The 2020-21 NBA season will serve as the first year a fully healthy Warriors squad will try to contend for an NBA title without Kevin Durant since the two-time NBA Finals MVP left for the Brooklyn Nets last summer.
Likewise, it will be the first season Durant will try to carve out his own legacy in Brooklyn after missing all of this past season while rehabbing his ruptured Achilles.
"We're always motivated to try to win a championship, whether that's with KD or it's not," Green said Tuesday on ESPN's "Jalen and Jacoby." "There's not added motivation with him leaving. We're competitors, we're champions, and we're going to continue to try to raise our level of play to that level in order to finish what we started. And that started before KD, so it's not like we need to rally around this whole notion that KD's not here anymore. We know what it takes to win a championship and that's what we're going to rally around."
Durant's exodus shouldn't be any fuel for a championship core that went to five straight NBA Finals. The Warriors were champions long before Durant arrived. They've already proved they could win without him, and with Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Green still in their prime there is every reason to expect they'll be one of the best teams in the NBA next season.
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The Warriors were left battered, broken and exhausted from five straight Finals runs. They needed a season to recuperate and recalibrate their dynastic path. With Thompson missing the entire season while rehabbing a torn ACL, and Curry playing only five games due to a broken hand, Steve Kerr got a chance to try out a number of young players while his stars rested and waited.
A different, more dangerous Warriors team will take the floor next season. That's a given. Winning more championships is the goal, but Green knows nothing is certain in sports.
"I definitely think we'll return to a high level of play," Green said. "To say that we're going to return to championship level, that's never guaranteed. I don't care if you bring the same exact team back that you won a championship with the year before. Every year is different, every year takes on a life of its own. We'll definitely be adding key pieces back in, in Steph and Klay, and also continue to build Kevon Looney, (who) will be healthy. That's important. We have a few young guys with more experience under their belt, so definitely looking forward to next year and returning to a high level of play. Hopefully we can come together and get the chemistry back and push for another championship or two."
With Curry, Thompson, Green and Andrew Wiggins, the Warriors have a nucleus that can rival any team in the NBA. With a top-five draft pick coming and a $17.2 million trade exception to use this offseason, general manager Bob Myers has the tools at his disposal to complete the construction of the post-KD Warriors.
Winning without Durant might not be at the front of their mind next season and might not be in it at all. But Curry, Thompson and Green have heard the whispers of their demise and watched teams relish is dismantling a wounded Warriors team without its full arsenal.
All of that should be motivation enough to prove they aren't done yet.