Could it be that Kevin Durant had come down with a severe case of cabin fever after being snowbound for more than 24 hours in a Manhattan hotel?
Because Durant, who will become the most highly sought free agent in the league this summer, actually had some pretty nice things to say about New York and the ailing Nets before their game Sunday night at Barclays Center.
“It’s always fun to be here. It’s the mecca of basketball in New York City,” Durant said. “I always enjoy playing here in front of these fans who enjoy the game of basketball. It’s amazing. You can tell when you walk in the arena. Being at Barclays and being at Madison Square Garden, it’s that pure basketball feel when you walk in the arena.”
It’s hard to imagine that Durant would seriously consider leaving Russell Westbrook and a team that’s on pace to win 60 games for a Nets franchise that lacks a coach and a general manager and is on pace for 20 wins. Yet the way Durant describes it, the Nets’ situation is not as dismal as it seems.
“They’ve lost Jarrett Jack,” Durant said. “It’s hard losing a point guard. They have a new coach. So a lot of stuff factors into a team playing basketball. They have a lot of talent over there. Sometimes it happens when you’re not totally focused when things are going on and it can distract you from basketball . . . We’ve been there. A lot of other teams have been there.”
And the smart money is on Durant not being anywhere near there next season.
Sunday night’s game was the first of two in the area for Thunder coach and Rockville Centre native Billy Donovan, who said it is always special to come back, even in two feet of snow.