- Kevin Durant and Draymond Green’s on-court spat on Monday has become a potentially franchise-altering incident for the Golden State Warriors.
- After Durant yelled at Green for his end-of-game decision-making, Green chewed out Durant, calling him a “b—-” and saying he’s made the season about himself with his impending free agency.
- The Warriors suspended Green one game for the incident, and Durant on Tuesday said he and Green had not made up yet.
- According to one report, some players agreed with Greens’ assessment of Durant’s handling of his free agency, but many thought Green went too far.
- There’s potential for the rift to linger between Durant and Green and Green and Warriors management as the season goes on.
Few could have predicted that a dispute over an end-of-game decision by Draymond Green could be the turning point in the Golden State Warriors dynasty, but one day later, things are uglier than ever with the reigning champions.
On Monday, Green turned the ball over while trying to dribble full-court in the final seconds of regulation, with the Warriors tied with the Los Angeles Clippers. As the Warriors returned to the bench to prepare for overtime, Kevin Durant clapped angrily at Green, yelling at him to get him the ball for the final shot.
Once on the bench, Green appeared to berate Durant, and teammates stepped in-between them as Green shouted at Durant throughout the break. The Warriors would go on to lose in overtime.
After the game, reports indicated that things were worse than they appeared. ESPN reported that the dispute carried over into the locker room in one of the most intense exchanges of the Warriors dynasty. The Athletic later reported that the exchange included Green making an over-the-line comment about Durant’s impending free agency. ESPN reported on Tuesday that despite the intense exchange in the locker room, it never threatened to get physical.
After details leaked out, the Warriors suspended Green for their Tuesday game against the Atlanta Hawks, which they won, 110-103.
Teammates fight and argue all the time, but from the sounds of it, this has the potential to be a franchise-altering dispute.
The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson divulged more details on Wednesday, reporting that after Durant told Green to get him the ball on Monday, Green went off on Durant. According to Thomspon, Green repeatedly called Durant a “b—-” and then attacked Durant for how he’s handled his impending free agency, leaving the door open to the idea that he might leave after the season.
“According to multiple sources, Green then went on to make it clear he’s been making plays for years. He reminded Durant the Warriors were winning before Durant showed up so he wouldn’t stand for Durant talking to him as if he were a scrub. Green accused Durant of making the whole season about him even though he was going to leave after this season. Green let out his frustrations about how Durant has handled free agency – keeping his options open and keeping the story alive, consuming the Warriors and their season with talk of what Durant will do next.”
Earlier in the season, Durant told The Los Angeles Times’ Dan Woike that he felt free agency was a topic that was off-limits, even among teammates.
“That’s business. We don’t get into anyone else’s business,” Durant told Woike. “There’s money involved in that stuff. Everything is involved, your life is involved, free agency, a new contract. I don’t think guys overstep those boundaries when it comes to that. We don’t even play around about that because we’re so locked in on the season.”
According to Thompson, Green expected to be punished for his actions but didn’t expect a suspension, which cost him over $US120,000. Green and head coach Steve Kerr infamously got into a heated dispute that required both men to be separated in 2016, and Green was only fined. Green thought that dispute was worse than Monday night’s with Durant, according to Thompson.
Thompson also reported that while many people on the Warriors thought Green’s tirade went too far, some even thought there was some truth in his criticism’s of Durant. Thompson reported that Green spoke with Kerr and Warriors GM Bob Myers after the dispute and reiterated his stance that Durant’s free agency has become a distraction. Stephen Curry also reportedly met with Green after the incident and Green told Curry the same thing.
After Tuesday’s game, Durant was tight-lipped about the situation. When asked if he and Green had made up, he said, “Nah.” When asked if Green had crossed a line, Durant said he would keep things “in-house” and said he was sure he and Green would make up at some point, citing the long season ahead.
The Warriors will rebound from the incident. They remain the most talented team by a long stretch, and they have shown this year that they all have a new comfort level on the court.
But as Thompson noted, there are ramifications to everything that unfolded. Green and Durant will make amends, but it’s worth wondering how much Green’s words will linger with Durant.
Meanwhile, management took the side of Durant by suspending Green. Green is two years away from free agency, and it’s possible that the issue could affect his feelings for the team, even though he has said he wants to re-sign with the Warriors.
The Warriors also have to protect against a scenario where both Durant and Green want out. Trading Durant would probably be a non-starter for the Warriors unless they’re sure Durant is leaving at the end of the season. But what if keeping Durant hinges on his relationship with Green? The Warriors could theoretically be backed into a corner, but that’s only if the issue lingers.
The Warriors’ win-loss record likely won’t be affected by this issue, but even some insiders wonder if it’s something that could eat at the team. Thompson reported that some players already suspected Durant was leaving after the season. Durant’s departure would break up this Warriors dynasty and knock them down a peg. If they fail to win the championship this year, this spat could prove to be a pivotal moment in the team’s history.
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