Warriors

Draymond sheds light on recruiting Durant, meeting in Hamptons

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Draymond sheds light on recruiting Durant, meeting in Hamptons

Last Friday, a group that included Joe Lacob, Bob Myers, Steve Kerr, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala met with Durant in The Hamptons.

At 8:38am on Monday morning, Kevin Durant announced that he would sign a two-year deal with the Warriors, that includes a player option in Year 2.

[RELATED: Kevin Durant chooses Warriors over Thunder]

At 10:10am, Draymond tweeted the following:

"Welcome to THE FAMILY @KDTrey5 let's just do what we are setting out to do!! #Blockoutthenoise"

Shortly thereafter, Draymond spoke with Alex Kennedy of Sports Illustrated.

Below is the full transcript:

Alex Kennedy: What was your initial reaction when you heard the news? How did you find out?

Draymond Green: “Initially, I was in bed and then Charlie [Bell]—Kevin’s business manager and best friend—texted me. When he texted me, I jumped up. But he didn’t say, ‘Yo, we’re coming there’ or ‘KD is coming.’ He just said, ‘Let’s get it.’ It was something like that, so I’m thinking, ‘Okay, he’s joking with me.’ And then it hit the waves and Twitter and I saw it come through on Bleacher Report app. Then, I jumped out of bed and paced back and forth. I’m in a hotel room in Michigan, just pacing for 15 to 20 minutes.

“I’m so excited. I think this is definitely one of the biggest moves in NBA history. And I say that because I think [Kevin] is one of the best players in NBA history. I’m excited, and I’m excited for KD. He has put himself in the position where he’s done everything he can do. He deserves the right to make his own decision and do what makes him happiest. At the end of the day, he has worked in this league for nine years and he gave OKC nine tremendous years that he’s thankful for and that they’re thankful for. But there comes a time in life where everyone deserves to make a decision that they think is right for them. And I’m happy that he’s able to do that, and that I’m a part of the team that he chose.”

AK: You aren’t just part of the team, you’ve been a main recruiter over the last year. You’ve had a lot of conversations and text message exchanges. What were you telling him and what was your pitch?

Green: “I mean, I was really just telling him about the fun we have together—the fun that this team has and how he would be welcome here with open arms. And it’s not about ‘I’ with us on this team. It’s all about ‘we’ and winning championships. He fits that mold perfectly because that’s who he is. It doesn’t take him changing his whole game or changing his personality to come join us. He’s just going to be Kevin.”

AK:​ That was my next question. Some guys may not have been willing to do this, either because of their ego or their style of play. How perfect is this fit on and off the court?

Green: “I think it’s a great fit. The way we play defense, he can play defense that way. On the offensive end, he shoots the ball just as well as anyone in the NBA. I think one thing that he really adds to us is that he’s a guy who can get a bucket at any time, in any way. When you’re talking about guys who can score from every area on the floor, you’re talking about Kevin Durant. But the thing that I’m most excited about is the defensive end—the length that he adds to our defense. I just keep thinking of how incredible that’s going to be.”

AK:​ Every member of your ‘Big Four’ is 28 years old or younger. Your championship window is wide open. Has there been talk about how many titles you guys can win together and how this can be a potential dynasty (even though that word gets thrown around a lot)?

Green: “It’s very attractive because, like you said, we are young. That’s what we’re setting out to do. We’re trying to be as great as we can possibly be. That’s what is so interesting about this. We’re trying to set out and do things that will be remembered in this league forever. It’s very exciting, when you think of the possible upside of this.”

AK:​ You no longer have to guard him. How exciting is that?

Green: “Well, I’ll have to guard him every day in practice (laughs). That’s a little less intense than a game though. I’m definitely happy. He’s one of the greatest scorers to play this game and it’s good to play with him and not guard him. That makes my job easier.”

AK:​ What was the actual meeting with KD like? What was the reception?

Green: “It was great. He was very receptive. He was attentive, and he and his team had questions that we answered. Overall, it was a great vibe in the meeting. I think we all just really meshed from the very start.”

AK:​ You guys just won 73 games. I know you have a bad taste in your mouth after the NBA Finals, but what are the expectations for next year now?

Green: “We’re never going into a season saying that we’re trying to beat 73 wins. Every season, we are trying to win the championship. That’s the goal, and that has always been the goal. We won 73 games and didn’t win a championship this year, so who cares about 73? There’s no point in going into the season saying, ‘Hey, can this team beat 73 wins?’ It doesn’t matter.

“The goal is to win a championship. Every team enters the season with the goal to win the championship, but realistically there are five or six teams with a realistic shot at winning a championship. That will continue to be our goal.”

AK:​ Now, your front office has to fill out the roster and put players around the All-Stars. You recruited Kevin Durant so well, will you continue to recruit free agents in the coming days and weeks?

Green: “I’ll do whatever I have to do to give us the best possible chance to win. When I do things, I’m all-in. I’m all-in for this organization. Whatever they need me to do, that’s what I’m going to do. That’s just who I am as a person.”

AK:​ I know this is an exciting day, but now Harrison Barnes, Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezezli among others may be moving on. Is it somewhat bittersweet losing those guys since you guys are such a close team?

Green: “Absolutely, and that’s always the case. But that’s the business that we’re in. There are some things [and relationships] that you create that last longer than careers or what happens in basketball.”

AK:​ Is this kind of surreal for you? A few years ago, you were a second-round pick and not getting much attention. Now, you’re a champion, an All-Star, you inked a big contract and you were a huge part of recruiting Kevin Durant to your team. Take me through these last few years. Are we all living in Draymond Green’s dream?

Green: “Man, it’s definitely surreal. It’s been a great few years for me and I don’t take any of this stuff for granted. I put in a lot of work, that’s for sure. It didn’t come easy. To see all of the work paying off, I’m definitely thankful for it.”
 

Steve Kerr, Chris Long challenge white star athletes to disavow racism

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USATSI

Steve Kerr, Chris Long challenge white star athletes to disavow racism

The war on injustice and oppression has been waged by millions over centuries, and the only aspect to undergo substantive change is the death toll.

Every small advance, however, has come with a racially collaborative effort, which is proof that folks of different hues can share the same goal. As long as this is true, there is reason for hope.

Though it’s much too soon to conclude the killing of George Floyd at the knee of a Minneapolis police officer is a tipping point in America, it’s absolutely evident that more people across the human paint spectrum are willing to confront our most enduring sin.

Which is why it is encouraging to hear white voices growing in numbers and getting louder. Two of the most visible, Warriors coach Steve Kerr and former NFL star Chris Long, are calling for others to join them.

“We have to decide, as white people, that enough is enough,” Kerr said on Long’s “Green Light” podcast.

“We need athletes to talk about this stuff,” Long said. “We need white voices. We need people to stand together right now and be on the same team . . . and just call it for what it is. In sports, for whatever reason, there aren’t a ton of white athletes who feel comfortable doing that.”

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

Long pointed out that one of his former teammates, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, was among the few to issue a statement last week, after seeing video of Floyd’s death, decrying the “institutional racism” that people of color live with on a daily basis.

That, however, is only a start.

“Who’s going to be the first white franchise quarterback, a big name in our sport, that can move mountains,” Long said, “to come out and talk about this stuff?”

That, folks, is a call to the likes of Tom Brady and Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers and Ben Roethlisberger, all marquee names with Super Bowl bona fides.

[RELATED: Curry, Kerr outraged by Floyd's death]

Considering the crisis at hand, they’re all fair game. As are the big-name college football coaches, who are revered in some parts of the country and have parlayed African-American talent into generational wealth.

“For somebody who wants to be involved, admitting there is racism or that you might have a leg up, doesn’t make you a bad person,” Long said. “It doesn’t mean you haven’t worked hard. It just means that it’s harder for somebody else. Let’s even the playing field.”

Kerr and Long know this is a big ask. They also realize leadership is one of the requirements of making America a better place. Doesn't leadership begin with those of power and influence?

Moreover, how can one be described as a leader without getting involved?

“I’ve got friends who are in the thick of it, in the inner city, who are really fighting hard for equality and for the lives of people are impoverished,” Kerr said. “I’ve learned from them and I tend to call them and ask: ‘What can I do?’”

The first step, Kerr concedes, is addressing the issue.

“When I think of it in terms of the big picture in our country, in our nation’s history, the real problem is that we’ve never really reconciled our sins from the past,” Kerr said. “We haven’t really.”

“The impact (of slavery), the generational impact, on families, the only way for us to reconcile it is to address them.”

Aware that some contend slavery, because it was abolished 157 years ago, is something to be ignored or forgotten, Long astutely pointed out the fallacy of that, saying it has been replaced by various iterations, some of which exist in 2020.

Most notably, that is, in the all-too-antagonistic relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans.

Kerr and Long are not alone. Others, Gregg Popovich and Megan Rapinoe to name two, have long been willing to address inequality. Other sports figures, such as Zach and Julie Ertz, along with J.J. Watt, have spoken up in recent days.

Still, many more sports “heroes” should search themselves for the courage to acknowledge injustice, speak on it and take positive action.

“Hopefully, we can, inch by inch, claw our way to a place that we can be comprehensively proud of the country we live in,” Long said. “Because I am proud to be an American.

“But there’s a big asterisk next to it.”

[RELATED: Kerr did 'soul-searching' after Floyd's death]

That asterisk has become massive in recent years and downright explosive in recent days. There literally is war in the streets, and war always means suffering.

Until there is appreciably greater cooperation from the privileged top of American society, most of which remains silent, the body count will rise, with martyrs recognized or not, continuing to stack up.

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]

2020 NBA mock draft 8.0: Projecting Warriors, Kings' first-round picks

2020 NBA mock draft 8.0: Projecting Warriors, Kings' first-round picks

It’s mock draft time!

We are getting closer and closer to a potential return of NBA basketball. That means we will eventually have final standings, followed by a lottery and sometime later this summer, an actual draft.  

There is still a lot that can change between now and draft night. Players will either help or hurt themselves during a modified interview process and there is still a sliver of hope that there will be a combine and draft visits down the road as the league attempts to work under the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic.

To add a more realistic spin to the mock, we’ve turned to the draft simulator on Tankathon.com to randomize the lottery order. Here is a look at NBC Sports California’s 2020 Mock Draft 8.0.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MOCK DRAFT 8.0

[SPORTS UNCOVERED: Listen to the latest episode]