It sounds like Stephen Curry would’ve welcomed Kevin Durant back to the Warriors with open arms.
Following a whirlwind of a season that ended with the Nets being swept in the first round of the playoffs, news broke of Durant’s trade request that dominated headlines all summer long. While Durant and the Nets eventually agreed to “move forward” with their partnership, there was no shortage of teams that expressed interest in the 12-time All-Star.
One of those teams was the Warriors, who Durant spent three seasons of his career with, winning two championships and two Finals MVP awards. In an interview with Matt Sullivan of Rolling Stone, Curry made it clear how he would’ve felt reuniting with Durant.
“There was a conversation internally about ‘If he was available, would you?’ I was never hesitant,” Curry said. “Every team has those conversations, and obviously, they’re gonna call me and ask, ‘How do you feel about it?’
“The idea of playing with KD and knowing who he is as a person, from our history in those three years, I think KD’s a really good dude. I think he has had certain things happen in his life that hurt his ability to trust people around him, in a sense of making him feel safe at all times. So all of those things, I understand, having played with him and gotten to know him. I love that dude.
“And if you said, ‘Oh, KD’s coming back, and we’re gonna play with him,’ I had so much fun playing with him those three years, I’d be like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ Then you have to think: What does that actually mean? What does it look like? You tell me I’m playing with [current Warriors teammates Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Draymond Green], I’m like, ‘Hell, yeah!’ There’s all types of emotion and things that happen to the league. And if anybody’s saying that you wouldn’t entertain that conversation — no disrespect to anybody on our team — you don’t know how things work. But you also understand, like, if we run this thing back, I’ve got complete confidence in my team that we can win it again, as constructed.”
Durant’s short time in Golden State was a roaring success. The Warriors went back-to-back in his first two seasons and then came up short to the Raptors in the 2019 NBA Finals, a series that saw both Durant and Klay Thompson suffer injuries that sidelined them the entire following season.
After three seasons with the Warriors, Durant decided to sign with the Nets in free agency.
Why didn’t the Warriors trade for Kevin Durant?
A few days after news broke of Durant’s trade request, The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II reported that a reunion with the Warriors was “highly unlikely.”
While Golden State could’ve put together a better package than most teams, Thompson wrote “nothing about the last three years suggests the Warriors would be willing to pay the price for a KD return.”
The Nets were said to be looking for multiple first-round picks, multiple pick swaps and a player on a rookie-scale contract with All-NBA potential in return for Durant. For the Warriors, a trade would’ve likely started with Andrew Wiggins to match Durant’s salary and included some combination of James Wiseman, Jordan Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, plus draft picks.
Basically, acquiring Durant would’ve required the Warriors to give up a lot of what they’ve been patiently building. The Warriors are set up well to compete both now and in the future, so it’s understandable that they decided to stand pat, incredible as Durant still is.