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Kevin Durant talks Nets, Warriors and Porzingis

Kevin Durant  warms up before Game 5

Kevin Durant  warms up before Game 5 of the NBA Finals in Toronto on June 10, 2019. Photo Credit: AP/Frank Gunn

With the start of training camp still weeks away, Kevin Durant spoke out on his move to Brooklyn for the first time in a series of interviews this week.

In a live interview with Chris Henderson that streamed on YouTube through the Streamyard app, Durant spoke about the Nets briefly in a wide-ranging interview. Then in a long piece in The Wall Street Journal Magazine, Durant had critical words for his former teams.

“I’m excited about this group,” Durant said of the Nets in his interview with Henderson. “Obviously, with me not starting off the season and obviously being injured, you’re going to see a lot of guys step up and do some things and go to another level as a player,” the two-time Finals MVP said. “Caris [LeVert], Joe Harris, Taurean Prince. Even the older guys like Garrett Temple, Kyrie [Irving], DeAndre [Jordan]. I feel like everybody in this environment is going to step up another level, especially due to circumstances with me not being available.

“I think everybody’s going to step up and take it to the next level. We got great coaching, great front office, great fan base that’s excited for something new. This is a fresh start for everybody, I feel.”

In The Wall Street Journal story by J.R. Moehringer, Durant spoke of his decision to leave the Golden State Warriors for the Nets, even surprising his manager and business partner, Rich Kleiman.

Kleiman met him for dinner in New York and laid out the teams that were possible, and without even holding meetings, Durant told him, “All right. Well, I’m going with Brooklyn.”

Joining forces with Irving, whom he called his best friend in the league, was part of the allure, and leaving the Warriors, who reached the NBA Finals in all three years he spent there, also was part of the reason for a new start.

“I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted,” he said. “But I’ll never be one of those guys. I didn’t get drafted there . . . Steph Curry, obviously drafted there. Andre Iguodala, won the first Finals, first championship. Klay Thompson, drafted there. Draymond Green, drafted there. And the rest of the guys kind of rehabilitated their careers there. So me? [Expletive], how you going to rehabilitate me? What you going to teach me? How can you alter anything in my basketball life? I got an MVP already. I got scoring titles.”

He added, “As time went on I started to realize I’m just different from the rest of the guys. It’s not a bad thing. Just my circumstances and how I came up in the league. And on top of that, the media always looked at it like KD and the Warriors. So it’s like nobody could get a full acceptance of me there.”

Durant did not explain his decision to not meet with the Knicks but did speak of what Kristaps Porzingis, the last star attraction at Madison Square Garden, can become in Dallas teamed up with last season’s rookie of the year, Luka Doncic.

“I think [Doncic] was raised in a basketball environment that taught him how to play the ins and outs of the game,” Durant said in the YouTube interview. “You don’t see guys at that age who can manipulate the game the way he does. He can control the full game at [a young] age, which is rare. I’m expecting huge things from him going forward and a superstar career going forward.

“As far as KP, his name says it all. His nickname being the ‘Unicorn.’ A guy that can do so many things at that height and that agility. I’m looking forward to seeing those two come together. I think they’ve got something going down there. Mark Cuban is always going to support his guys and put them in the best position, so that’s a franchise I’ll definitely be watching over the next few years.”

Nets to play at Barclays Center

The Nets announced that they will play their final preseason game on Oct. 18 against the defending champion Toronto Raptors at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The game had been scheduled for NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum.

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