LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) – Beyond the physical acclimation of returning to the court on a daily basis, Kevin Durant plans to invest his time getting to know his role with the Brooklyn Nets.
That role does not include general manager responsibilities.
Durant said on Wednesday (Dec 9) he is not wasting a second thinking about trade rumors tying the Nets to James Harden, his former teammate with the Oklahoma City Thunder, because there is too much on his plate without also piling on personnel duties.
“I don’t think about James Harden at all. I mean, he doesn’t play on our team,” Durant said.
Harden has requested to be traded from the Houston Rockets to a contender. He recently stirred controversy by attending crowded parties in Atlanta and Las Vegas, where he was seen not wearing a mask – a violation of NBA (National Basketball Association) protocols regarding Covid-19.
The NBA will require Harden to pass six consecutive Covid-19 tests before he is cleared to practice, ESPN reported on Wednesday.
Rockets first-year head coach Stephen Silas said the team were not certain when the NBA would clear Harden, who has not taken part in Houston’s training camp.
“We’re just trying to iron all that stuff out right now,” Silas said. “I wish I had a good answer for you. I wish I had a better answer for you when it comes to all that, but I don’t.”
Back in Brooklyn, the 31-year-old Durant also provided new insight into his expected role with the Nets this season. Durant’s next game will be his first since the 2019 NBA Finals, when he ruptured his Achilles as a member of the Golden State Warriors.
A few weeks later, following surgery, he signed a four-year deal with Brooklyn.
The Nets made the play-offs last season with Durant and Kyrie Irving out, and then they hired Steve Nash as head coach.
“I’m very excited about the future of this group,” Durant said.
The Nets plan to play a smaller line-up and Durant outlined Nash’s thoughts of having him split time between point guard and center this season. At either spot, the 6-foot-10 scoring machine will be a difficult check.
“I’ve never been one to predict anything, but I like our chances of going out there and competing at that high level every single night,” Durant said. “And as tough as that is in this league, I think we’re capable of doing it and we got a lot of guys who have experienced so much in this league.
“We got champions on this team. We got guys that have been in the play-off runs, have been in Game 7s, so it’s always important to have that much experience and knowledge within the group and we’ll see where we go from here.”