It took a total team effort for the Golden State Warriors to sign Kevin Durant this past offseason. Everyone in the Warriors organization from Draymond Green to Jerry West did their part to get Durant to leave Oklahoma City for Golden State. Even player development consultant Steve Nash, who works with the Warriors from time to time, chipped in to get Durant to sign.
After working out together a few summers ago, Durant and Nash now have a friendly relationship. So when Durant was contemplating leaving the Thunder for the Warriors, he called up his buddy Nash for a heart-to-heart conversation. The Warriors believe that this conversation truly helped them get Durant and according to Nash, his chat with the All-Star forward focused on how this may be his only chance to sign with Golden State.
Q: 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.
It is interesting to hear that Nash sold Durant on the Warriors not on the prospect of winning a championship but really on his evolution as a player and person. And so far Durant has embraced that challenge.
In Golden State, Durant is becoming more open with the media and has evolved as a defensive player. Durant is still scoring at will (averaging 25.8 points while shooting 53.8 percent) but he has also met the challenges of adjusting to a new role for the first time in his career and is thriving. And he's doing all of that to some degree because of Nash, who is committed to challenging Durant and helping him grow as a person in Golden State.