One of the great “what if’s” in the NBA is what would’ve happened had Kevin Durant not left the Golden State Warriors after the 2018-19 season. For starters, the superteam of Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden in Brooklyn wouldn’t have happened, and perhaps Golden State manages to win another championship, or at least make it to the NBA Finals in either of the past two seasons.
Ever since leaving Golden State, there’s been intrigue into what made Durant bolt for Brooklyn. Many have pointed to an argument Durant got into with Draymond Green back in 2018 as one of the sticking points. For context, the argument in question came at the start of the 2018-19 season after an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Durant was upset with Green’s decision-making at the end of regulation, and the argument spilled out into the locker room with Green challenging Durant on his impending free agency that summer. Green was ultimately suspended for one game for conduct detrimental to the team, and it was a talking point over the rest of the season.
When Durant ended up leaving Golden State in free agency after the Warriors fell to the Toronto Raptors in the NBA Finals that summer, some pointed to the rocky relationship between him and Green as a reason for it. On Tuesday, while talking to Green on his new show “Chips”, Durant said that while the argument itself didn’t play a role, how it was handled certainly did.
“It wasn’t the argument, it was the way that everybody, Steve Kerr acted like it didn’t happen,” Durant said. “Bob Myers then tried to just discipline you and think that would put the mask over everything. I really felt like that was such a big situation for us as a group, the first time we went through something like that. We had to get that s— all out.
“I remember watching “The Last Dance” and when Scottie [Pippen] didn’t go into the game, the whole team in the locker room said, ‘Scottie, that was f—– up that you did that.’ We needed that. We just needed to throw all of that s— out on the table and say ‘Yo Dray, like that was f—– up that we even had to go through that. Let’s just wipe our hands of that and go finish the task.’ I don’t think we did that. We tried to dance around it. I just didn’t like how all of that, just the vibe between all of that, it just made s— weird to me. I’d rather us be who we say we are. Family first, communication is key. We didn’t show that. And that’s what rubbed me the wrong way more than anything.”
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In response, Green shared how Warriors general manager Bob Myers and the rest of Golden State’s brass told him he needed to apologize to Durant. Although Green agreed in that sentiment, he didn’t want to be told what to say to smooth things over.
“Ultimately, they realized ‘All right, we’re not getting through to him, we’re gonna try again in the morning,'” Green said. “So, we met the next morning and they said ‘You slept on it, are you ready to apologize?’ And I told them right then and there, I said, ‘Y’all about to f— this up.’ The only person that can make this right is me and K. And there is nothing that y’all can do, and y’all are going to f— this up. And in my opinion they f—– it up.”
Durant agreed with Green when he said the Warriors’ brass “f—– it up,” by trying to force the situation too much while at the same time acting like nothing happened. If that situation happened differently, perhaps Durant is still on the Warriors. But when Green asked if he regretted leaving Golden State knowing that if he would’ve stayed the could’ve won five more championships, Durant said he wouldn’t change his decision at all.
“Nah I don’t have any regrets at all,” Durant said. “I felt like we did exactly what we were supposed to do, and I wish we would have three-peated because that’s rare and we were like right there. But I don’t have any regrets at all, because I felt like if we’d stayed healthy with the Nets [this year], we had a great chance of finishing too. So, nah, I mean, being hurt for that year really changed my perspective on everything I was doing and everything I did before. I looked at that time with playing with the Warriors as so special to me, but it was time to move on.”