The Warriors held their introductory press conference for Kevin Durant Thursday afternoon. You can check out the full video below:
It was a fascinating presser filled with insights.
Durant "went back and forth" between the Thunder and Warriors for two or three days before finally making his decision Monday at 7 a.m. He said he wanted to sleep on it. Durant's official decision was posted on The Players' Tribune around 11:30 a.m.
Since then, Durant has been bombarded by naysayers who claim he's taking a "shortcut" to a championship by joining the already loaded Warriors. The 2014 MVP responded to his haters.
"There's no shortcuts. There's still 82 games to play," Durant said. "I know there's going to be ups and downs throughout the season."
Durant was asked how he would respond to the people who have vilified him.
"I can't control that," he said. "I knew that was a part of this deal. That's just the life we live." He kept saying all he can do is show up to work every day and do his best.
Durant was clearly pained over leaving Oklahoma City, too.
"It was tough," Durant said. "I was there for so long ... that love doesn't fade and those memories don't fade. It's always going to be a part of who I am."
He also said he has spoken to Russell Westbrook since announcing his decision, and their relationship is fine.
"I'm sure he wasn't happy about the decision, but he respected it as a friend," Durant said. "The relationship was great ... but like I said, I wanted a new chapter in my life."
Durant was joined onstage by Warriors head coach Steve Kerr and general manager Bob Myers.
Myers said he still couldn't believe he was sitting next to Durant. When Durant's agent called Myers and said Durant was open to signing with the Warriors, Myers immediately flew out to meet them. Over the next couple days, he said he really got to know Durant and his inner circle, and Durant exceeded his expectations.
Durant also met with the Warriors' key contingent of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andre Iguodala. Durant said he "wanted to see those guys face to face" to really see if they would all mesh together.
A conversation with the back-to-back MVP was a big factor in his decision.
"I wanted to look Steph in the eyes and see how he felt about a guy like me joining his team," Durant said.
Curry texted him right before he went onstage for the press conference. Durant said Curry doesn't care about individual achievements; he just wants to win.
"He's a point guard," Durant said. "It's not like I play the same position as him ... I think we compliment each other because we both can play off the basketball, we both can shoot, we both can make plays."
The prevailing theme throughout the press conference was that the Warriors' chemistry hooked Durant, who repeatedly used words like "authentic" and "real" to describe the relationships between Golden State players.
"I just felt like I had to be a part of it," he said.
Durant also poked fun at Thompson.
Kevin Durant talks about Klay Thompson's involvement on his decision pic.twitter.com/v6cBcZJsgW— The Cauldron (ICYMI) (@CauldronICYMI) July 7, 2016
Durant said he tried not to worry about the opinions of outsiders and make the best decision for himself.
"I've got a short amount of time left to play basketball," he said.
Kerr said he thinks adding KD is a perfect fit for the Warriors on both ends of the floor. Durant said playing with Thompson and Draymond Green on the USA Basketball team this summer will be big for developing relationships.
Durant admitted he was a little nervous for the press conference. His father, brother, agent, business manager, and security manager were all in attendance.
already getting buckets 💪🏽— GoldenStateWarriors (@warriors) July 7, 2016
👻 warriors pic.twitter.com/TemkhmSc2T
Before the presser, the Warriors' media team posted an interview they conducted with him on his ride from the airport to Golden State headquarters.
Durant mentioned his time with Curry and Iguodala - who he says was huge in his decision - at the 2010 World Championships, and how he played for the Warriors' coaching staff at this year's All-Star Weekend.
"They just mesh so well together," Durant said. "It just seemed effortless. It was kind of organic, and I felt that ... it just seems like a perfect fit, personality-wise."
He said moving across the country will be a big change, but "I'm excited about something new."
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