Warriors

Draymond Green sounds off on how Kevin Durant handled 2019 free agency

Draymond Green sounds off on how Kevin Durant handled 2019 free agency

Draymond Green had something to get off his chest, and the premiere of "The Last Dance" documentary helped him do it.

A day after ESPN debuted the first two episodes of the 10-part series, Green went on Uninterrupted's "WRTS: The After Party" and spoke about how Kevin Durant's free agency, which loomed over the Warriors last year.

Specifically, Green was asked if Durant had handled his free agency much like the Chicago Bulls' management had done things heading into the 1997-98 season, where they told the team and the public that the current roster and coaches would not be returning for the 1998-99 season, no matter what happened.

If Durant had made his declaration early, would that have made things better?

"Because, what should have happened was Kevin come out and say, hey, like 'This is it, so let's do this.' Or 'This isn't it,' you know what I'm saying," Green told Maverick Carter and Paul Rivera. "But you can't just leave the elephant in the room, because what happened is the question came to us everyday. Every time we spoke to the media, Klay [Thompson] and myself was asked about our contracts and it was strictly due to Kevin, because while that was going on, Klay was saying 'I want to be a Warrior forever. Like, I want to be here, we started this thing. This is where I want to be.' I'm saying I want to be here for my career, we started this, we built this, I want to finish my career here with the guys I started it with.

"And then you kinda had Kevin 'I don't know what I'm going to do next year.' And it don't matter, but it does because you're not the only person that has to answer that question. And to be quite frank with you, you're honestly the last person that has to answer that question because you don't really say s--t, you don't say much to the media, if anything, you tell them to 'Shut the f---k up.' Well, I don't tell them to 'Shut the f--k up.' I kind of have a conversation. So I'm stuck answering that question all the time."

"And due to that, there was always an elephant in the room amongst us as opposed to them. [The Bulls] didn't have that elephant."

Wow.

There's a lot ot unpack there.

As is well documented, Durant kept signing 1+1 contracts with the Warriors. He signed three such contracts, never fully committing to the team despite winning NBA titles in first two years in the Bay Area.

It would have been stunning for Durant to re-sign with the Warriors after winning back-to-back titles and then say he wasn't coming back after that season. Yes, it appeared Durant wasn't happy for much of his second season with the Warriors. But he committed for a third season.

Now, if Durant knew at some point during the 2018-19 season that he wasn't coming back, which is the most likely scenario, maybe Draymond has a point. But Durant couldn't publicly say he wouldn't return to the Warriors in the middle of the season. That would have caused a media firestorm no one in the organization wanted, and Durant would have lost leverage in free agency because he would have ruled out a suitor.

But Green is right. Durant's impending free agency hung over the Warriors like a 10,000-pound weight -- like an elephant. It didn't necessarily stop the Warriors from winning three straight NBA titles -- devastating injuries did -- but Durant's situation didn't help matters. There always was tension around the team.

Green, Durant and Thompson all faced free agency questions last year. Green and Thompson handled it the right way, and eventually signed long-term contracts to stay with the Warriors.

[RELATED: Durant compares Steph to Jordan]

But with Durant remaining non-committal to the Warriors, he left his teammates and his coaches to answer unnecessary questions.

Durant now is a member of the Brooklyn Nets, and we are left to psychoanalyze what caused him to leave a team that dominated the NBA in a way few have.

Should healthy Warriors be considered title contenders next season?

Should healthy Warriors be considered title contenders next season?

Some of the best, and let's be honest, worst, conversations regarding the Warriors reside on social media.

Strong voices and opinions of Dub Nation defend or criticize their squad, not afraid to share their thoughts with absolute authority. Many of these personalities live on Twitter, where everyone can be a general manager, coach, critic, troll and hot-taker. 

In the second installment of our Warriors Twitter Roundtable, we will share a five-part series of questions designed to touch on the major conversations floating around the Warriors Twitter world. Answering the questions will be a panel of some of the more prominent and revered voices within the community.

Part 1 had our panel name the five best players in the NBA. Here is Part 2.

With Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins completely healthy, should the Warriors go into next season considered "contenders"?

@poormanscommish: I think Game 6 of the 2019 Western Conference Semifinals at the Houston Rockets, as well as the two series after that, proved the Warriors could do some damage without Kevin Durant. So even though the word “contenders” is subjective, I’ll just go ahead and say yes -- and it’s a “HECK YEAH!” if Kevon Looney is healthy, which I realize is a big “if”.

Here’s another guess: All the Warriors guys also feel that way, but they won’t ever publicly say that, so as to not throw KD under the bus (standard NBA fraternity stuff).

@samesfandiari: It depends who they sign around them. I feel confident saying they have the right foundation to be competitive, but they lack a full roster. If they sign two to three solid veterans, say Marc Gasol, I feel very comfortable at their chances vs. the LA teams or Milwaukee.

But until then, it's to be determined -- great foundation, close, but a few unknowns.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

@Jannelle12: Yes, they should. Otherwise, why bother? Health is one thing. Them being rested is a given. What I'm looking at is motivation and after a lost season, they are very motivated.

Don't you think Steph has seen the disrespect? Klay? Draymond? They will be driven to return to contention, and I wouldn't bet against it. 

@AndyKHLiu: It depends what contenders mean. Can the Warriors win the title? Yes. Are they assured a Western Conference Finals appearance? Maybe.

It also depends how Joe Lacob and the front office creates around the margins. Let's say they don't bring anyone in better than the top four players. How much depth can they create? How do they judge risk on bringing in vets vs. high-risk talent/luxury tax players? 

Something tells me the Warriors do something crazy instead of sitting idly by and picking up safe veterans. The D'Angelo Russell and Andrew Wiggins trades tell us that the Warriors are willing to try off-the-wall ideas even during a pandemic. 

[RELATED: What Kerr learned about Wiggins from talking to Thibodeau]

@GSWReddit: The Warriors should be considered contenders next season, although they will have some major depth concerns they are going to need to address this offseason, and they definitely shouldn’t be considered the clear-cut favorites or close to it by any means. Teams like the Lakers and Clippers have significantly more depth alongside their star power and will probably be closer to a title.

The Warriors will have to try to bridge the gap in that department to be on more level terms, but with the core four they already have in place, they will be among the best teams in the league for sure.

My take (@grantliffmann): If the definition of a contender is a team's ability to contend for a title, then how can you count out Curry, Thompson and Green?

Health is the biggest factor in all of this. If a contender is defined by a team that has a great chance of winning the title, then the Warriors definitely will need roster upgrades with limited resources. Adding the right pieces on the trade exception and MLE, as well as through the NBA draft (including perhaps trading the pick), would give the Warriors a legitimate shot at being in the upper echelon of the teams with the best odds of winning the title.

Pretty impressive for a squad that was the worst team in the league just one year prior.

Bomani Jones cites example for why Steph Curry isn't clear superstar

Bomani Jones cites example for why Steph Curry isn't clear superstar

ESPN's Bomani Jones -- who said some stuff about Steph Curry the last couple of weeks that caused quite the stir -- had more to say about the two-time NBA MVP on Monday.

When he was a guest on 95.7 The Game, host Matt Kolsky made the following statement: "I think the way Warriors fans feel a lot of the times is you talk about him like he's just an All-Star -- which is a nice way to talk about a normal person, and a disrespectful way to talk about Steph Curry."

Jones used the opportunity to double down on his rationale for why the three-time NBA champion isn't in the same tier as LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard or Giannis Antetokounmpo.

"He's in that weird space on superstar. I am notoriously strict on who I call a superstar," he explained. "This doesn't have anything to do with Steph Curry. I'll name only three or four people in the league at a time as being superstars. I did JJ Redick's podcast and he made the point that if Steph doesn't get locked up by Kevin Love, am I saying the thing about him and his ability to get his own shot? Maybe.

"The more damning thing that happened in 2016, is the fact that when it was time to win a championship, the (Cleveland Cavaliers) were running ball screen, ball screen, ball screen until they got a 1-on-1 matchup with Steph Curry. And I don't know if there's ever been a player as good as Steph Curry where that would happen.

"And that's something that when we start thinking about who superstars have historically been -- larger players who can do everything, or be incredibly dominant centers ... in the eyes of many, (Steph) has a demerit on defense that is normally disqualifying for being legitimately seen as a great player -- even though he's a better defensive player than people give him credit for being."

In the 2016 NBA Finals, the Cavs did repeatedly attack Steph -- which was smart because his knee wasn't 100 percent, and he was starting to wear down (plus the Warriors' other players were better defenders).

So in a nutshell, it's very safe to assume the Game 7 sequence of Kyrie Irving hitting the iconic stepback 3-pointer over Steph, followed by Steph missing the potential game-tying 3-pointer on Kevin Love, has greatly impacted Jones' mindset.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

If he continues to hold that against Curry to this day, that's his prerogative. But we need to remind people about Jones' original comment from his own podcast on July 24 that triggered this whole conversation:

"This is my metric for (NBA) superstar -- do you have a chance to win a championship just because we got you? We'll work the rest out, but if the first thing you tell me is that this guy plays for us, then we got a chance to do this ... I feel like even with a healthy Stephen Curry, you gotta put some fairly specific things around him."

As yours truly wrote at the time, that argument is silly. Even Michael Jordan needed "specific things around him" to have a "chance" at capturing the title. We don't need to spend any more time on that narrative.

[RELATED: Steph tweets veiled response to 'system player' critique]

So let's close with one other topic Jones touched on.

"I do think that we saw both in the 2015 postseason and 2016 postseason, the Warriors needed at least one other player who could get his own shot," he said. "They went and got one of the most incredible shot makers (Kevin Durant) that there has ever been.

"But it wasn't Steph's fault that they needed another guy that could get his own shot. I think people got mad at me on the podcast because I said something to the effect that Steph (isn't) able to get his own shot. That's something I shouldn't have said. The phrasing on it was clunky.

"But you can only go so far with one guy who can get his own shot. And it's pretty amazing that they won a championship (in 2015) with a team with one guy that can get his own shot. They just went and found something that is hard to find, which is a player that is better than Steph Curry."

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