Warriors

Warriors

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.