Steve Kerr: ‘Absurd’ to Call Kevin Durant a Villain

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(Photo: Getty)

In addition to being one of the NBA's best coaches, Golden State Warriors sideline-stalker Steve Kerr is also one of the league's most media-savvy.

Which should be kept in mind when considering his recent defense of Kevin Durant, who's been viewed by many as a "villain" for leaving the Oklahoma City Thunder for Kerr's Warriors in free agency.

"To think of Kevin Durant or [Stephen] Curry or any of our guys as villains, it's kind of absurd. Especially Kevin," Kerr told ESPN Radio on Sunday. "This is one of the most likeable people in this league. He's just an awesome human being. What he did in Oklahoma City was just amazing for that community."

But back in reality, Kerr knows that it's the narrative that will play out, as his team appeared to fall out of favor with league's non-Warriors fan base in 2016 and only got stronger by adding the 2014 MVP in Durant, whose Thunder fell to Golden State in seven games in the 2016 Western Conference Finals.

LeBron James and his old Miami Heat squads earned similar derision for their seemingly inorganic formation of a super team in 2010.

Also, the Warriors have a guy who unapologetically loves to kick other guys in the testicles.

"Circumstances kind of dictate, I guess, that some people are going to see him as a villain. But it's only because he decided to go elsewhere to play. He wanted to change his scenery, he wanted a new challenge. More than anything he wanted to play with our guys."

The head coach also confirmed that Durant hadn't made his decision until after meeting with team members at the house he rented in the Hamptons.

"He loves Draymond [Green] and Steph and Klay [Thompson] and Andre [Iguodala]. Seeing those guys in New York, he loved seeing the chemistry that exists and he wanted to be a part of it."

For his part, Durant pretty much expected the backlash.

"For a few days after, I didn't leave my bed, because I was like, 'If I walk outside somebody might just hit me with their car, or say anything negative to me,'" Durant said at Team USA training camp in July.

"I mean, I've been somewhere for so long, and then to make a change like that, [which] nobody knew was coming, that nobody didn't think I would do, of course I didn't know how it would be received afterward. But at some point, I just said, 'Look, man, life goes on. Life moves on, and I can't hide forever,' so I just had to face it."

But was he expecting to have his jersey burned in effigy while under machine gun fire? Doubtful.