Kevin Durant had a helluva ride with the Golden State Warriors, reaching the Finals all three years he wore their uni, winning two championships and while earning two Finals MVPs, from 2016-2019.
That was almost four years ago, and yet again — OUT for tonight’s Suns-Warriors game in CA due to ankle soreness — Durant will not to face his former team with fans in the stands*.
*As a member of the Nets, he played the Warriors at Chase Center in 2021, but there were no fans in the stands due to the pandemic.
Durant’s newest team, the Phoenix Suns, won’t visit the Warriors turf again this season unless the two teams face off in the 2023 Playoffs, which is a distinct possibility given that the Suns and Warriors are hovering in the 4-6 range of playoff seeds. Durant is scheduled to return from this latest injury by playoff time.
Without the Warriors, Durant has been successful with his original Oklahoma City Thunder and the Brooklyn Nets, but never has reached that championship parade pinnacle outside of Oakland.
Here’s the tale of the tape for KD:
- Thunder: 9 years, 1 Finals, 10-6 playoff series record, 1 MVP, 7 All-Star, 6 All-NBA, ROY
- Warriors: 3 years, 3 Finals, 10-1 playoff series record, 2 championships, 2 Finals MVP, 3 All-Star, 2 All-NBA,
- Nets: 3+ years, 1-2 playoff series record, 2 All-Star, 1 All-NBA
- Suns: TBD
It’s been four years since he left the Warriors.
In that time, a worldwide pandemic has come and (kinda) gone, a new U.S. president was not only elected but is more than halfway through his term, the Warriors moved to a new arena, and the core he left behind went on to win another championship without him.
On his personal front, he’s suffered more long-term injuries than he’s enjoyed playoff series wins since leaving the Warriors, including missing that whole first year in Brooklyn (2020) while recovering from the torn Achilles tendon suffered in the 2019 Finals, two months for a hamstring strain the next season (2021) and 6 weeks from the MCL strain this January (2023).
By the way, Durant is not the only injury prone one from that three-year Finals run. Since the 2019 Finals, Klay Thompson missed 2.5 of the next three seasons, while Curry missed almost all of one (2019-20), and more than a month in each of the last two. In fact, the big storyline of the 2022 Playoffs was that the Warriors’ Big Three of Curry, Thompson and Green were finally together again for the playoffs for the first time in three years. Curry was so freshly back, he came off the bench in round one.
This latest injury, an ankle turn in pregame warmups last week, has the Suns setting a precautionary 3-week minimum return timeline for Durant that seems appropriate given his injury history. Suns GM James Jones told AZcentral.com / Arizona Republic reporter Duane Rankin this weekend that Durant is good enough to play right now if the playoffs were upon us, but is being held out because they want him back 100% before they start the postseason.
Still, he hasn’t had the pleasure of watching the Warriors play him a tribute video and hearing 20,000 fans applaud his contributions in yellow and blue.
At this rate, it might be five years between his last appearance in a Warriors uni (2019) and his first on-court appearance in a different uniform (twice during the 2023-24 season, with the Suns, but not yet scheduled).
The Suns play the Warriors tonight. Check out our game preview! Link below.
The Warriors are 28-7 at Chase Center this year (one of those losses to the Suns). The Suns are 3-0 against the Warriors this season, winning the three games by an average margin of 17 points.