There are no reportedly hard feelings between Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors organization after he suffered an Achilles injury in Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals on Monday night upon his return from a nine-game absence.
"There's love between both, you know, Kevin's organization, Kevin's camp and the Golden State Warriors," ESPN's Jay Williams said on Get Up! (around the 4:20 mark) on Tuesday. "There's no maliciousness there at all."
As host Mike Greenberg noted how close Williams is with Durant, Williams revealed that he watched the end of Golden State's 106-105 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Scotiabank Arena in the same room as the Warriors superstar.
Durant had been sidelined since May 8, dating back to Game 5 of the Western Conference Semifinals against the Houston Rockets. After fears of an Achilles injury were quickly dismissed at the time, he was diagnosed with a right calf strain.
No timetable for Durant's return was given in the immediate aftermath of the injury, though Williams said Durant had been targeting Game 5 or 6 of the Finals all along.
Golden State head coach Steve Kerr revealed roughly a week after the injury that it was "more serious" than initially believed. Durant later acknowledged on May 24 that it was more severe than any calf issue he had dealt with in the past:
Durant was finally able to participate in practice Sunday, and that led to his being cleared for Game 5 as the Warriors faced a 3-1 deficit.
Unfortunately for him, he was only able to log 12 minutes before he went down with a non-contact injury early in the second quarter. ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne reported that an MRI on Tuesday is expected to show a torn right Achilles tendon.
On Monday night, Golden State president Bob Myers made it clear that it was a different injury than the one that had kept Durant out for more than a month. He added that nobody was to blame, though he was willing to accept responsibility:
Myers said the two-time Finals MVP had been cleared to play in a "collaborative" decision.
Only Durant and the Warriors know the full extent of his initial injury. Now, they await the results of the MRI to find out the severity of the issue—and what the future holds.
Durant has a $31.5 million player option for 2019-20, and should he decline it, he will become an unrestricted free agent. On Tuesday morning, ESPN's Brian Windhorst appeared on First Take and said Durant is still expected to opt out of the final year of his deal. He noted the 10-time All-Star is still "in such demand."
The good news for the Warriors is that there is no bad blood in regard to his latest injury. Had there been, their chances of retaining the star would likely have taken a hit.