OKLAHOMA CITY — The Warriors’ Steve Kerr and Stephen Curry have disputed an ESPN report that Golden State was furious about the inactivity from Thunder leadership leading up to Kevin Durant’s first return visit to Oklahoma City on Feb. 11.
Sources told ESPN’s Chris Haynes that the Warriors were of the mindset that someone from ownership or management should have addressed the media on Durant’s behalf to help ease the tension upon his return.
“I don’t agree,” Kerr said. “[Thunder general manager] Sam Presti’s a friend of mine. I know [Thunder chairman] Clay Bennett, it’s a class organization all the way. So I don’t really pay any attention to a story like that unless there’s an actual name that’s put on, so, I assume it’s just sources? Sources? So I don’t know who that is. It’s nobody with the Warriors. So, we have great respect for the Thunder. Sam’s been a friend of mine forever. They’re first class, so I don’t know where that comes from.”
In February, Warriors assistant coach Bruce Fraser told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he thought the emotion was high because “Kevin is so connected to people on an emotional level.”
“So I get that they were hurt, but why all the hate? From what I understand, he’s given a lot back to this community … It’s fair to boo him and to cheer for your team by making the environment tough. If he’s a bad guy or he came out and said he didn’t like the place, I could see hate. But KD at his core is an unbelievable human,” Fraser said.
Kerr said “emotional returns or farewells” in the NBA have become “routine” because “guys get traded, they get cut, they sign elsewhere as free agents.”
“It’s kind of what makes the whole thing work, it’s the connection from the fans, the emotional connection. So that will lead to some tears, some cheers, some boos. A little bit of everything. It’s all just part of the game.”
Curry also dismissed the report.
“This league is a very interesting place all the way through. Certain stories that don’t need to see the light of day, don’t need to have any kind of life breathed into them, are somehow the most popular. It’s kind of how it goes,” he said. “To me it’s kind of comical. Just what can be put on a spotlight during an 82-game year, and at the end of the day we’re all just trying to win games and enjoy what we do for a living, and that’s it.”
Curry said he wasn’t surprised by the story.
“I actually look forward to waking up and seeing what ridiculousness is posted,” he said.