Kevin Durant gazes into his potential Chase Center future: ‘The possibilities’

[READ ARTICLE IN THE MERCURY NEWS]

Kevin Durant strolled across the dirt floor at Chase Center on Friday afternoon, his rented size-18 work boots slowing to a halt near a spot that approximated mid-court. Then the Warriors’ superstar forward looked toward the rafters, mouth agape, and contemplated his future.

Durant signed a two-year, $61.5 million deal with Golden State this summer, but he carries a player option for the 2019-20 season. That option allows the nine-time All-Star to either move elsewhere or ink another deal with the Warriors.

For now, though, Durant brushed aside questions about his future, instead leaving the phalanx of reporters and team dignitaries encircling him with a cryptic thought as he gazed upward.

“My imagination is going wild right now,” he said. “The possibilities.”

Friday’s hard-hat tour was billed as a showcase for corporate executives and media members to get a glimpse of the Warriors’ massive new home in San Francisco’s Mission Bay neighborhood. The afternoon also featured Warriors president Rick Welts announcing a business partnership with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise.

The tour’s spotlight, however, never drifted from the man who must decide where to play two months before the Chase Center’s scheduled opening next September.

Though a few other Warriors stopped by the construction site in recent months, Durant was the first to set foot on the ground where the hardwood will be laid next year. He listened attentively and asked occasional questions to Stephen Collins, the Chase Center’s chief operating officer who expounded on the $1 billion arena’s every nook and cranny. Welts tagged along, too.

There were the 5,500 exterior panels being laid atop the hulking edifice. The 44 state-of-the-art suites ringing the 18,064-seat arena. The underground players’ parking lot conveniently located alongside the practice courts.

Durant smiled and nodded approvingly when Collins mentioned the barber shop that will be installed next to the practice locker room. He didn’t feel the same way about the visitors’ locker room, which will be equipped with hot and cold soaking tubs, among other amenities.

“They don’t need all that!” Durant joked.

Durant wasn’t the only Warrior checking out the team’s new digs Friday. Quinn Cook got a separate, smaller tour before reflecting on the two-time defending champions’ impending move across the bay.

“I think really we just want to finish strong at Oracle,” said Quinn, who averaged 14.6 points and 3.9 assists in 18 starts as a rookie last season. “That building’s been so special to the Warriors and to the Bay Area. Obviously guys are excited about what we’ve got coming with Chase, but I think our focus is just to finish strong at Oracle.”

With Shaun Livingston still out and Stephen Curry nursing a groin strain, Quinn will get his first start of the season when the Warriors visit the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday. The NBA G League alum hopes to further establish himself after playing a key role in the injury-hampered Warriors’ postseason run earlier this year.

“I’ve started many games in my career, so it’s not really like anybody’s trying to put too much pressure on me,” Quinn said. “When anybody goes down, guys have to step up.”

Quinn cheesed for a picture with a trio of construction workers before exchanging his borrowed Timberlands for sneakers and heading back across the bay.

“I’m spending 20 hours a day trying to get it for them in 2019,” one of the workers joked as they parted ways.

One block up Mission Bay Boulevard South, Durant signed autographs, took pictures and climbed into a black SUV. His destination was uncertain.

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