Steve Kerr Says Kevin Durant 'Sort of Faded From' Warriors Before Exit to Nets

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2020

Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant, left, helps escort coach Steve Kerr after Kerr was ejected during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Portland Trail Blazers in Portland, Ore., Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. The Blazers won 129-107. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)
Steve Dykes/Associated Press

Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said he could tell there was a chance Kevin Durant would leave the team in free agency following the 2018-19 season.

Kerr said the 10-time All-Star "sort of faded from the group by the end of the year" during an appearance on the Posted Up Pod with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports:

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

New Posted Up Pod: Warriors coach @SteveKerr on state of team, when Steph-Klay might return, vibe from KD last year, father’s assassination, untold heartfelt gesture by the Kerr family & why he’ll never shut up & coach. 🎧: https://t.co/Z5RBJzdEx4 🎥: https://t.co/VWGJ1Ho92X https://t.co/ev3UaEnCbC

Kerr also revealed he didn't discuss free agency with Durant because he didn't feel it was his place as the head coach during the season. "I totally respected Kevin's right to make a new path for himself in life," he added.

Durant's three seasons with the Warriors were resounding successes, as Golden State advanced to the NBA Finals all three years.

It won the championship in 2017 and 2018 as Durant took home the NBA Finals MVP both times, and Golden State perhaps could have defeated the Toronto Raptors last season if he didn't suffer a ruptured Achilles in the same series Klay Thompson tore his ACL.

Yet, it is notable Kerr said he "faded," seeing how he was the marquee free-agent addition to a core that featured Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green in July 2016.

The Warriors drafted all three of those players, and they won the 2015 championship and reached the 2016 NBA Finals without Durant. While he made the team into a destructive force that ruled over the league for three years, it was already successful before he arrived.

There was also Durant's public altercation with Green on the court during a game last season, and the Brooklyn Nets forward went as far as to say it impacted his decision to leave the Warriors.

Durant moved to the Nets this past offseason, but he will likely miss the entire season because of his Achilles injury.