Nets' Kevin Durant 'Probably Wouldn't Have Played' in NBA Restart If Healthy

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2020

FILE- In this March 10, 2020, file photo, Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant watches during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles. Durant is among the four Brooklyn Nets who have tested positive for the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, file)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

Brooklyn Nets superstar forward Kevin Durant officially ruled himself out of the NBA's restart in Orlando earlier in June as he recovers from a torn Achilles. 

But even if he was fully healthy, he doubts he would have played given the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent uptick in positive cases in Florida. 

"I feel, me right now, I probably wouldn't have played because the unknown going into that situation looks crazy right now, seeing so many new cases," Durant said on the Dawg Talk podcast with former Georgetown basketball players Austin Freeman and Chris Wright (h/t Josh Weinstein of The Score). "It's just so unpredictable. It's easy for me to say right now because I'm injured, but I probably wouldn't have went down there [to Orlando]."

It's a valid concern. Florida has seen a recent spike in positive tests for the coronavirus, with 5,000 new reported cases in each of the past two days. Even with the NBA creating a bubble environment at the Walt Disney World Resort for teams and unveiling a comprehensive, 108-page plan to keep players and staff safe, there will be risks involved. 

Durant, who tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this year, added that he supports anybody who chooses to play:

"If the guys feel safe enough to go play, that's cool, I'm with them. If they don't feel like they should go down there and play or don't feel safe, I'm with them too. I'm all about what the group wants. Obviously, I would have talked to my teammates and consulted with my guys and actually really went over it for the last month and a half, but me, my gut would have told me nah, I probably wouldn't want to go down there, especially after three months off."

To date, no stars from the 22 teams heading into Orlando have publicly said they'll sit out. The highest-profile player to back out is Avery Bradley, whose six-year-old son Liam "has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses, and it is unlikely that he would have been medically cleared to enter the Orlando bubble with his family," per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. 

But it remains a possibility that high-profile stars will back out, or even that the season will be formally canceled if the situation in Florida—and around the United States—continues to get worse. 


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.