The small forward has received a mix of acclaim and criticism for his choice to join the star-studded Warriors, the team that knocked him out of the playoffs just weeks before he decided to sign a two-year, $56.4 million contract.
Warriors consultant and two-time MVP Steve Nash was a big part of Durant’s decision to join Golden State this offseason as the point guard whiz himself described in an interview with Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.
-Kawakami: “So Durant calls you just as he’s making the decision this summer. What was that conversation like?”
-Nash: “I think Kevin was ready to make a move for himself as a person. I sensed that in him.
“OK, so there were two things going on here. One, there’s a basketball move that had at least two sides-what a great move for him and everybody can see that or people who despise him for making this move.
“The reality is that he made a decision within the rules as a basketball player, to the team that he chose, and it was fair.
“The other side of it-he’s at a stage of his life where he wanted to challenge himself as a man and put himself in an environment where he felt there was room for a different kind of growth in a way, maybe an uncomfortable different step.
“I think from the outside, people look at it and go, he went to the best team available.
“But that’s the same thing LeBron did as a free agent the last two times, he went to Miami and Cleveland to join two max players. When he was doing that, there didn’t happen to be team with three all-stars or maybe he would’ve gone to that one.
“Look, it would’ve been easier for him, no one would’ve been upset if he went back to OKC; but I think he has a chance here to grow as a man and put himself in a new environment where he’d be challenged in different ways.
“For me, I thought it’d be a great move for him basketball-wise. I thought that he would fit in great.
“And one thing I told him, if he doesn’t make a move like this, there’s nothing stopping a free agent next year from (joining the Warriors in this spot). (If he doesn’t sign with the Warriors), he loses an opportunity where he’s in complete control and has his own choice and he took advantage of it.
“What I really started to realize as I talked through the process with him, it seemed like he wanted to take the next step as a man.
“It was less about winning a championship than being challenged in new ways and gain as much as he could from that new experience.”
Durant’s decision has seemed to pay off so far as the Warriors sit atop the league with a 31-5 record. The Washington D.C. native is also averaging 25.8 points per game, while boasting career-highs in field goal percentage (53.8 percent), rebounds (8.6), blocks (1.6), and a career-low 2.3 turnovers per game, maximizing his efficiency on the floor.