Kevin Durant said the Golden State Warriors aren’t responsible for the Achilles injury that likely will force him to sit out the 2019-20 season.
FILE PHOTO: Jun 10, 2019; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) enters the stadium before game five of the 2019 NBA Finals against the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports/File Photo
“Hell, no. How can you blame (the Warriors)? Hell, no,” Durant told Yahoo Sports in his first interview since suffering the injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals in June. Durant returned to the court for Game 5 after missing nine straight postseason games with a right calf strain.
“I heard the Warriors pressured me into getting back,” he added. “Nobody never said a word to me during rehab as I was coming back. It was only me and (trainer) Rick (Celebrini) working out every day. Right when the series started, I targeted Game 5. Hell, nah. It just happened. It’s basketball. S— happens. Nobody was responsible for it. It was just the game. “
Durant has moved on from the Warriors, signing a four-year, $164 million contract to play for the Brooklyn Nets when he returns to health. He spent three seasons with the Warriors, winning two NBA championships.
—Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, vying for a spot on the U.S. team that will play in the FIBA World Cup, will be sidelined indefinitely with calf tightness.
Smart sat out practice at Team USA’s training camp in Las Vegas and will miss the rest of the camp. He is expected to travel with the team to Los Angeles next week and have his calf re-evaluated. The World Cup begins Aug. 31 in China.
“Right now, for me, I’m trying to grow as a player … taking those precautions,” Smart said, per Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston.
—Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has a theory about why so many NBA players declined invitations to play for Team USA at the upcoming FIBA 2019 World Cup: potential embarrassment and injury.
“I think other guys looked at it like, ‘Why would I go and potentially be the face of a losing roster?’” McCollum told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on The Woj Pod. “Or the workload part. If we all play, the workload is less — 20-25 minutes, you get blowouts, you’re moving on. A lot of guys don’t play, your minutes might go up, your usage might go up, and that affects your summer as you go into March when that crash comes.”
Among the NBA stars who opted not to participate were Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love, Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and McCollum, San Antonio Spurs guard DeMar DeRozan, Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis, Houston Rockets guards James Harden and Eric Gordon, New York Knicks forward Julius Randle and Los Angeles Clippers guard Landry Shamet.
—Field Level Media