The Golden State Warriors are looking at the best ways possible to hand Kevin Durant his well-deserved flowers at the forthcoming 2023-24 season opener.
In his appearance on the 95.7 The Game’s “Steiny and Guru”, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy revealed that the franchise is already planning a well-deserved tribute for Durant as he is set to enter the jam-packed Chase Center alongside the Phoenix Suns to spice up their season entrance.
“I think the combo of him returning and us opening against a formidable opponent should make the building pretty electric,” Dunleavy said. “I think we gotta figure out a way to appropriately honor Kevin (Durant). He hasn’t actually played in Chase Center since departing so I know it’s been a while. But anytime great players like that who have given up so much to the franchise come back, you gotta figure out a way to honor them. We’ll do that appropriately.
“But at the same time, it’s opening night. It’s a good (Phoenix) team and we got to get a win.”
Barring unwanted circumstances, the Oct. 24 date this year would be the very first time that Durant will be able to play in front of the Bay Area faithful since leaving Golden State last 2019 offseason to join the Brooklyn Nets via free agency.
The superstar managed to play within the Chase Center in the 2020-21 season, but the crowd was nonexistent given the restrictions imposed by the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, he was warmly welcomed by his former teammates and even received a video tribute as a way to honor his outstanding contributions to the franchise.
The gates were finally open to the spectating Warriors fans in the past two seasons, but Durant, unfortunately, wasn’t able to play in various opportunities against them within their territory due to injuries.
In a controversial and highly criticized move, Durant further gave the Dubs an empowering shot to its arms last 2016 as their partnership catapulted Golden State to a dynastic status – winning back-to-back titles in three-straight Finals appearances.
For three regular seasons of stay, Durant averaged 25.8 points, 7.1 boards, and 5.4 assists in 52.4 percent shooting for 208 games with the Dubs. In their two championship triumphs, he was their Finals’ Most Valuable Player.
Upon his departure from Golden State, ex-team executive Bob Myers proclaimed that Durant’s jersey No. 35 will be raised up of the franchise’s historic rafters.
Not only Durant would be reunited with his former team on the opening night of the upcoming season. It would also mark the first meeting between star point man Chris Paul and his ex-Suns team.
Paul, who helped the Suns in reaching three postseason appearances including an NBA Finals finish last 2021, was dealt by the club to the Washington Wizards this summer. At the expense of a package featuring Jordan Poole, the Warriors eventually landed the future Hall of Famer.