Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and superstar Stephen Curry refuted an ESPN.com report claiming the organization was “furious and bewildered” by the Oklahoma City Thunder’s treatment of Kevin Durant last month for his first game back in the city where he played the past eight seasons.
ESPN.com’s Chris Haynes cited multiple league sources who said the Warriors blamed the Thunder front office’s silence upon Durant’s return for the “raw emotions, outrage and indignation that created an unsettling, hostile atmosphere” during Golden State’s 130-114 win in Oklahoma City on Feb. 11. This despite OKC general manager Sam Presti releasing a statement prior to that game praising Durant’s contributions to the franchise, including an MVP campaign and five conference finals appearances.
Quite the opposite, said Kerr.
Steve Kerr calls Sam Presti a friend and the Thunder a "first-class" organization, disputes ESPN report pic.twitter.com/dhPpiEwKCl
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) March 20, 2017
“I don’t agree,” Kerr told reporters at Monday’s shootaround. “Sam Presti’s a friend of mine. I know (Thunder owner) Clay Bennett. It’s a class organization all the way, so I don’t really pay any attention to a story like that, unless there’s an actual name name that’s put on it. I assume it’s just sources. Is it ‘sources’? I don’t know who that is. It’s nobody with the Warriors. We have great respect for the Thunder. Sam’s been a friend of mine forever. They’re first-class, so I don’t know where that comes from.”
Likewise, said Curry.
Stephen Curry on the wave of stories that come out during the season: pic.twitter.com/UBWIpGWkxW
— Erik Horne (@ErikHorneOK) March 20, 2017
“This league is a very interesting place all the way through,” added Curry, via The Mercury News. “Certain stories that don’t need to see the light of day, don’t need to have any life breathed into them somehow are the most popular. That’s kind of how it goes. To me, it’s kind of comical what can be put in the spotlight during an 82-game year. … I actually look forward to waking up and seeing what ridiculousness is posted.”
It’s important to note that their repudiation of the ESPN.com report does not necessarily mean the fury and bewilderment is a non-story. It’s entirely possible that others within the organization, not named Kerr or Curry, were bothered by the Oklahoma City brass’s unwillingness to embrace Durant.
Sure, it would be ridiculous for anyone associated with the Warriors to think the Thunder should willingly open their arms to a player who shunned them in free agency in favor of signing with the team that eliminated them from the Western Conference finals. But that doesn’t make it untrue.
This is the same organization whose owner was presumptuous enough to pronounce the Warriors “light-years ahead” of the rest of the NBA before last season, so let’s not write this one off just yet.
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