Kevin Durant detailed why he chose to sign with the Nets on Friday during the team's Media Day.
"We know basketball pretty well, and it's really easy to see what these guys brought to the table," Durant said. "It's not like I had to do any deep analysis of any player here. Just watching games and playing against them and seeing the continuity throughout the last couple of years, it was pretty easy to figure out what kind of team and what kind of organization this place is."
Durant made his decision before he even spoke to the Nets, and it was a decision he said was easy to reach. Irving, Durant and DeAndre Jordan all said on Friday that they talked about the possibility of signing together with Brooklyn in a conversation over the phone - or FaceTime - at 4:16 AM EST on the morning of July 30, the first day of free agency.
"We were like, 'Are you ready to do it?' And everybody was like, 'Yeah,'" Durant said. "I could try to think of something deeper, but it really wasn't."
Jordan said the trio had talked casually about playing together for a few years prior to free agency.
"We always had talked about it. But it didn't really get finalized until like early (that) morning," he said.
Durant, Jordan and Irving all talked on Friday about Brooklyn giving them the best opportunity to play together and compete for a title.
"It's very rare that you get to this point and have a decision in front of us where we can control our destinies," Durant said of he and Irving (though he probably would have included Jordan if he was answering a question that included the center). "We sat down and talked about it and what basketball meant to us as a whole, and I think this is the perfect spot for us to hone our skills and keep going. It was one of those things that just kind of happened organically. We kind of knew."
The Knicks, Warriors, Clippers and Nets all had serious interest in signing Durant. People around the Knicks felt that they still had a chance to land Durant in the days leading up to free agency. When asked how seriously he considered signing with the Knicks, Clippers or Warriors before deciding on the Nets, Durant said, "I thought about it for a couple seconds to see how my life would look in all of those places for a minute. But ultimately, I wanted to be here."
After missing out on Durant - and Irving - the Knicks pivoted to sign several players on short-term deals and inked Julius Randle to a three-year contract.
They will be rebuilding as Brooklyn tries to reach higher aspirations with Irving and Durant, when he returns to the court.
Durant referenced Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson as one reason he decided to sign in Brooklyn.
"I was doing a lot of YouTube research on Kenny Atkinson and watching interviews seeing how he talked after the game. I really liked his approach to his craft as a coach. That drew me in pretty quickly. I didn't really do too much research on other coaches," Durant said. "…. But once I started getting comfortable (with) how he coaches his craft, it started to make me feel at ease even though I never had a conversation with him. I could just see it through You Tube and clips that he was pretty genuine about the game. Obviously, I talked with Kyrie and then watching the team and knowing Caris (LeVert) and all that stuff kind of combined at once.
"Obviously, being from the East Coast, it was something I was really excited about. I've played most of my basketball in the Midwest or the West Coast, so I was excited about playing just a few hours from home (in Prince George's County, Maryland)," Durant added. "All that stuff played a factor when I thought about it all, but basketball was probably the main thing."
Durant discussed a few other topics on Media Day:
On his relationship with Caris LeVert: I met him through Adam Harrington. I worked with Adam in a critical part of my career (with the Thunder) when I was transitioning to a different player. So we built a relationship, and when he got this job, he wanted me to get in the gym with a few of his players, such as Caris and Sean Kilpatrick at the time. We were just hanging out at the crib every day and going to the gym, which was cool. That turned into a relationship. We text, and when we came to (the same) city, we hung out. Everything kind of worked out, and to see his career and see how good a player he's become, I always figured he would get to this point."
On his role with the club while he rehabs: "I'll do what I usually do - come in and work hard on my rehab and, hopefully, that sends a great message. If anybody has a question on anything in practice or in the games, I know the game pretty well, so I can answer those questions as honestly as I can. I'll try to approach it like an everyday man, try to take it a game at a time. When I'm not playing, I'm just going to be myself."
On if he left Golden State because he felt he did all he could while he was there: "No, I didn't look at it that way. Every day is a challenge to stay at this level that I'm at. So, I'm not going to look at me switching teams as a new challenge. Every day I wake up I've got to fight against that standard I set for myself. I felt like it was time for a change, and I wanted to play for a new team. Simply put, I just did it. I didn't really think about what I was leaving behind or what they accomplished. I put that up on the shelf already. When it was time to make a decision about my future, it was solely about me."