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Pacific Notes: Durant, Thompson, Lakers’ DPE, Kings

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Kevin Durant left the Warriors because he wasn’t able to find the family atmosphere he wanted, writes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area. Durant got the championships and individual awards he was seeking when he signed with Golden State three years ago, but as he indicated in a Wall Street Journal interview this week, he couldn’t be part of the organization in the same way that Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala are.

Poole notes that Durant was impressed by the closeness those four players displayed when they came to the Hamptons to recruit him in 2016. That influenced his decision, but he still felt like an outsider. He wasn’t drafted to the organization like Curry, Thompson and Green, and he wasn’t instrumental in the Warriors’ first title in 40 years the way that Iguodala was.

Poole adds that the family dynamic faded over Durant’s three years with Golden State as players spent more time with their actual families. The Currys had two more children, Iguodala got married and Green became more devoted to fatherhood. Green was a close friend for Durant in his first season with the team, but he hung out with DeMarcus Cousins more often last year.

There’s more from the Pacific Division:

  • Steve Kerr tells Joe Vardon of The Athletic that it’s going to be like “Year 1” as he guides a much different Warriors roster. While many key pieces are gone from the championship years, Kerr said surviving while Thompson heals from a torn ACL will be the biggest challenge. “Losing Kevin, Andre, Shaun (Livingston) obviously, those are huge losses,” he said. “Losing Klay on top of all that really changes the way we’re going to have to play at both ends. Klay was always an integral part of everything. Movement on offense, but also the guarding of the ballhandler on defense, switching onto bigs. So until he gets back, we’ve got to re-imagine everything and adapt accordingly.”
  • The Lakers are seeking a disabled player exception after Cousins’ injury, but it’s likely just a tool that may be used later in the season, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. There are few options who could make a difference at a $1.75MM salary, which is half of what Cousins is owed. However, minimum contracts decrease through the year, and the DPE will be more valuable once buyout season arrives.
  • Buddy Hield and Bogdan Bogdanovic will be competing not just for minutes in the Kings‘ backcourt, but for contract extensions as well, notes James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area.


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