Kevin Durant might be on the courtroom this week, however not the way in which he deliberate or anticipated to be. With the NBA Finals tipping off, he’ll be in training camp with Team USA.
Almost instantly after his Nets misplaced Game 7 of their second-round sequence to the Bucks, Durant dedicated to play within the Tokyo Olympics. He didn’t need to hear all of the congratulations about his bounce-back from Achilles surgical procedure, or his brilliant playoff performance. To him, that was anticipated. Actually, he anticipated extra.
“I’m getting so many congratulations now: I didn’t do anything. We lost,” Durant stated on the “Boardroom: Out of Office” podcast. “I knew I could play, I knew I was nice. I’ve scored 48 before. I had big games before, I made big shots before. So it didn’t feel like anything special to me, because we lost.”
If there was something encouraging that Durant took out of his first yr truly taking part in for the Nets, it wasn’t reaching the Eastern Conference semifinals once they clearly had taken intention at the NBA Finals. And it wasn’t averaging 26.9 factors recent off an 18-month layoff following his ruptured Achilles.
No, it was altering the tradition across the Nets. Better native rankings within the common season, mammoth rankings within the postseason, celebrities within the Barclays Center stands and a rising fan base that may nearly style a title? That, he takes pleasure in.
“Just the camaraderie we built with the fans. The culture we kind of built around Barclays and just Nets culture in general,” Durant stated. “People type of look at the Nets now and like, ‘All right, they can be contenders next year.’ I like that a part of it. I used to be enthusiastic about that going ahead.
“I was excited about that even in the regular season. It felt pretty solid to start to build a culture. I feel like a lot Nets fans feel like, ‘Yo, we got a chance.’ To make some noise next year.”
The noise Durant is speaking about is staying wholesome and really finishing the unfinished enterprise of attending to the NBA Finals and profitable a title. But one of many extra gratifying issues for Durant was the very fact his Nets at least made some noise, each within the NBA and within the New York sporting panorama.
It was Durant’s recruitment of James Harden that made the Nets’ lopsided cope with Houston even potential. And Durant watched his plan — at least partially — come to fruition, infusing a once-invisible Nets workforce with much-needed juice and cachet.
“It was fun, man,” Durant stated. “Especially with the Knicks taking part in and us taking part in. We obtained two groups within the playoffs. Knicks [and] Nets followers obtained slightly beef proper now as a result of each groups are strong. We obtained the MSG-Barclays beef within the metropolis.
“It just felt like a lot of energy, man. You look in our stands, you see superstars there. Beyoncé, Jay-Z, H.E.R., Bryan Cranston … Travis Scott. You see that energy floating around our building for games like that now. What’s next year going to look like? People got that picture in their minds. It’s cool to be a part of that s–t, to help build that s–t.”
The Nets’ Game 7 towards the Bucks — with the type of glitterati normally reserved for the Garden — averaged 6.91 million viewers on TNT. It was not solely the most-watched program of the week on any community, but in addition it was the league’s eighth-best early spherical playoff draw since 2012 — and the third-largest on cable.
Granted, it didn’t finish the way in which Durant had deliberate, along with his last-ditch miss in additional time primarily ending the Nets’ season. Within a day he dedicated to Team USA, which begins coaching camp Tuesday, and the Olympics.
“Being in Tokyo, I’ve never been there before. Playing with [Jayson] Tatum and Book [Devin Booker] and Dame [Lillard] … Bam [Adebayo],” Durant stated. “I by no means performed with these dudes, so I’m trying ahead to that.
“I just like playing for Team USA. I just love the hospitality they show us. Just the whole experience is fun. Just being around the guys for a month is cool.”
The gold medal sport is Aug. 6, with the closing ceremonies two days later.
Knowing Durant, it received’t take lengthy for his thoughts to show to his paying gig, and the 2021-22 season he’s already trying ahead to.