MVP Durant aims to keep improving

Golden State's Kevin Durant with the Most Valuable Player trophy. It is his second NBA title and second NBA Finals MVP award.
Golden State's Kevin Durant with the Most Valuable Player trophy. It is his second NBA title and second NBA Finals MVP award.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/WARRIORS

CLEVELAND (Ohio) • Kevin Durant says he will stay, Stephen Curry is enjoying the success and the Golden State Warriors appear set for another solid run next year as they chase their fourth National Basketball Association (NBA) crown in five seasons.

The Warriors completed an NBA Finals sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Friday for back-to-back titles and a third crown in four years.

Their plane touched down in Oakland on Saturday afternoon to a heroes' welcome from adoring fans.

Durant won his second title and second NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award, but the forward has no plans to rest on his laurels.

"I've just got to keep getting better," he said. "I've got a lot more to go. "So I'm just trying to prove to myself that I could just stay in it for the long haul and, hopefully, I continue to have some success."

The 29-year-old signed as a free agent with the Warriors in 2016 for less money than he could have made elsewhere to help the Warriors bring him aboard, and still be able to keep forward Draymond Green and guard Klay Thompson alongside three-point sharpshooter Curry.

Now Durant says he needs to hammer out only the final details on a rich deal to remain with the Warriors.

And he is already curious about how his younger team-mates progress next season.

"I want to see Jordan Bell come back a better player. I want to see Quinn Cook come back a better player. I'm excited to see how they come back next year," Durant said.

"Looking forward just to different tricks that we use throughout the season next year. I can't wait."

There is some history motivation for next season. Only the 1960s Boston Celtics dynasty reached five NBA Finals in a row. The only teams who have won four crowns in five years are that Boston team and the 1950s Minneapolis Lakers.

"I haven't really thought about it," Curry said of how long the Warriors might reign. "We'll have plenty of time over the summer to talk about what next year's going to look like and what it's going to take for us to get back to this stage next year.

"I really just am happy to be a champion again. If I get another opportunity next year to come back into the Finals, I'm going to have the same attitude about winning a championship."

Meanwhile, coach Tyronn Lue has indicated he will remain at the Cavaliers' helm next season despite dealing with health issues and facing the strong likelihood LeBron James will not be on their roster.

The star forward is expected to opt out of the final year of his Cavs contract to become a free agent in the summer.

"I had some tough problems going on throughout the course of the season, and I probably could have folded myself, but I wasn't going to do that. I gave everything I had," said the 41-year-old coach, who had to deal with an anxiety disorder and took a nine-game leave of absence in the regular season after suffering from chest pains.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 11, 2018, with the headline 'MVP Durant aims to keep improving'. Print Edition | Subscribe