LAS VEGAS — Kevin Durant is back in the gym, shooting jumpers and smiling with his Olympic teammates.
The newest Warrior feels much more comfortable than he did when he first made the controversial decision to leave Oklahoma City to sign with Golden State and form a super team with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.
“The two days after I didn’t leave my bed because if I walk outside somebody might try to hit me with their car,” Durant said. “I just stayed in and tried to process it all. I wanted to be around family and positive support. It felt different, obviously.
“I had been somewhere for so long and made a change no one saw coming and didn’t think I would do. Of course I didn’t know how it would be received afterward. But at some point I said, ‘Life goes on, and I can’t hide forever,’ so I had to face it.”
Durant will hear boos in just about every arena other than Oracle in Oakland, and he will have to answer questions in just about every NBA city about his move. He seems ready to accept that because he knows he made the move to put himself in a better position to win an elusive championship.
The Thunder reached one NBA Finals, losing to the Heat in 2012. The Warriors won the title in 2015, and eliminated the Thunder this year in the Western Conference finals before losing to Cleveland in the championship round.
“Villain and all that stuff that’s for people who look at us as just entertainers,” Durant said. “This is basketball. This is life for me.
“As you get older and older [winning is] all you really want to do. As far as winning I just want to be a part of helping a team and being great a teammate and leaving a long-lasting impact on my teammates for the rest of our lives. That’s my whole goal.”
Durant met with the Warriors, Thunder, Celtics, Spurs, Clippers, and Heat in the Hamptons during the first three days of free agency. The Knicks didn’t get a meeting, but Carmelo Anthony said he was talking to Durant and everyone should respect his decision.
“I don’t think you guys know the back story, but I don’t want to get into all of that, as far as not meeting with us, or meeting with us,” Anthony said. “I don’t want to get into all of those details. We talked. Me and him talked. We were in constant communication. We were together, and he made his decision. So for anybody to judge that, I think is wrong.
“Just from talking to him and being around him, he’s happy, he’s at peace with that decision, and everybody else should be at peace with that decision. If he’s at peace, everybody else should be at peace.”