In his first interview since being felled by a calf strain, Kevin Durant gave another indication Friday about still being perceived as a Warriors outsider — one of the factors in a growing belief he will leave as a free agent.
The Warriors have moved on to The Finals without Durant. On Friday, the elephant in the room surfaced when a reporter asked Durant about “their’’ play in sweeping the Blazers in the Western Conference finals. Durant corrected him, saying, “Our play.’’
When another reporter asked him if that nuance is indicative of how he’s perceived, Durant said: “Most definitely. It’s been that way since I got here — the Warriors and KD. I understand that. I feel like my teammates and organization know exactly what I’ve done here on and off the floor to become part of the culture. I’ve stamped my flag on this culture and organization.
“I’ve done the last two years everything they’ve asked me to do from a player, from an ambassador, for the organization in the community. I work hard every single day at shoot around and practice. … So I know what I bring to the team. But I also know a lot of people on the outside don’t want to see us together. I get it.”
He has gotten testy on social media, battling Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard, who opined it would be Durant’s “worst nightmare coming true’’ if the Warriors won the title without him, perhaps minimizing his contributions to their last two titles.
Durant answered back on social media: “I see a little exaggeration there buddy, my worst nightmare?? U sure that this is the worst that it can get???”
Asked about that unfair narrative of Golden State playing looser without him, Durant said Friday: “I mean, it’s hard to get away from that. Because I watch the games, we watch the lead up to the games and that’s all everyone talking about.
“As a player, I think about that and it’s like: That’s not true. That’s not facts, when it comes to a basketball perspective. But the competitive side of me, I like to talk basketball as well. So if you want to say something like that, I’m engaging. It’s all cool. But I know the real.”
Durant injured his calf in Game 5 of the West semifinals against the Rockets with the series tied at 2. Golden State hung on to beat the Rockets, then shocked them — minus Durant — to clinch in Game 6 in Houston. Golden State then swept the Blazers.
Now Durant has been ruled out of Game 1 of The Finals, which will begin Thursday in either Toronto or Milwaukee. There’s a sentiment that Durant may have played his last game as a Warrior — with the Knicks and Clippers looming as his likeliest destinations.
There is still no timetable for Durant’s return to action. He said it is a “worse” calf strain than his two previous ones.
“I don’t know,” Durant said of his time frame for doing on-court work. “I’m just taking it a second at a time. Everything we do in the weight room, I just try to focus on that rep, not try to think too far down the line.”
NaVarro Bowman, Durant’s childhood friend and former 49ers linebacker, told The Post last month Durant “has an idea where he’s going’’ and added he “needs’’ the Knicks for his legacy. A recent Marc Stein newletter reported the Clippers’ chances are rising.