Nets' Steve Nash on Kevin Durant's return to Golden State: 'I still think it means something to him'

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Kevin Durant facing up Raptors defender
Kevin Durant facing up Raptors defender

Saturday’s matchup between the Nets and Golden State Warriors in San Francisco figures to have some extra meaning for Kevin Durant.

For one, Durant is returning to the Nets’ lineup after having to sit out the team’s last three games due to the league’s contact tracing protocols. But it’s also Durant’s first game back in Golden State, and while it may not be the same arena that Durant played in, he’s still returning to California to play against the team he helped win two NBA titles with during his three-year run.

Nets head coach Steve Nash was asked prior to the game if this one does in fact mean more for Durant, and Nash said that he believes that to be the case, even if Durant hasn’t focused much on that aspect of it.

“I think it does mean something to him, but he hasn’t shown it. We haven’t talked about it,” Nash said. “If there’s ever a comeback game that is less than what it may have been in a normal situation like this one, where we have no fans, it’s getting closer to two years since his last game here, so it’s not going to have the same rawness that sometimes these games can present, but I still think it means something to him.

“I think he has a lot of great memories and important relationships from his time here.”

Durant signed with the Warriors following the 2015-16 season, joining an already loaded Warriors team that had been to the NBA Finals in each of the previous two years before his arrival, defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2015.

But Durant’s presence took the Warriors to an even higher level, as he helped them win two straight titles, averaging 25.7 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.1 assists during those first two seasons. His time in Golden State ended on a difficult note, of course, as Durant ruptured his Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals against Toronto.

The 10-time All-Star and four-time scoring champ went on to sign with the Nets, and as Nash said, has put in as much work as possible through his rehab and eventual return to the court.

“He did all the hard work,” Nash said. “He had a good stretch of time because of the pandemic and the late start to the season to not rush it back. He had kind of a grace period to adapt after healing… He’s on the forefront of what’s possible, and it’s just now about being sustainable.”

Durant makes his return to the court for Brooklyn as they take on the Warriors Saturday night at 8:30 p.m.