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.”
 

Kevon Looney's lifestyle change has allowed him to reach a new level

Kevon Looney's lifestyle change has allowed him to reach a new level

SALT LAKE CITY -- There was a time, not long ago, when folks around the NBA wondered if Kevon Looney's unforgiving hips could make it in the league. And the feeling among many Warriors fans was, well, that’s OK.

The Warriors drafted Looney nine days after winning their first championship in 40 years. They had Stephen Curry, their first MVP since moving to the West Coast in 1962. They had Steve Kerr, a coach in whom they could believe. They had Klay Thompson and Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, none older than 25. The future looked bright.

If Looney, selected with the team’s No. 1 pick in the 2015 draft, didn’t work out, no problem. The Warriors, playing the high risk/reward game, were open about his challenges, conceding from the start that he was a risk due to damaged hips that might not withstand the rigors of the NBA.

Two years and two surgeries later, in 2017-18, Looney was a solid contributor as the team won its third championship in four seasons. He started at center in Game 1 of the NBA Finals.

This season, as the Warriors chase their third consecutive championship, Looney clearly has a future in the NBA, probably with the team that drafted him.

“He’s just gained more confidence,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr says. “He’s more talkative; he’ll speak up in meetings. He knows he belongs. That’s really a key time in every player’s career, when you might make it the first couple years but you don’t really feel like you belong. He knows. He knows he belongs now. He’s going to have a long career, and a very productive one.”

Looney’s journey is about sheer perseverance and the highest levels of discipline. He always felt he could make it, so even in the darkest hours, when those surgically repaired hips were keeping him in the gym by day and awake at night, he never stopped believing.

“I know how far I’ve come,” he said. “It was frustrating coming back from the injuries. It was my first time going through something like that.”

Looney, 22, looked good last year. He still had a hitch in his gait, but he generally got where he needed to be. Through this training camp and the season opener on Tuesday night, he looks even better. The hitch is slight and he’s noticeably quicker.

The summer of 2017 was the first time he actually worked on his game, instead of going through rehab. The summertime is when most players seek to grow their games. After two seasons simply trying to get back to where he was, this was most encouraging.

But this past summer, spending endless hours in Los Angeles honing his game - even playing some one-on-one with teammate Kevin Durant -- is when Looney reached another level. It showed when the Warriors gathered in September.

“I’m excited about the growth I see in Loon,” Durant says.

“He had a great summer,’ Kerr says. “He looks great. For the second summer in a row, he’s put his body in position to perform at a high level. He’s been our best big in camp, and he had a fantastic first game.”

Looney played 18 minutes Tuesday night, finishing with 10 points and 10 rebounds. He was a team-best plus-23.

The single most significant factor in Looney’s progress was his devotion to conditioning. Seeing the results noted fitness trainer Amoila Cesar achieved with former Lakers forward Julius Randle, Looney reached out to Cesar in 2017, followed the regimen and came away with a new and far more sculpted physique.

A component of that is Looney developing a newfound dedication to diet, something that had been stressed earlier by veteran teammate Andre Iguodala, the team’s resident health nut.

“I wasn’t in shape my first two years,” Looney said. “I lifted hard, but I didn’t always eat right. I used to eat fast food a lot. I had to cut out fast food, cut back on most all fried foods, especially catfish and hot wings.

“Andre was telling me about this for two years, and I didn’t take it seriously until I had to.”

Looney dived into foods he once avoided. Kale. Spinach. Broccoli. Cauliflower. He rarely reaches for bread and even more rarely allows himself the guilty pleasure of his beloved flaming hot Doritos.

He doesn’t go to the dietary extremes to which Iguodala subjects himself -- no red meat, for example -- but Looney is reaping the benefits of a cleaner diet.

“I see something like that for Loon, and it’s got to be his routine -- but for the rest of his life,” Iguodala said. “I’m just trying to help him out.

“You don’t have to eat like me. But you have to be conscious of what you’re eating. You have to know yourself, know your body and know your DNA makeup. All of that plays a role into how long your career will be. You’ve got to have that in the back of your mind.”

When you sculpt your body well enough to go from the fringes of the NBA to a bright new future, it becomes easier to walk past the snack aisle at the grocery store.

The surgeries and lifestyle changes have erased all doubts about Looney having an NBA career. He’s past the can-he-make-it stage. He’s entering the how-good-can-he-be phase.

Which, at such young age, is a wonderful place to be.

Draymond Green knows 'the most important thing in contract negotiations'

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USATSI

Draymond Green knows 'the most important thing in contract negotiations'

Draymond Green will make just under $17.5 million this season and then just over $18.5 million next season.

He is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer of 2020 but he is actually eligible to sign an extension right now.

Because the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year still has two years remaining on his current contract, the maximum amount he could sign for today is just under $100 million over four seasons (starting in 2020-21). It's very unlikely Draymond agrees to an extension now because he would be leaving a lot of money on the table.

[RELATED: Report: Klay Thompson does not plan on giving Warriors free-agent discount]

Whether he inks a new contract sometime this season, or next summer or in July 2020, he told Anthony Slater of The Athletic that he will be a very active participant in the negotiations:

Sometimes, you get guys who leave it up to somebody else, leave it up to an agent and then blame the agent when it doesn’t go how they like. First off, you need to understand the business. You need to understand whatever it is you need to know.

The most important thing in contract negotiations as a player is understanding what’s in front of you. So often, guys don’t. That’s one thing I’ll always be.

When I took less money (on my last contract) when KD was coming, I knew everything I was doing. And then I made my decision. I would never look back and be like, 'Ah, I took less money, (my agent) B.J. (Armstrong), screwed me.'

Nah, I knew everything that was going on — I knew how much money we had, I knew our books, I knew what we’d have next year, I knew what the cap would be, I knew what was the most I could take, I knew what the max was. I knew everything. Then I made my decision. That’s how it should be.

Just learn the business. You’re a CEO of your business. You are a business and you are the CEO of that.

This should not come as a surprise to anybody. Draymond is the guy who reportedly filed for a "Hampton 5" trademark.

It will be fascinating to see how the contract situations with Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Draymond play out.

But that's a conversation for another day.

"That is something we’ll all talk about when that time is here," Draymond told The Athletic. "But it’s not now. We’re trying to win a championship. We’re not focusing on that now. But that’s something we definitely will talk about."

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