Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant will make his return to the floor against his old Golden State Warriors teammates in Tuesday night’s opener, though he said there is no extra motivation.
Durant explained “every game is important to me” during his Monday media session, per Mark Medina of USA TODAY, saying playing against his former teams has never given him reason to get more fired up:
“Playing against old teammates never ratcheted me up,” Durant said, via Medina.
The former MVP had quite a bit of success in the Bay Area. Durant captured the first and second championships of his career, winning a pair of Finals MVPs in the process.
But he also had to adjust to playing in a ball-movement system alongside fellow stars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson in addition to the fiery Draymond Green. There had been reports that Durant became increasingly unhappy with head coach Steve Kerr, and he also said he always felt separate from the other players on the roster.
However, Durant made it clear he did not sign with the Nets so they could be “his” team:
“Every team I’ve been a part of, I left my mark on each team and I stamped what I bring to the table,” Durant said, via Medina. “I never looked at it as just mine. I don’t look at the Nets as mine. It’s our team.”
While some of the focus will undoubtedly continue to focus on Durant facing his former team, most will be watching to see how KD looks in his first official contest in 18 months.
The Nets are hoping to contend in the Eastern Conference, and Durant’s ability to reassert himself as an elite-level player is vital to that objective.