After a dramatic 24 hours where his future at the Golden State Warriors became a league-wide storyline, third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga remains steadfast in his hopes of brining further success to the franchise.
The Athletic's Shams Charania reported on Friday that Kuminga had "lost faith" in head coach Steve Kerr, having been surprisingly benched over the last 18 minutes of the stunning defeat to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday.
The report sent NBA social media into meltdown, with a wave of uncertainty stemming in relation to Kuminga's future. Yet just hours later and after playing a game-high 36 minutes against the Detroit Pistons, the talented two-way forward shifted the narrative further in the opposite direction by declaring, "I love it here".
Jonathan Kuminga's postgame comments provided the sort of clarity needed to ease concern among Golden State Warriors' fans
Kuminga, sporting a new shaved haircut, made a positive start in the first-half where he recorded 11 points and four rebounds to help the Warriors to a four-point lead. He was more subdued from there on, taking only two shots, scoring zero points, grabbing two rebounds and committing three turnovers. Regardless, Kerr took a 180 from the previous night and played the 21-year-old for over 19 minutes in the second-half.
It was far from his best game, yet Kuminga played a season-high in minutes having broken the 34 he played against the Orlando Magic on Tuesday. He was also a game-high +16 in the game as Golden State only just avoided a disastrous loss to the now 3-32 Pistons.
Speaking to reporters postgame, Kuminga sought to clarify his thoughts and standing with speculation mounting ahead of the February 8 trade deadline.
""I love it here. I got drafted here. There's always ups and downs. I feel like when you look at all the ups and downs, that will confuse a lot of people," Kuminga said. "But I know Steve believes in me. I know he trusts me at this point. It was just more about communication and better understanding. It wasn't no beef. "
Kuminga confirmed he had a meeting with Kerr that "went really well". As part of that, the former seventh overall pick said he discussed the roles of he and Andrew Wiggins. "I don't want it to seem like me and Wiggs are out here fighting every day for minutes, Kuminga said.
While Kuminga played the most minutes of any player on the floor, Wiggins was limited to less than 19 minutes against the Pistons having recorded just three points on 1-of-5 shooting. As much as fans and the pair themselves may want to play together, it seems like Kerr is yet to reach a point where each are capable of playing 25+ minutes in the same game.
However, Kuminga and Wiggins could now take on more responsibility with veteran point-guard Chris Paul set to spend a significant period on the sidelines after fracturing his hand in third-quarter of Friday's game.