SAN DIEGO – One week after Draymond Green’s strident defense of Kevin Durant’s decision to join the Warriors, coach Steve Kerr stepped up to protect his newest superstar.
Durant has taken considerable flack for his choice as a free agent to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder and sign with the Warriors. There are those who question his willingness to compete. There are those who question his loyalty.
Perhaps most aggravating to Durant and his new teammates, there are those, such as TNT analyst Charles Barkley, who surmise any pro-Warriors comments by Durant as simultaneously being anti-Thunder.
“Even Charles blasted Kevin for saying negative stuff about Russell (Westbrook),” Kerr said Wednesday, after the team’s shootaround at UC-San Diego. “Find me one quote about Kevin saying anything about Oklahoma City. He’s said nothing but good things.
“But the way people perceive certain comments, and then shift them according to whatever the story might be. We all have to be careful about that.”
Kerr acknowledged the Warriors have to be more careful than ever with the media, which expanded after their 2015 championship and has expanded even further with the July acquisition of Durant.
“We’ve talked about it already,” Kerr said, citing the New York Times’ decision to have their West Coast sports reporter follow the Warriors. “We’ve got a cast of thousands covering our team. That goes with the territory.
“It’s always a little bit of a delicate balance because there’s just a lot of . . . KD has found this out. You ask him, ‘How do you like your new teammates?’ ‘They’re great. They’re really unselfish.’ And suddenly that becomes a story in Oklahoma City. He didn’t say anything about them. He’s commenting about his team.
“So no matter what any of us say, it’s going to be scrutinized, twisted and turned . . . our players are for sure going to have our guard up.”