OAKLAND, Calif. — Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant went off on the media’s coverage of his pending free-agency decision this summer following a 141-102 win over the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night.
Durant hadn’t spoken to beat writers since before the New York Knicks traded away Kristaps Porzingis last week, thus clearing out the cap space to chase him and another free agent this summer. He sounded angry and frustrated Wednesday about recent stories speculating that a decision about his future had already been made and that he would be headed to the Knicks after the season.
“I have nothing to do with the Knicks,” Durant said. “I don’t know who traded Porzingis. They got nothing to do with me. I’m trying to play basketball. Y’all come in here every day, ask me about free agency, ask my teammates, my coaches. You rile up the fans about it. Let us play basketball. That’s all I’m saying. And now when I don’t wanna talk to y’all, it’s a problem with me.
“Come on, man. Grow up. Grow up. Yeah, you — grow up. Come on, bro. I come here and go to work every day. I don’t cause no problems. I play the right way, or I try to play the right way. I try to be the best player I can be every possession. What’s the problem? What am I doing to y’all?”
Durant was particularly angered by a column in which The Athletic’s Ethan Strauss noted that many around the league believe Durant is heading to the Knicks. Durant called out Strauss by name before adding how he doesn’t trust the media.
“It’s unnecessary,” Durant said of all the noise surrounding his decisions. “You got a dude, Ethan Strauss, who comes in here and just gives his whole opinion on stuff and makes it seem like it’s coming from me. And he just walks around here, don’t talk to nobody, just walk in here and survey and write something like that, and now you gotta pile on me because I don’t wanna talk to y’all about that.”
While Durant hadn’t spoken to beat writers since before a win over the Indiana Pacers on Jan. 28, he had done a handful of interviews with other outlets before Wednesday night, including sitting down for a story on the Warriors that will air on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” The narrative of him not speaking to the media gained steam when the normally approachable Durant hadn’t spoken to the assembled media since the Knicks deal went down and speculation surrounding his future intensified.
“I just don’t trust none of y’all,” Durant said. “Every time I say something it’s getting twisted up and thrown out and in so any different publications, trying to tear me down with my words that I say. So when I don’t say nothing, it’s a problem. I just wanna play ball. I wanna go to the gym and go home. That’s all. Is that a problem? All right then.”
When asked by a Warriors PR official whether there were any questions related to the game, Durant rebuffed a question regarding how the Warriors have been playing.
“All right. I’m done.” Durant said. “You know you don’t care about that.”
Durant’s postgame news conference lasted just over 3½ minutes before the abrupt ending. Initially, Durant asked reporters why they cared that he hadn’t spoken, but then acknowledged that he just didn’t want to talk over the past few days.
“I didn’t feel like talking the last couple days,” Durant said. “I just ain’t feel like it.”
Did it have anything to do with free agency?
“That’s the conversation you gonna have,” Durant said. “I don’t think about that type of stuff. That’s your job.”
As hard as Durant and the Warriors have tried to push the speculation away, the reality is that his free-agency decision has hovered over everything the group has done this season. Durant told ESPN before the regular season that he planned to be transparent about the process, but he has shied away from most questions surrounding his future, especially after an emotional blowup between himself and Draymond Green during a loss to the LA Clippers in November, an argument that centered at least in part on his future with the team.
Teammates and coaches have understood all along that the decision and speculation have weighed on him, but he hadn’t allowed those feelings to come out this publicly until Wednesday.
“Honestly, I think it’s more him not being able to control his own voice in terms of, obviously he’s talked about it from time to time throughout the year, he’s focusing on basketball,” Warriors guard Stephen Curry said. “And that’s what he should do. We want to see that K every day. So what he can’t control is B.S. that happens in the media or people making a decision for him or all this other stuff. So in terms of him just playing basketball, focusing on what happens out there on the 94 feet, being there for us as his teammates and us being there for him. That’s what he can control, and I think he’s doing a great job of that. So all the other stuff, I wouldn’t call it a distraction, it’s just more so from his standpoint frustrating. Again, the way that he plays basketball and the way he is a teammate, that’s all we’re worried about, and I think he’s doing a great job of that.”
What also seemed to have triggered Durant’s emotions recently was a column written by Bay Area News Group’s Dieter Kurtenbach, in which Durant’s future with the Knicks was discussed. Durant, who is active on social media, spent Sunday liking many tweets that opposed the article.
“Why do I gotta talk to you?” Durant said at one point. “Tell me. Is that gonna help me do my job better? Nah. I didn’t feel like talking.”