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'I'm excited to be here': Highlights from Kevin Durant's news conference

The Phoenix Suns introduced NBA superstar Kevin Durant to the Valley of the Sun Thursday afternoon during a 2 p.m. news conference at the Footprint Center.

PHOENIX — Thursday was a really good day for Phoenix Suns fans.

The team introduced NBA superstar Kevin Durant to the Valley of the Sun Thursday afternoon during a 2 p.m. news conference at the Footprint Center.

Durant hasn't officially suited up for the Suns yet, but his arrival already has Suns fans buzzing. Everyone is eager to see him on the court with his new teammates like Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton.

Phoenix traded for the 13-time NBA All-Star on Feb. 9 for a package that included Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson and several 1st-round picks.

Here are five takeaways from the news conference:

The Suns and their fans are really excited to have KD in the Valley

Kevin Durant received a standing ovation from fans when he was shown on the jumbotron in street clothes during his first home game as a member of the team. It’s hard for even longtime Arizona media personalities to recall a press conference of this magnitude – happening on the arena floor on a game day and open to the public with fans lining up hours ahead of time to get in. Fans were lining up outside Footprint Center two hours before the presser was scheduled to begin.

"You see the growth in his team when Monty took over. I see the coaches started to change the way they played on the floor to the energy they play. We're starting to change, and always love playing here in Phoenix. The fans always show love to, you know, just go good basketball, in general, you they always cheer their fans on, but they show love to the opposing team as well. So I knew this would be a great place to play and a great place to continue to get better as a player. You got somebody like Devin, Chris, Paul, and DeAndre, eight guys that work, and I wanted to be a part of that. So I'm excited I'm here. I'm looking forward to trying to add as much as I can to the group already. As I said, they built, you know, themselves up and built destruction to infrastructure for themselves already, and I'm looking forward to adding to it," said Durant.

Kevin Durant is a Monty Williams guy 

Monty and KD go back to their Oklahoma City Thunder days when Williams was an assistant coach. KD has always spoken highly of Williams, who he now reunites with in Phoenix. Even though Durant wasn’t playing in Tuesday’s game against the Kings, he was engaged in timeouts, putting his hand on Monty’s shoulder and engaging with his new Suns teammates.

"Monty is the one that's supposed to put everybody in positions to be successful. That's what it always was. The coach was always the leader. And we kind of we spread his messages on the floor, and we extend on the floor, but he's the one that's given us, you know, the pointers on what we need to do—so looking forward to being taught by Monty being coached by Monty and the staff and everybody here. I've been to a couple of practices already. And the attention to detail is something that I love. And you know, if we continue to stay on that path every day, we'll see good things," Durant added.

KD’s presence is already elevating the team 

Monty Williams said being around greatness has even impacted how he feels when he walks into the gym. Deandre Ayton is still having a hard time wrapping his head around the fact that KD is in the Valley and that he gets to go to battle with him.

"I think we got all the pieces to be successful. We got guys that experienced what it's like to plan that final round. So we got guys that have been there. And that's half the battle, just knowing what it takes. And yeah, we got guys that can do pretty much everything on the floor. So we got to put it together. I'm looking forward to doing the work," said Durant.

Mat Ishbia means business and has already made a good first impression as the new owner of the Suns and Mercury 

New team owner Mat Ishbia was introduced at 11 a.m. last Wednesday, and by 11 p.m. that day, he pulled off the blockbuster trade that shifted the entire NBA.

"Well, I'm excited. So I mean, I love seeing the fans out here, you know, coming to Phoenix, coming to Phoenix being part of this with Monty and, of course, Devin [Booker] and Chris [Paul], the whole team. It's been such an honor getting a chance to spend time with them. But I'm excited, just like all of you guys in Phoenix. It's got the best fans in the country. So I'm proud to be with you. I could feel the excitement," said Durant.

A new era of Suns basketball is here, and the organization is all in on bringing a title to Phoenix in 2023 

Just five years ago, the Suns were thought of as one of the laughingstocks of the NBA. After a surprising run in the NBA Bubble in 2020, the Suns made it all the way to the NBA Finals in 2021. After setting regular season records for the franchise in 2022, the Suns suffered a stunning loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Game 7 of the second round of the playoffs. That loss now seems like a distant memory with the addition of KD, who has made Phoenix a favorite to win a stacked Western Conference.

In an exclusive interview with 12Sports, Wanda "Mama" Durant said she's excited to be here in the Valley and is grateful her son Kevin is "happy" and ready to move forward with a new chapter.  


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