Kevin Durant says Steph Curry is better than Russell Westbrook; Eats SNAKE and Tells Serge Ibaka why Warriors would have beaten Raptors

Brian Witt | NBC SPORTS 

Kevin Durant doesn’t expect to play during the 2019-20 NBA season, but he’s commandeering the storylines the day before it begins.

The two-time Finals MVP joined Brooklyn in free agency this offseason after three eventful seasons with the Warriors, which included two championships. He has been rehabbing since having surgery to repair a torn Achilles, and recently found time to visit with one of his former teammates — Serge Ibaka — who was guarding him when that injury occurred.

Durant was the guest for the premiere episode of Ibaka’s show “How Hungry Are You?”, in which the Congolese native gets his guests to try some unusual eats. The menu for Durant?

Snake.

No, seriously.

The culinary choice was actually Ibaka’s way of showing support for his former teammate.

“I know a lot of people call my boy a snake. Today, he’s about to eat snake,” Ibaka said at the opening of the episode. “‘Cuz snake don’t eat snake. You got it?”

Ibaka and Durant cover numerous topics throughout their conversation, including what would have happened in the 2019 NBA Finals if Durant hadn’t torn his Achilles. But as far as making headlines, nothing is likely to compare to Durant’s response to Ibaka’s first question, which put him on the spot.

“Who is a better player: Stephen Curry or Russell Westbrook?”

Whoa boy.

“Stephen Curry,” Durant responded after a long pause.

When asked why he felt that way, Durant responded, “‘Cuz he can shoot better.”

Duh.

Well, there you have it. Case closed, right? Straight from the sn … err .. horse’s mouth.

I’m sure that’ll go over well in Oklahoma City and Houston. No chance anyone overreacts.

Kevin Durant tells Serge Ibaka why Warriors would have beaten Raptors

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

It’s always fun to hear two people talk some friendly trash to each other.

It’s even better when the people involved are Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka.

On the most recent episode of “How Hungry Are You?” from Bleacher Report, the former Oklahoma City Thunder teammates had the following back-and-forth about the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors:

Ibaka: “Do you think if you didn’t go down, you guys would beat us?”

Durant: “For sure.”

Ibaka: “Are you sure about that? Are you 100 percent, my brother? We were hot, baby … we were hot. We were like fire. Nobody could stop us.”

Durant: “I could. I was like Sub-Zero (laughing).”

Ibaka: “We may go to Game 7, but the way we were balling — had confidence.”

Durant: “Let’s put it like this — if ya’ll go into a Game 7 with the two-time champs, you’re not winning that game. You’re not. Ya’ll had to win in six, which ya’ll did. But if I was out there, ya’ll wouldn’t have beat us at home.”

Ibaka: “We almost beat you guys in five, you know that right?”

Durant: “Yeah. Game 6, ya’ll almost lost anyway. Klay [Thompson] went out, and ya’ll almost lost. So Game 6, we would have smacked ya’ll at the crib. And then Game 7 — I know for sure you could hear a pin drop in your locker room walking into that arena. Ya’ll would have been so shook.”

Ibaka: “Yeah.”

Durant: “So shook.”

Ibaka: “Yeah, you’re right about that (laughter). But we were hot, so we the champs.”

Awesome stuff.

Durant didn’t bring up the fact that he missed the first four games of the series, while Klay and Kevon Looney were sidelined for Game 3 in Oakland.

I think we all can agree that if both teams were fully healthy from the start, Golden State wins the series in six games max.

But that’s not how life works.

Durant: Knicks ‘not as cool’ with younger players

ESPN

Kevin Durant said Tuesday that the New York Knicks can’t rely on their “brand” to land the best players, many of whom don’t even remember the franchise being good.

“I think a lot of fans look at the Knicks as a brand and expect these younger players in their lifetime don’t remember the Knicks being good,” Durant said Tuesday in an in-studio interview with Hot 97 in New York. “I’ve seen the Knicks in the Finals, but kids coming up after me didn’t see that. So that whole brand of the Knicks is not as cool as let’s say the Golden State Warriors, or even the Lakers or the Nets now.

“You know what I’m saying; the cool thing now is not the Knicks.”

FULL INTERVIEW:

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant showed up to Ebro in the Morning to have a conversation on why he decided to sign with the team, if he ever considered playing for the Knicks or his hometown Washington Wizards, his time with the Golden State Warriors, whether he feels he returned too early from injury and more. He also gave us an update on his health, and whether Nets fans can expect him to get on the court. Before leaving, he named his top 5 rappers right now & who he feels deserves more of the spotlight.

The speculation during last season was that the Knicks would make a full-court press to sign Durant once he became a free agent, but he instead signed a multiyear contract with the Brooklyn Nets in free agency.

On Tuesday, Durant said he didn’t seriously consider the Knicks in free agency.

“I thought about it, yeah, just a thought. But I didn’t really do any full analysis on the Knicks,” the 2013-14 NBA MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP said.

The Nets have said they are not planning on the 10-time All-Star playing this season as he recovers from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in the NBA Finals with the Warriors.

IT’S OFFICIAL! Kevin Durant is NOT seven feet tall!

A running list of notable NBA players who grew and shrank thanks to new, official measurements

Charles Curtis | USA TODAY SPORTS

The truth is out.

NBA teams are now required to send in the heights of their players as measured by a team doctor and without the stars wearing shoes, according to the New York Times.

As predicted, that means we’re finding out some players have actually “shrunk” or “grew” — Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant is one star everyone wanted to find out the truth about, although you’re probably going to be surprised by the results. New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, another name below, actually shrank an inch, which makes sense if he was measured with sneakers at Duke and without them now.

Here’s a running list we’ll update as we see more names:

Kevin Durant

Zion Williamson

From The Athletic:

With the NBA installing new rules for teams to verify accurate player heights, as the New York Times reported last week, here is one of the most notable entries so far: No. 1 overall pick Zion Williamson measured officially at 6-foot-6, league sources said. The phenom was listed at 6-foot-7 during his freshman season at Duke.

Kemba Walker

Some people thought the new Celtic might be smaller than 6-feet. From Boston.com:

New Celtics star Kemba Walker just cracked the 6-foot mark, standing at exactly 6-feet tall. He was listed at 6-foot-1 before.

Tacko Fall

He’s not 7-foot-7! From Mass Live:

But perhaps most notable was Tacko Fall, who was listed at 7-foot-5.

Fall’s thoughts?

“7′5?” Fall said incredulously when MassLive brought the height to his attention. “I’m 7′6 without shoes.”

J.J. Barea

As a lot of fans suspected, he’s not 6-feet even.

Dwight Howard

I couldn’t tell if he was joking here, but this is from The OC Register:

It’s probably a question Dwight Howard has heard a hundred times.

How does a big man’s role change in an increasingly small league? Howard’s answer is pretty polished.

“Well I’m 6-foot-9,” he laughed. “So I’m good.”

He was previously listed at 6-foot-11.

Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving sending mixed messages on Warriors experience

Monte Poole | NBC SPORTS 

The world on Friday was given its first glimpse of the friendship between Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Both spoke during Nets Media Day in Brooklyn and well, they were spreading very different messages.

Durant took sole responsibility for his return to the court for Game 5 of the NBA Finals, during which he sustained a torn right Achilles’ tendon.

Speaking before KD, Irving basically waved off that notion and pointed fingers elsewhere.

Whether this was a coordinated plot or two friends expressing diametrically different opinions, it’s enough to suggest there will be drama among the Nets – just as it was last season when the two men were on different teams, Durant with the Warriors and Irving with the Celtics.

Addressing a mass audience for the first time since May, Durant was informed of Irving’s comments and still reiterated his previous statements related to his final weeks with the Warriors, specifically decisions made regarding his return for Game 5 of the NBA Finals against the Raptors in Toronto, when he sustained a torn right Achilles early in the second quarter.

“When I went down, it felt like everybody wanted to put their arms of protection around me, from people I didn’t know, to my best friend, Kyrie,” he said. “I feel like everybody was real protective of me around this time. And I feel like they will continue to be that way, especially involving my health.

“But I make my own decisions.”

Durant’s new teammate had gone the other way. Asked about Durant’s possible availability this season in Brooklyn – one he is expected to miss while rehabbing – Kyrie insinuated KD isn’t telling the whole truth about his time with the Warriors and his return in The Finals.

“We all know K wasn’t ready to play in that environment,” Irving said. “We all know that, whether people want to admit it or not. He was out 31 days and we put him on a national stage in The Finals to end up selling a product that came before the person, Kevin.

“And now I’m here to protect that. I’m going to be a protector of that all throughout the year and not allow anyone to infiltrate that circle. ‘Hey, K, do you. Get right. We’ll be fine.’ We have expectations for our team. We obviously know he’s an integral part. But we’ll wait for that. I’m, very patient. I’m going to be over-patient with Kevin because I don’t want anything like that to happen to anyone again, especially on that type of stage, with him having to answer questions about whether or not he’s coming back.

“I’m here to dispel that. You’ll never hear me say ‘He’s coming back here.’ ‘I think he’s coming.’ I want him to be 101 percent healthy.”

Irving, in essence, contended that KD was a commodity being exploited by larger forces and that his return was dictated by others.

How juicy. But it’s Kyrie, who has a reputation for developing his own theories that sometimes deviate from conventional wisdom and even fact. Was he blaming the NBA? The Warriors? Coach Steve Kerr and his staff? The players? The front office? Dr. Rick Celebrini, the team’s medical/training chief?

If any of these components were Irving’s target, he missed.

All updates on Durant in the wake of his initial injury, described as a right calf strain, were met with vague responses from all parties employed by the Warriors. Kerr consistently said he had no idea when, or if, KD would return. The media relations staff issued weekly updates but never once projected a timetable.

It wasn’t until the afternoon of June 10, hours before tipoff of Game 5, that it was confirmed KD would make his return.

Durant, in an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes last month, backhanded the idea of the Warriors pressuring him to return.

“Hell no,” he said. “How can you blame them? Hell no,” he said. “I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back. Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back. It was only me and Rick working out every day.

Durant said he targeted Game 5, adding that there are risks to playing basketball and nobody was responsible for the injury.

“We just need to move on from that (expletive),” he said.

Irving surely was aware of these comments but clearly has not moved on.

The world eventually will know if the comments Friday exposed a fissure in the Durant-Irving friendship. Or if Irving went off-script. Or if both men actually planned this dissonance, Kyrie embracing the role of the heavy and shielding his friend from more of the scrutiny he detests.

Steve Kerr responds to Kevin Durant’s comments about Warriors’ offense

Drew Shiller | NBC SPORTS 

A couple of weeks ago, former Warriors star Kevin Durant made headlines when he said the following about the Golden State offense:

“The motion offense we run in Golden State, it only works to a certain point,” the Brooklyn Nets forward told J.R. Moehringer of The Wall Street Journal. “We can totally rely on our system for maybe the first two rounds.

“Then the next two rounds we’re going to have to mix in individual play. We’ve got to throw teams off, because they’re smarter in that round of playoffs. 

“So now I have to dive into my bag, deep, to create stuff on my own, off the dribble, isos, pick-and-rolls, more so than let the offense create points for me.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr recently was asked about the two-time NBA Finals MVP’s comments, and his answer might surprise you.

“I wasn’t at all offended by what Kevin said because it’s basically the truth,” Kerr told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “You look at any system, I mean, I played the triangle with Michael Jordan. The offense ran a lot smoother all regular season and the first couple rounds of the playoffs than it did in the conference finals and Finals. It just did.

“That’s why guys like Michael Jordan and Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant are who they are. They can transcend any defense. But defenses in the playoffs, deep in the playoffs, combined with the physicality of the game — where refs can’t possibly call a foul every time — means that superstars have to take over.

“No system is just going to dice a Finals defense up. You have to rely on individual play. I didn’t look at (his comment) as offensive. I look at that as fact.”

If you were hoping Kerr would say something inflammatory, you definitely are disappointed right now.

Also, he’s spot on.

No drama here!

Magic Johnson on Kevin Durant: ‘I hope he finds happiness’… KD responds (then deletes) on social media

Nick Schwartz | USA TODAY SPORTS

Kevin Durant likely won’t play in the upcoming NBA season as he recovers from a ruptured Achilles, but he’s managed to remain one of the most talked about players in the league this offseason following his departure from Golden State. Durant elected to leave the Warriors after three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, and since landing in Brooklyn, Durant has been outspoken about his stops in Oklahoma City and Oakland, while also battling fans on Twitter.

In a revealing profile by WSJ. Magazine, Durant admitted that he hates the NBA at times, and reflected on his messy exit from a “toxic” Thunder organization. In the same piece, Durant made some interesting comments on how he fit in Golden State, where he believes “nobody could get a full acceptance of” him.

Stephen Curry recently responded to Durant’s comments on Steve Kerr’s offense, which Durant said “only works to a certain point.” According to Curry, the Warriors’ record is proof that the system works:

“We all wanna play iso-ball at the end of the day in some way, shape or form. But I’d rather have some championships, too.”

Earlier this week, ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith reported that Durant’s relationship with Kerr was “not good at all,” which contributed to Durant’s decision to leave. On Friday, NBA legend Magic Johnson said he hopes Durant finds happiness in his career, but isn’t sure where Durant will be content.

“I hope that he finds happiness. If you can’t find happiness at Golden State, where are you going to find it at?

First of all, give Steph Curry a lot of credit for saying ‘you know what, I’m a two-time MVP, I’m willing to take a backseat because I want to win. Give Klay Thompson a lot of credit – because you know whose game suffered the most? [It] was Klay Thompson.

…. Kevin, if you won back-to-back titles, you’re the MVP of the Finals as well. Where are you going to find happiness at?”

UPDATE: Kevin Durant responded to the segment on Twitter, but later deleted his tweet.

Steph Curry responds to Kevin Durant’s belief Warriors didn’t accept him but fires back for criticism of Warriors offense

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

Over the past three seasons, Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and the Warriors enjoyed an unprecedented run of success.

The Warriors won two NBA titles and were injuries to Durant and Klay Thompson away from three-peating. The Dubs went 16-1 in the 2017 NBA playoffs and there was no ceiling to what they could accomplish with a core of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green.

But Durant chose to take his talents to Brooklyn this summer, signing with the Nets to play alongside his friend Kyrie Irving and hopefully lead a team that truly is his.

Durant later explained his decision to the Wall Street Journal, noting he never felt accepted as a member of the Warriors. Curry, Thompson and Green all are homegrown talents and he never felt he had the same cache as those three and Andre Iguodala.

For Curry, who counts Durant as one of his good friends, that was difficult to hear.

“I mean, that’s tough,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols about Durant’s comments. “There’s so many narratives that go on, especially when you’re at the top of the league. No matter how, you know, the full transition happens to Brooklyn, him separating himself from the Warriors — that’s gonna happen. I think he knows, you know, what we were about as teammates, what we were about as friends on and off the court. And again, nobody is gonna take away the accomplishments we had. But at the end of the day, whatever he, you know, needed to do to make that decision and however he wants to explain that — that’s just what’s gonna happen.”

As for Durant’s decision to leave, Curry holds no ill will toward the two-time NBA Finals MVP.

“At the end of the day, we live in an age where choice at the forefront, and K, you know, made a decision for himself and you can’t argue that,” Curry said. “I wish we could still play with K. He’s an unbelievable talent, unbelievable person. We accomplished a lot together. But — you know, things have changed a little bit. So you obviously wish him the best, obviously with his recovery first and foremost and things on and off the court. But we’re gonna have to battle down the road. So this should be a fun, new experience on that front, too.”

Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals and likely will miss the upcoming season. Warriors owner Joe Lacob already has stated he plans to retire Durant’s No. 35 to honor the accomplishments and historic nature of the era of Warriors basketball.

Whenever KD makes his return to the Bay, he’s sure to get a rousing ovation from the fans and some love from Curry, who always accepted him as a co-star of one of the most impressive runs in NBA history.

Steph Curry fires back after Kevin Durant criticizes Warriors offense

Josh Schrock | NBC SPORTS 

Kevin Durant has sent some mixed messages about what he wants in his basketball situation.

He was the man in Oklahoma City, co-starring with Russell Westbrook in an offense heavily predicated on isolation basketball. In search of playing a more beautiful game, Durant left OKC in 2016 to join the Warriors and Steve Kerr’s ball-movement offense.

After three years and unparalleled success, Durant exited the Bay to head to Brooklyn, signing with the Nets in free agency in July. The two-time NBA Finals MVP discussed his exit from the Warriors in an interview with the Wall Street Journal, and he had some critiques of Kerr’s motion offense. Durant believes the system is limited, and there would come a time in the playoffs where he needed to “go into his bag” to get his own shot because the opposition had figured out how to slow down Kerr’s offense.

Curry, who has been almost unstoppable in the Warriors’ system, had something to say about Durant’s criticism.

“Well, I don’t care what plays we ran,” Curry told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols on “The Jump.” “We won two championships. And at the end of the day, we had a lotta talent and there was an expectation of us figuring out how to balance all that. And we talked a lot about it throughout the three-year run. It wasn’t always perfect, but I think in terms of, you know, the results and what we were able to do on the floor, that kinda speaks for itself.

“We all wanna play iso-ball at the end of the day in some way, shape or form. But I’d rather have some championships, too.”

It’s hard to argue with either point of view. Durant is one of the most talented scorers in NBA history, and was a seamless fit in Kerr’s offense. But his isolation game almost is unguardable, so it’s understandable why he would want the ball in his hands more. Really, who wouldn’t want Durant to have the ball?

But as Curry said, the Warriors’ results over the past five seasons speak to the success and potency of their ball-movement offense, one of the reasons the Warriors almost were able to win the 2019 NBA Finals even after Durant ruptured his Achilles.

Just turn on the tape, and you can see how effective the offense is, both with and without Durant.