Warriors

Draymond blasts Pierce, 'stupid' NBA players for criticizing Durant

Draymond blasts Pierce, 'stupid' NBA players for criticizing Durant

Draymond Green lit into his NBA brethren. Not all of them, mind you, but those who can’t resist taking shots at Kevin Durant for having the gall to do what he believes is the best thing for Kevin Durant.

Durant’s decision to leave Oklahoma City for the Warriors, where he is now teammates with Green, has provoked a startling amount of jabs from NBA players, from select members of the media and, predictably and understandably, from the wounded and grieving members of the Thunder fan base.

Green was very specific with his comments, unloading on players who dare to sling mud toward Durant, with Clippers forward Paul Pierce being the most recent. Though Pierce was called out by name, Green was talking about any player who criticized Durant for doing what free agents have negotiated the right to do.

[RELATED: Westbrook's response to Durant's 'selfless' comments: 'That's cute']

“I just wonder at what point do they get bored, talking about the same thing,” Green told reporters in Denver, where the Warriors practiced on Thursday. “You’ve got all these guys coming out talking, like Pierce. Dude, nobody cares what you did or who you did it for. Give it a break.

“Everybody’s got something to say, and then they want to take everything (Durant) says and twist it. He plays with the Warriors. OKC has their team; we have our team. All right? He left there.”

It’s exceedingly rich and a bit ironic that Pierce would join the line of those lobbing verbal grenades toward Durant and the Warriors. Pierce earned his only NBA championship ring as a member of the 2007-08 Boston Celtics, who presumably benefited greatly from the summertime additions of Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen.

Garnett left Minnesota for Boston after agreeing to a sign-and-trade deal. He didn’t embrace the move until after Allen signed off on a deal to leave the Seattle SuperSonics for Boston.

By moving boldly to add two All-Stars to incumbents Rajon Rondo and Pierce, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge saved his job. He also engineered a championship.

The point being, major moves are made all the time in sports, sometimes by trade, sometimes by forced trade and sometimes through free agency. Yet Durant has become a popular target for those throwing peanuts from the sideline.

Green doesn’t understand it, perhaps because it’s both shortsighted and irrational.

“Nobody complains when somebody leaves Apple and goes to Google,” Green said. “Aren’t they in competition with each other? Nobody talks junk about the CEO that leaves Apple and goes to Google.

“As a basketball player, you’re a CEO of your business. You are a business, and Kevin Durant is a big business. He’s the CEO of that business. So, him going to play basketball for a different team . . . the CEO decided to leave where he was at and go somewhere else.

“But there are so many guys in this league that are so stupid, they don’t even think like that. They don’t think business-wise, when it happens every day in the world. But in basketball it’s a problem. Aren’t you competitive in your day job if you work for Apple? Don’t you want to outdo Google? What’s the difference on the basketball court? It’s your day job. You want to outdo the competitor.

"But if you feel like a situation is better for you – it’s better for your life, it’s better for your family life, it’s better for your happiness – ain’t nobody criticizing them for going to a different company.

“So why is he getting criticized so tough. I don’t understand it. And I’ll never understand it. So, that’s just me. And I’ll be willing to bet my entire salary that it ain’t many guys in this league that are more competitive than me.

“I gave you guys some good quotes, didn’t I? I want to see that blow up.”

Pro sports are, at bottom, about money and leverage. Durant’s contract opened the door to free agency, giving him leverage. He used it. He’s not the first and most definitely won’t be the last.

Though Durant would have collected a bigger paycheck if he stayed in OKC, his decision to come to the Warriors is a direct result of negotiating for the right to become a free agent. The whole point of becoming a free agent is to explore options, which every free agent does unless he’s dedicated to his previous team.

Durant was ready to walk. He did. And all those who turn on him for doing so have to ask themselves a simple question:

What would you do if you did your research and concluded your current employer was less attractive, for a variety of reasons, than another that recruited you?
 

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Steph Curry sheds light on Game 1 trash talk with LeBron James, promises there are 'adversarial relationships' in NBA

Do you remember what happened with about 35 seconds left in OT during Game 1 of the 2018 NBA Finals?

In case you forgot:

The Warriors led by 11 points and with the shot clock winding down, Steph Curry attempted a driving layup and LeBron James blocked it.

LeBron proceeded to talk some trash to Curry and even used a little forearm to nudge him away when Curry said something in return.

On the most recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Curry shed some light on the exchange.

Simmons: "He blocked you and he talked sh*t to you. I thought you guys were gonna fight."

Curry: "It was never going to spill over to that. But it was an interesting moment ... I was hot because I was trying to finish out a possession, I think it was less than a minute left, I didn't see him coming over from the weak side so I tried to do a little soft scoop layup and he pinned it. Then he stared me down and he said something to me.

"And I was like, 'That's what we're really on right now? We're about to win and you're worried about mean-blocking my shot and talking trash?' And then the whole Tristan and Draymond thing happened and I went back up to him and I was like, 'Yo, what's up? Is this really what we're about right now?'

"And he was like, 'I gotta do that to make sure my teammates know I'm a mentor' and it's a part of his leadership and that type of deal. And I was like, 'I don't want to be the sacrificial lamb for your leadership.' (laughter). Come on man, that's messed up."

Simmons: "I want more of it. I don't want you guys to like each other. This is my biggest problem with this decade. I like that I'm not positive you and LeBron like each other (Curry starts laughing). Watching from afar, it doesn't seem like you like each other. I'm sure there's a mutual respect."

Curry: "There's definitely a mutual respect. I would say though when you see guys working out with each other in the summers and you see guys playing pickup and all that -- when you step foot on the court during the season, it's a totally different environment.

"Guys can be buddies and friends and whatnot and have whatever type of relationship they want to have in the summer and off the court, but the rivalry and competition and egos and all that stuff that lives in an NBA game and when you're trying to hold that trophy ... it's really there and it's not going anywhere."

Simmons: "I don't want you guys to get along. I want adverserial relationships."

Curry: "They're there. They're there. I promise you."

Good. That is awesome.

A couple other takeaways from the podcast:

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

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AP

Steph Curry unveils story behind why the Wolves didn't draft him: 'I hope it's true because that's hilarious'

With the fifth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Ricky Rubio.

With the sixth pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Minnesota Timberwolves select... Jonny Flynn.

With the seventh pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, the Golden State Warriors select... Stephen Curry.

And the rest is history.

As you all know, the man in charge of those selections -- David Kahn -- was fired in 2013 and no longer works in the NBA.

"My guy David Kahn. I don't know where he's at right now," Curry said on The Bill Simmons Podcast. "I don't know if that ever came out -- there's a story. Everybody knows how much I love golf -- play it in my spare time and what not.

"I think the word on the street was that he didn't draft me because in Minnesota it's cold and I wouldn't be able to play as much golf so I would have been miserable."

A shocked Simmons asked Curry: "Is that true?"

"I hope it's true because that's hilarious (laughter)," Curry said. "That's hilarious."

To which Simmons responded: "It was idiotic in the moment. I did a draft diary. I was going nuts. Because if you're gonna take two point guards, how are you not one of the two? And then if you're gonna go all-in on Rubio and you don't even know if he's gonna come over..."

Rubio didn't leave Spain for the NBA until the 2011-12 season, and a hip injury unfortunately ended Flynn's career after just two plus seasons.

There's no way we will ever find out if that golf story is true, but just like Steph... we certainly hope it is.

Drew Shiller is the co-host of Warriors Outsiders. Follow him on Twitter @DrewShiller