Warriors GM moves on from Kevin Durant with appreciation
OAKLAND, Calif. — Bob Myers has accepted Kevin Durant’s departure for the Brooklyn Nets with an appreciation for all the superstar forward accomplished with the franchise, even if the Golden State general manager would have loved to keep KD around a little longer.
“I have a peace about it,” Myers said Monday as he discussed the Warriors’ flurry of moves in free agency.
And Myers doesn’t think he would do anything differently in an attempt to keep Durant, who told Myers he was ready for a new chapter after winning championships with the Warriors in 2017 and ’18 as NBA Finals MVP both years.
“You do the best you can,” Myers said. “I think all along, to me it was a blessing that he came, that he wanted to be a part of this. This is a guy who can move in whatever direction he wants because of his talent. He came and he delivered. In my opinion he was everything we could have asked for. He represented us on the court, he represented us off the court. He still has a great relationship with a lot of his teammates, our staff, our coaching staff, myself. He just wanted to try something new, and that’s OK. I don’t look back and say, ‘If this or that,’ I don’t feel that way.”
Myers sat down with Durant for a lengthy conversation — chatting for an hour or two about life and other matters — in New York ahead of Durant’s Instagram announcement on June 30 that he would sign with the Nets on a max contract. Durant is likely to miss a year as he recovers from surgery on a ruptured right Achilles tendon he hurt in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which the Warriors lost in six games to the Toronto Raptors.
“I talked to him until I wasn’t allowed to talk to him a few days later,” Myers said with a chuckle, recalling how regularly they had discussions during Durant’s three years in the Bay Area. “It wasn’t like slamming the door. To be honest I was kind of sad, I was, because I like him. The other thing is, I love basketball, so just to watch him play was a treat for me, just to watch him practice, to watch him work out. … I’ll miss that, I will, just as a basketball fan because guys like him don’t come along too often.
“I got to see him up close for three years of my life, and I’ll always remember that.”
Now, Golden State will go forward with a new-look roster featuring just a few of the old regulars: Stephen Curry and Draymond Green, then Klay Thompson sometime next year once he is healthy and recovered from knee surgery.
Myers hasn’t visited Thompson in Los Angeles since his July 2 surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee but plans to now that the roster is taking shape and nearly complete after the frenzy that was the start of free agency.
Gone from Golden State are 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala and key reserve Shaun Livingston, while the Warriors brought back big man Kevon Looney. The Warriors acquired shooting guards D’Angelo Russell, Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III to help take on some of the scoring load lost without Durant and Thompson and center Willie Cauley-Stein.
Even the coaching staff will adjust roles to focus more on player development, with Steve Kerr still working out those details. Defensive guru Ron Adams will not have the exact same job description going forward, Myers said.
And Myers isn’t about to make any bold predictions about how this young team will do in an even more powerful Western Conference, especially without Thompson for much of the season.
“It’s a new dawn for us, but it’s OK. We haven’t been in this position for five years,” Myers said. “It’s going to be fun. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. Because when you have young players there’s a learning curve to their growth, to their NBA experience.”