OAKLAND — Nine days into Kevin Durant’s run of silence, Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr came to the defense of the two-time NBA Finals MVP.
Before Wednesday night’s game against the visiting San Antonio Spurs, Kerr addressed Durant’s hiatus from contact with the media, reminding people of the intense microscope he and his players are under.
“We all have things that go on in our life that sometimes you just want to curl up and most of us are allowed to do that. But not in the NBA,” Kerr said. “Kevin has been unbelievable with the media since he’s been here. He’s always accountable and here. So he just doesn’t feel like talking right now.”
In the curious case of Durant, the choice to avoid interviews and other interactions with local and national media comes nine days after the New York Knicks traded their budding star Kristaps Porzingis to the Dallas Mavericks.
The move, as many have speculated, looks to be a step towards clearing room for superstar talent acquisitions for New York. This season, Durant, along with Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving, have been reported to be considering the Knicks this offseason as free agents.
Over the last three offseasons, Durant has opted to sign single-year deals, avoiding long term commitment to the Warriors. This fact surfaced in November during an on-court (and then locker room) altercation with Warriors power forward Draymond Green against the Los Angeles Clippers.
As the Warriors moved past the spat relatively quickly, Kerr say the team — including Durant — isn’t focused on the decisions the eight-time all star and the Golden State front office will be facing in July.
“We’re functioning as a team and doing our thing; we’re playing. He’s coming into meetings and he’s working at practice,” Kerr said. “Just give him some space and he’ll be back, I’m sure. Right now, it’s just not a great time for you to get any quotes from him, that’s for sure.”
During his pregame press conference, Kerr also touched on DeMarcus Cousins and the progress he’s made in the two-and-a-half weeks the former New Orleans Pelican has been back on the floor.
Since making first appearance of the season on Jan. 18 against the Los Angeles Clippers after suffering a torn Achilles tendon on Jan. 26, 2017, Cousins has averaged 14.4 points, four assists and 7.3 rebounds per game. He’s also doing this while only playing 22.2 minutes per night.
According to Kerr, while Cousins’ conditioning looks to be getting back to normal, the minutes restriction of roughly 25 per game won’t be ramping up any time soon.
“We’ll try to keep it around the same probably all the way through the All-Star break,” Kerr said. “He’s played the equivalent of a training camp and some exhibition games so he’s still getting into his game condition.”
Kerr said that along with Cousins, he expects all of his players to play on Wednesday night despite Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s decision to rest center LaMarcus Aldridge and forward DeMar DeRozan.
“Everybody is playing,” Kerr said. “No loads will be managed on our part tonight.”