Brooklyn Nets Media Day: Kevin Durant Looks Ahead
Superstar says "I just wanted to be here" on multi-year contract extension
Kevin Durant was back at Barclays Center for Media Day on Monday morning, and his presence is assured there for years to come after the superstar forward agreed to a multi-year contract extension during an eventful summer that also included another sensational turn at the Olympics. Durant became the first of the extension-eligible trio of himself, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving to sign on, and Monday’s session was his first in a team setting since doing so.
“I just wanted to be here,” said Durant. “I thought it was the perfect timing for me to do so. We all three talked about playing together for a long time, their situations are going to happen on their time when they want it to happen. We all respect that, but it was good to get it done and commit to the team and the organization and my teammates and just continue to keep working from here.”
Durant has the highest career scoring average among active NBA players, and in his first season on the court with the Nets, the nine-time All-NBA selection averaged 26.9 points while matching his career high with a 53.7 shooting percentage and finishing seventh in the NBA with a career-high 45.0 3-point percentage. He also shot 88.2 percent on free throws with 7.1 rebounds and 5.6 assists per game.
Brooklyn Nets Media Day pic.twitter.com/Woe23zt5xE— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) September 27, 2021
In a spectacular playoff run, Durant averaged 34.3 points while shooting 51.4 percent overall and 40.2 percent from 3-point range and averaging 9.3 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 1.6 blocks, and 1.5 steals. He closed out the season with the highest-scoring Game 7 in NBA history, 48 points against the Milwaukee Bucks. It was his third 40-point game of the playoffs; the Nets had three in their history before that. He set a franchise record with 411 points in just 12 playoff games. His eight 30-point playoff games were another franchise record. He posted five double-doubles in seven games against Milwaukee, including his 49-point, 17-rebound, 10-assist triple-double in Game 5, another first in NBA history.
“I was expecting to do the things that I did which was just to focus in every day and continue to be a student of the game when I'm up here so I was expecting that out of myself,” said Durant. “The results that come from that it is what it is. Not too excited about it, it is what it is. I felt confident that I was going to go out there and help the team as much as I could once I played. It was even better to get a year of just get more comfortable here in Brooklyn and Barclays with my teammates with the organization. It was good to get a year under the belt of actually being around the team and we have some continuity coming into this season which is always good for a basketball team. So we're looking forward to training camp and starting off this journey here.”
Durant quickly went from the playoffs to Olympic preparation and went on to lead the United States to the gold medal, scoring 29 points in the 87-82 championship win over France. With previous golds in London in 2012 and Rio in 2015, Durant matched Carmelo Anthony as the only men to win three Olympic basketball gold medals.
Earlier in the tournament, Durant passed Anthony as the leading scorer in U.S. Men’s Olympic basketball history, extending his career total to 435 points by the end of the gold medal game. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Durant became the first player to score 100 or more points in three Olympics.
As the Olympics came to a close, the NBA offseason was heating up, and a busy summer from the Brooklyn front office gave the roster a new look for the 2021-22 season. Seven players return from the playoff roster, along with LaMarcus Aldridge, who was briefly with the team during the season. The Nets added players like Patty Mills and Paul Millsap, who fit the same proven veteran profile as Aldridge, along with defensive minded additions and two promising rookies from the first round of the NBA Draft in Cam Thomas and Day’Ron Sharpe.
“I like the roster. I like the guys that we put together,” said Durant. “A lot of veteran guys mixed in with a couple young guys that are hungry for this experience in the NBA and you got veteran guys who have been through a lot as well so...also having some returning players helps and we want to keep building this culture and keep fine tuning who we are every single day to see who we are at the end of the season. What we have on paper is cool but we still have to get out between the lines and play.”
Catch the Brooklyn Nets this Season