Throughout the whole 2018-19 season, there were rumblings that Kevin Durant was going to leave the Warriors in free agency.
That's exactly what ended up happening.
Golden State coach Steve Kerr recently was a guest on "The Full 48" podcast and had the following exchange with Bleacher Report's Howard Beck:
Beck: "On a scale of 1 to 10, what was your surprise level when you heard he decided to go, that he was leaving?"
Kerr: "One. Not surprised."
Beck: "We all heard all of the whispers, it was much louder than whispers ... everybody in the league was very certain he was going to New York. If nothing else, the one thing that everybody was absolutely positive about -- that nobody had any doubt about -- was that he was leaving. Did you guys feel that the whole season? When did you first to start to think this is probably it?"
Kerr: "I don't know. It just felt like it. I didn't give it a whole lot of thought. This past year felt different. We kind of lost some momentum internally. It wasn't anything tangible. People point to the Draymond-Kevin incident (in Los Angeles on Nov. 12). I honestly don't think that was that big of a deal, as crazy as that sounds.
"For whatever reason, it just kind of ran its course. I don't know why. I do think we're in a different era where players are more interested by new challenges ... players see that there's a huge expanse out there; there's this horizon with so many different opportunities. And so you're just gonna have fewer teams that stick together for a long period of time.
"And that's just kind of how it felt this year for us. This thing has a finite ending point and this is probably it."
This seemingly played a role, too:
Kevin Durant to the @WSJ on the Warriors: "I came in there wanting to be part of a group, wanting to be part of a family, and definitely felt accepted. But I'll never be one of those guys...I started to realize I'm just different from the rest of the guys. It's not a bad thing."— Drew Shiller (@DrewShiller) September 10, 2019
Is there anything that could have kept Durant in a Warriors uniform?
"Probably not," Kerr answered. "Like I said, this thing was running its course and we kind of felt like he was moving on."