Kevin Durant is aware of the narratives that he hand-picked the Nets coach. But he insists he didn’t select Steve Nash and only supported him.
Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks always said that both Durant and Kyrie Irving would have input in the coaching search, and that the former had been a loud voice in the process. With Nash having been a longtime confidant of Durant, there’s been a persistent perception that Durant picked his friend, while Irving had been somewhat less than sold on the decision.
Durant called into the Joe Budden podcast Saturday and insisted he didn’t make the final call, but backed it along with Irving.
“First of all, I didn’t pick the Nets coach. We’ve got people in place that do that. I just supported it: Me and Kyrie,” said Durant. “We’re always on the same page. He’s just a hooper. It doesn’t matter.”
Nets fans will be happy to hear that.
While the team was eliminated from the playoffs last month, Nets players are currently hooping, and Durant is among them.
Durant hasn’t played since tearing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals. He didn’t play at all this season, rehabbing and working his way all the way up to 5-on-5 before the coronavirus pandemic made that impossible.
When Budden said that he’d hoped Durant would be in New York for the podcast, the Nets star replied that he was in California since “the Nets (are) out here working out, so I had to stay. A few of us, four or five of us, out here.”
Durant, Irving and some other Nets – of both the Brooklyn and Long Island variety, like Spencer Dinwiddie, Devin Cannady and Jaylen Hands – have been working out in Los Angeles. Director of player development Adam Harrington, Durant’s longtime shooting coach, was with them, with Blake Griffin and Allonzo Trier joining in training and playing full-court.
“I’m in a stage now where we’re just hooping every day. I feel good waiting for next season to get back,” said Durant. And in an auspicious sign, when Durant was asked if they were going full contact and 5-on-5, he confirmed they were.
“Yeah, we play 4-on-4, 5-on-5. I’m working out every day. I feel like myself, like a player,” Durant said, before cautioning, “I’ve got a long ways to go, though.”
Last month, Durant said he had playing 3-on-3 and 4-on-4, and planned to resume 5-on-5 now that more players were becoming readily available.
Durant demurred and declined to make any bold predictions or guarantees for next season, saying simply, “I don’t know, we’re going to see.”
He also didn’t address the Nets’ loaded roster in any specific sense, saying only that he hoped to see 40-year-old Jamal Crawford, who joined the team in the bubble but pulled his hamstring in his debut, re-signed as a free agent.
“I don’t even know if Jamal wants to play again. I would love to have him on the team. I don’t know,” Durant said. “What’s he, about 42, still doing it?”