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Kevin Durant rules out return to lineup this season

Nets star Kevin Durant confirmed in an interview that he wouldn't return for any part of the 2019-20 NBA season.

The Brooklyn Nets opened training camp not expecting summer free-agent addition Kevin Durant to play this season.

Durant confirmed that in an interview with ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Thursday’s edition of “First Take.”

“Is it possible that you’re going to come back this year?” Smith asked.

“Not right now,” Durant said. “I’m not thinking about it … just rehabbing every day. It’s a slow process, so I’m grinding.”

“Have you completely ruled out the possibility that you can return?” Smith asked.

“Yes,” Durant said. “No I don’t plan on [playing this season].”

In the interview, Durant also touched on a variety of other topics, including him delving — once again — into what led him to leave the Golden State Warriors for the Nets in free agency.

“I just felt like I needed a switch,” Durant said. “I felt like a lot of stuff in Golden State had reared its head. It was just going to be the end no matter what, especially for that group. Shaun Livingston was retiring. Andre Iguodala was getting older. Our contracts were going to stifle the team and put us in a hole to get other players. It was just time to kind of separate.”

Durant also said his in-season confrontation with teammate Draymond Green made his pending free agency a larger story than he thought it should have been.

“I wish that wouldn’t have happened,” Durant said. “Every day it was about my free agency. Every day was about my disposition as a player — what I looked like on the bench, what I looked like during the games. It opened up a lot of nonsense that could’ve been avoided. But Draymond and I talked about it.”

Since signing with the Nets, Durant had opened up about his move to Brooklyn in interviews with Yahoo Sports and the Wall Street Journal.