LOS ANGELES – On a Tuesday afternoon, Kevin Durant sits in a mansion on the highest peak of the Santa Monica Mountains in the elegant Beverly Crest neighborhood of the living room, dropping onto the sofa with his right leg up.
An 80-inch TV is mounted on the wall, but it is off. Everyone is on the phone.
Durant, one of the newest members of the Brooklyn Nets, has not spoken publicly since leaving the Golden State Warriors this summer. In fact, he has not spoken since breaking his right Achilles tendon in Game 5 of the NBA Final against the Toronto Raptors.
Star returns from a 2nd-degree calf destruction suffered in the second round of Golden State with the Houston Rockets.
"I know you did not come here for nothing," says Durant. "I will give you something."
So we came straight to it. Did the warriors mistreat the injury?
Durant slowly straightened up with a puzzled expression on his face.
"Hell, no. How can you blame [the Warriors]? Hell, no, "Durant told Yahoo Sports. "I've heard that the Warriors have pressured me to come back. Nobody said a word to me during rehab when I came back. It was only me and [director of sports medicine and performance] Rick [Celebrini] who trained every day. Right at the beginning of the series, I targeted Game 5. It just happened. It's basketball. S — happened. Nobody was responsible. It was just the game. We just have to keep going because I'm going to play again.
When he was escorted out of the Scotiabank Arena nearly two months ago, he was dizzy. He could not process what had just happened and only knew that he was being helped into the dressing room. Initially, he was greeted by the attending fans with a terrific gesture of applause and applause, before Raptors players signaled to the crowd to stop.
Durant can not remember listening to the fans that evening, but he has something to listen to them now.
"It will probably be the last time they are in the final," Durant said grinning to Yahoo Sports.
Durant tried to track the rest of Game 5 from his hotel room with his business associate Rich Kleiman, and his Nike representative Chuck Terrell, however, dealing with a whirl of emotions, turned the channel over and switched it on for a few minutes later back to cheer on his teammates.
"Yes, I still think about this night. Durant told Yahoo Sports. "Every experience I've had in the league is, of course, always anchored in my mind, but it's definitely going to be a big part of my career, because it's the biggest leg and the kind of injury I've had." But now I see it as if I was just playing basketball and getting injured. And now I'm just waiting for my return. I know it's a big deal for everyone else, but I'm just trying to get it on my chin and keep it moving.
It is this way of thinking that has led Durant to continue working to prepare for the NBA finals.
No matter what the series looked like, I wanted to play Game 5, "he said. "That's why I played at 3-1, whatever, I just wanted to play in the final, I just wanted tires, especially if I could be out there, I felt good when I came in. I trained every day. Gradually I returned to myself and did the two days, I was really fixated on my game and I tried to come back in. I really wanted to play in this series. "
<p class =" Canvas Atomic Canvas Text Mb (1.0em) Mb (0) – sm Mt (0.8em) – sm "type =" text "content =" The 2018-19 season was turbulent for the Warriors. It was widely believed that Durant left the Bay Area at the end of the year and that speculation after the incident escalated with Draymond Green in mid-November . "data-reactid =" 67 "> The 2018-19 season was turbulent for the Warriors, and it was widely believed that Durant left the Bay Area later this year, and this speculation escalated after the incident with Draymond Green in mid-November.
It's a conversation Durant is tired of and rolls his eyes when the subject pops up.
"Damn, I'm sick of talking about it – we're grown men," Durant said to Yahoo Sports. "We understand what that is, we play basketball to make a living, it's a business, everyone congratulated me when I joined the networks, everybody wished me all the best and they know I'm still So I'm playing another jersey and nothing else is going to change. "
Three consecutive endgames, two endgame MVPs and five starting games that could match those in history – w While playing in one of the league's more attractive cities, many in the organization asked why Durant wanted to go.
"Because I wanted," said Durant. "The basketball was appealing."
When a decision was made, he replied, "June 30th. I never wanted to ignore the game by focusing on the future. It was always about this day, focused on that day and what was most important that day. And throughout the season, basketball is number one. "
New York Knicks guard Allonzo Trier, who has just completed a solid rookie season, came to visit after training in the city and swapped before flopping all his handcaps from down on the couch next to Durant.
Trier and Durant have been good friends for almost a decade and attended the same high school.
The Knicks were considered Durants main destination for most of the year.
"That was crazy, that's what everyone said," Trier said.
For Durant, it was an unjustified, irresponsible chatter that took on a life of its own, and whose future largely overshadowed the team's quest for a three-door fighter The only way Durant could defuse dialogue was to shut up and concentrate on his craft.
His approach made some uneasy, with owners, management and coaches privately asking – and, in some cases, asked if Durant was present peace with the franchise. Boston, Massachusetts – May 6: Kyrie Irving # 11 of the Boston Celtics dribbles against the Milwaukee Bucks during the second quarter of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the NBA Playoffs 2019 at TD Garden on May 06, 2019 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer / Getty Images) ” class=”JsEnabled_Op(0) JsEnabled_Bg(n) Trsdu(.42s) Bgr(nr) Bgz(cv) StretchedBox W(100%) H(100%) ie-7_H(a)” itemprop=”url” style=”background-image:url(https://s.yimg.com/ny/api/res/1.2/OAjvuqnZJ0X0Hmkb.yz4xw–~A/YXBwaWQ9aGlnaGxhbmRlcjtzbT0xO3c9ODAw/https://media-mbst-pub-ue1.s3.amazonaws.com/creatr-images/2019-08/c75316d0-b959-11e9-926e-de1bf963b27d);” src=”https://s.yimg.com/g/images/spaceball.gif” data-reactid=”87″/>
Several times during the season, a team official Durant asked to revive his disposition, league sources told Yahoo Sports
. "I just went deeper into the game," said Durant Yahoo Sports. "I've worked as hard as I can and focused on being the best player I can be every day. Especially in practice, it was really fun for me to get involved. I have never felt the game and each part so deeply. Even the small parts of a drill we did in a defensive segment to hit the game winner and everything in between. I really got into it when I heard all this noise around me.
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers' Star Point Guard, reports to Durant in FaceTime.
Lillard, who appears on the microphone under the name Dame Dolla, shows the cover of his third studio album "Big Dolla", which will be released this week.
"I'm upset for you, brother," says Durant to the Oakland-born. "The s — is tight. I told you that you are a classic gangsta. "
" That's just me, "replies Lillard, as they burst out laughing.
The brief conversation revolves around Durant's health, and the Nets star says he's making progress. The call is ending. Durant is expected to miss the 2019-20 season, but he will not confirm that prediction.
"I do not know," he told Yahoo Sports. "Just like I did not know I would get hurt, I do not know, we'll see, I'm in the process early, so I'm grinding every day, I'm not even trying to think that far, that's no use to me I just try to focus on what I can control second after second, who knows, we'll see.
"But once you've learned a bit more about your body and know what that injury is It takes a lot of work to get me back to full power. "I had reached a point where my body and mind had met spiritually and physically at the right time, and I had reached a level I've never had My mind is still there, now my body just has to catch up, and once it does, I'll be okay. "
The Nets have a handsome young core, a wise head coach in Kenny Atki nson and a promising young CEO in Sean Marks, but not many predicted that the organization would eclipse the Knicks elite talent in this offseason.
"When I left the Warriors, it was always for the nets," said Durant. "They have the parts and a creative front office. I just like what they built.
The nets have to be patient before they see the duo of Durant and Kyrie Irving playing together. Irving is one of Durant's closest friends in the league, and the Nets are relying on that relationship for a positive showing on the field.
"I think the Friendship part of the league has really grown, especially since LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have been such great friends and finally played together," Durant told Yahoo Sports. "People see friendship as the way the guys band together. There is nothing wrong with people speculating. That's exactly what it is, but we're just good friends, no matter what. We did not have to play together. It was not necessary. But we were friends first of all, and we just wanted to mature together. But that was not planned. It just came together. "
In the evening Durant's physiotherapist comes in. The 7-foot striker slowly gets to the massage table for treatment.
But before he sat on the table, Durant spoke of his time in the bay
"It was a life-changing experience," he told Yahoo Sports. "I grew up as a young adult at OKC and then came to the Golden State at 30. It was a revealing experience to play the game and It was just that much of what went into this experience that made me mentally, physically, and play more fun, it was a fun time, and I appreciate everything we've achieved together. "
He has spent most of his summer in this house to improve and shape his future prospects, all he needs is here and at his disposal, but he will be next Mon at home to look for a place in New York.
Before Durant continues, he records the scene in the backyard, which has a huge, modern pool overlooking the city.
"Man, life is good," he said. "I'm going to play at a high level again, there's nothing to worry about, I just want to get better, of course I have to get well, but just keep improving my game and master every part of my game, which I do now It has always been my goal to strive for perfection in my craft, and whatever comes along with it, I'm cool, it's the dog days, just grinding every day, getting better It's a long process. "
Durant takes his last shot with a lot of work.
"All right, get out of here now," he told Yahoo Sports. "You have what you wanted."
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