thumb, sidelining him for at least two weeks. Over his previous six games, the guard had averaged 29.7 points on 48 percent shooting from the field, including a 52-point, nine-rebound performance against Minnesota, so his absence will be felt.

That's because the Warriors are in roster transition, marked by their youthful core.

When Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall were drafted in June, the expectation was that the rookies would be brought along slowly, learning behind Golden State's battered All-Star cast. The myriad injuries changed that, though, forcing both into more minutes than initially anticipated.

While Paschall has flourished in that spot (15.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 30.8 minutes per game), Poole has struggled. Since Curry's injury in the fourth game of the season, Poole has shot 29 percent from the field, and he has hit just five of his last 28 shots over his last two contests.

The trickle-down effect started on the eve of training camp, when Warriors general manager Bob Myers announced that center Willie Cauley-Stein would miss most of October with a foot strain. Two days later, rookie Alen Smailagic rolled his ankle and Looney strained his hamstring in the same controlled scrimmage.

Last month, Curry broke his hand, sidelining the guard until at least February. Two nights later, forward Draymond Green tore a ligament in his left index finger. On Monday, two-way guard Damion Lee fractured his hand.

Amid all those injuries, Warriors coach Steve Kerr trotted out his ninth starting lineup of the season Friday, with two-way guard Ky Bowman at the point. For a moment, it worked.

Midway through the third quarter, Bowman intercepted a pass, ran cross court and dunked over Grant Williams, cutting the Celtics' lead to three. Two minutes later, Alec Burk stripped Boston guard Brandon Wanamaker, setting up a fast-break layup that gave Golden State a brief 82-80 lead before the Celtics rallied and held on in the fourth quarter.

The Warriors' current reality is much different than their immediate past. After winning 78 percent of their games over five years, they now find themselves with a roster that lost Kevin Durant to free agency, while Curry and Klay Thompson's rehabs are expected to last until at least February. Their 2-11 record is the NBA's worst.

[RELATED: How die-hard Warriors fans can stay optimistic]

Minutes after the final buzzer Friday, there were reminders of potential hopes lost. Curry's hand swelled out of his cast as he walked near a team official. In the locker room, Paschall sported an ice pack on his right hand, and Poole reconciled an ankle injury that he said wouldn't affect him.

As the Warriors packed for another road trip, potentially with just eight healthy bodies for the foreseeable future, another reminder that the team's development is coming at a hefty price was evident.

Warriors' D'Angelo Russell out at least two weeks with right thumb sprain

dlo_injury.jpg
USATSI

Warriors' D'Angelo Russell out at least two weeks with right thumb sprain

Add another one to the list.

After leaving Friday night’s loss to the Celtics with a thumb injury, an MRI has confirmed a right thumb sprain for All-Star guard D'Angelo Russell.

Russell will not travel with the team on the upcoming four-game road trip and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Golden State’s already lengthy injury report adds another name, as the team now stands with just nine healthy players as the team embarks for New Orleans on Saturday to kick off the trip.