Warriors' forward Jonathan Kuminga clarifies blockbuster report turned watershed moment

Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors
Chicago Bulls v Golden State Warriors / Kavin Mistry/GettyImages

Third-year forward Jonathan Kuminga has been the biggest positive in the Golden State Warriors' season, having developed into a starting calibre player and the team's second-best scorer next to Stephen Curry.

It took a while for Kuminga to get there though. The start of his season was again plagued by inconsistent opportunity, leading to frustration that eventually reached boiling point in early January.

Golden State Warriors' Jonathan Kuminga has clarified his side of the story after a now famous meeting with head coach Steve Kerr in January

Despite recording 16 points, four rebounds and four assists in the first two and a half quarters, Kuminga was benched over the last 18 minutes of the Warriors' January 5 loss to the Denver Nuggets.

It was a bizarre decision from Steve Kerr and one that had implications soon after. The following day a report emerged from The Athletic's Shams Charania and Anthony Slater, stating that Kuminga had "lost faith" in Kerr amid the fluctuating playing time.

It's since been revealed that Kuminga and Kerr had a meeting the day after the Nuggets game, with the former seventh overall pick detailing his thought process in a recent interview on the Dubs Talk podcast.

"I did not lose faith of being here; it’s not what I said. It was just definitely to a point where I felt like I need to be (on the court). I felt like I could help. I felt like there was just so much left on the table where I felt like me and the young guys could go out there and help Steph (Curry), Klay (Thompson) and Draymond (Green)."

Jonathan Kuminga
Steve Kerr, Jonathan Kuminga
Golden State Warriors v Minnesota Timberwolves / David Berding/GettyImages

The results of that meeting could have gone one of two ways; Kuminga's plea could have fallen on deaf ears and led to a trade over the following month, or Kerr could have taken it on board and utilized his young forward more consistently.

Fortunately for Warrior fans, the latter played out almost immedietly. Kuminga played a team-high 36 minutes that night against the Detroit Pistons, and has averaged over 30 minutes across 31 games since the Nuggets game.

Kuminga has backed up his words with action on the court, averaging 19.6 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists since January 5. The 21-year-old has shot 54.5% from the field during this period, having emerged as a candidate for the NBA's Most Improved player.

After so much conjecture about his future since he was drafted in 2021, Kuminga was essentially untouchable ahead of last month's trade deadline. Now, Kuminga wants to play his entire career with Golden State, stating, "I would love to be a Warrior for life."