While there was rampant speculation regarding what Kevin Durant would do leading all the way up to the start of free agency last July, Durant himself knew that he would be walking away from the Golden State Warriors well before then. On a recent episode of Showtime's 'All the Smoke' podcast with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, Durant revealed that he decided to leave the Warriors midway through the 2018-19 season.
"I knew just about the halfway point through the year," Durant said. "I could feel, you know, the separation between the two. Everybody was just waiting on me to make a decision on free agency -- coaches, to my teammates, to the media -- it's like January and I'm like, 'Yo, I'm just trying to hoop.'
"That's all I want to do is play basketball every day. I came in every single day and kept my head down. I ain't say much, I wasn't too excited about much, so my coaches and teammates thought something was wrong with me. But I was really focused on the end goal, which was to win the third championship in a row... My methods [might] not be welcoming to other people, but it's just how I do things -- how I approach the game."
Once he decided that he would be leaving the Warriors, Durant then had to figure out where his next NBA home would be. The two-time Finals MVP admitted that he considered the Clippers, and did his due diligence on the Knicks, but ultimately Brooklyn was the place that he wanted to be.
"I looked at the Clippers. I took a peek at the Knicks through my due diligence but I really wanted to play for the black and white," Durant said. "I liked the brand. Brooklyn was an up-and-coming city that needed some new flair. new basketball injection. Because being in Oklahoma City, I knew what that was like, having a new franchise around. I was excited about hopefully doing something like that again in Brooklyn with a new team."
The fact that Durant decided to leave Golden State well before the season even ended likely won't sit well with Warriors fans. However, it's worth pointing out that it didn't stop Durant from laying it all on the line for the Warriors in the postseason, as he came back from a calf injury to play in the Finals and ultimately ruptured his Achilles trying to deliver a third straight title to the Bay Area.