- The NBA world raised its collective eyebrows at public comments made during the Golden State Warriors’ championship parade on Tuesday about Kevin Durant’s next contract.
- The team’s general manager, Bob Myers, joked that, unlike Stephen Curry, Durant hadn’t earned any contract he wants because he wasn’t with the Warriors from the start.
- The comments shed light on the evolving nature of the Warriors’ relationship with Durant.
Kevin Durant has repeatedly said he would re-sign with the Golden State Warriors this summer. However, the process has grown increasingly awkward, thanks to the Warriors themselves.
During the Warriors’ championship parade on Tuesday, several public comments were made about Durant’s next contract, perhaps none as awkward as those from the team’s general manager, Bob Myers.
During a pre-parade Q&A, Bob Fitzgerald of NBC Sports Bay Area asked Myers about his saying Durant could have any contract he wants. Durant took less than the max last offseason to help the Warriors re-sign Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.
“That was just for the media,” Myers said jokingly. “He can’t have anything that he wants.”
Fitzgerald then noted that Myers once said Stephen Curry could have any contract he wants. (Curry was underpaid for several years before signing a five-year, $201 million contract last summer.)
“That was different,” Myers said. “He’s been here since the way-before days … He’s earned it.”
Fitzgerald said, “And there ended the Warriors’ cohesion right there,” amid awkward laughter.
The first notable quote of the parade: Bob Myers with an unexpected zing at at Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/asE6MpsgN5
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) June 12, 2018
When Fitzgerald interviewed the Warriors stars, he said he would stand in front of Durant, adding, “Before his Warriors exit, I want to enjoy as much time with him as possible.”
Durant simply shook his head. He later reiterated his contract stance, saying: “Why was that even a discussion? Why we even talking about that? For sure, we going to do this thing again.”
The head shakes! pic.twitter.com/LJX9wz3xma
— Reggie Comma Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) June 12, 2018
All these comments, of course, were jokes – one of which didn’t even come from a member of the Warriors.
Nonetheless, the NBA world was confused as to why Durant’s contract was being discussed publicly. As The Athletic’s Tim Kawakami noted, Myers may have felt awkward talking about the matter and the “he can have anything he wants” line in front of other players, many of whom can’t have anything they want. But his joke seemed to make things worse.
Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post described how people all around the NBA raised their eyebrows at the comments.
As usual, Tim has the pulse of things. Still: can’t reiterate how bizarre this was. People across the league reached out about it. Just an exceedingly strange way to handle this. Yes, these q&a sessions are public, and things happen, but … yikes. https://t.co/QGENqJLoW4
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) June 13, 2018
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson joked about Fitzgerald’s comments ending the Warriors’ run.
“An oral history of how Fitz ended the Warriors’ dynast.” ???????????? https://t.co/ziCXjxRBj4
— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) June 12, 2018
At the root of the issue is Durant’s standing with the team relative to Curry’s. There’s a sense that no matter how good Durant is or how many accolades he picks up as a member of the Warriors, it’s still Curry’s team. While Curry and Durant haven’t had any issues with each other, there’s still a balancing act involved in managing both stars.
According to Kawakami, the Warriors and Durant are still learning each other – Durant is a different personality to manage, as opposed to the Warriors’ other stars. Coach Steve Kerr told ESPN’s Zach Lowe that he met with Durant during the season just because he sensed Durant was “drifting.”
The Warriors can and will pay Durant what he wants. The Athletic’s Warriors writers discussed on a recent podcast how Durant’s short-term deals with the Warriors had kept the team a little bit on edge. There’s no certainty about what lies ahead in the relationship.
The comments on Tuesday didn’t change the team’s future as much as they shed light on how the relationship is still, in some regard, in the feeling-out process.