Report: Warriors players recruited Kevin Durant throughout season

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The Warriors will meet with Kevin Durant on Friday.

That won’t be his first exposure to them pitching him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Here’s the thing that’s interesting about Golden State is, their players have been recruiting Kevin Durant all year.

And it goes back to early in the season when the Thunder were struggling. And I don’t know that Golden State saw them as a peer. I don’t know if they saw them as a threat. They weren’t playing great. They were in that mid range in the West, or certainly beyond San Antonio, Golden State.

And Kevin Durant, just like he was hearing from guys in Boston, Washington, different places, he was hearing from guys on the Warriors about, “Hey, you can come help come take the pressure off of Steph Curry. We need you.” This is when they were running off win after win after win. They had him on their mind. He’s been on their mind. And it appealed to him a little. And some of it was, it’s text messages. It’s a lot of that. But the communication with some of the players in Golden State and Kevin, that’s not just starting now.

Now, all of a sudden, they get in the playoffs and they’re down 3-1, and nobody’s standing at the free-throw line whispering, “You going to come play?” Then it’s, “We’re getting our ass kicked by you.” But it changed in the playoffs. But during the season, it was there.

It apparently worked. Durant is reportedly leaning toward signing with the Warriors if he leaves the Thunder. It’s far from a done deal, and the formal meetings will give him more information about every team involved. But it seems Golden State has a nice head start.

Durant has named two primary factors in determining his next team: basketball and people. The Warriors have a great team on the court, and this indicates he already gets along with the people on the team. Other teams – especially Oklahoma City – might check both boxes. But, again, Golden State appears to be in good shape.

This is how free agency works now. The NBA essentially allows players to tamper, putting the onus on them to recruit in ways management can’t until July 1.

I just wonder how this went over in the Warriors’ locker room. While some players were actively recruiting Durant, Andrew Bogut said other Golden State players questioned the Durant pursuit. Those are probably players who’d be jettisoned to make room for Durant, so if he signs, the potential problem takes care of itself. But if Durant spurns the Warriors, they might have a tough time putting the pieces back together.