Green on Durant tiff: 'We're not going to crumble'
Says he and Durant are 'moving forward', vows to never 'change who I am'
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Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says the recent spat he and teammate Kevin Durant had doesn’t mean the sky is falling for the team at large.
“What happened a few nights ago, Kevin and I spoke. We’re moving forward,” Green said at Thursday afternoon’s shootaround. “There’s no secret that I am an emotional player. I wear my emotions on my sleeve, I play with that same emotion. Sometimes they get the best of me and it doesn’t work in my favor. I’m going to live with that because it works in my favor to the good — as my resume speaks and this team’s resume speaks — moreso than it doesn’t. So, I’m never going to change who I am.
“I’ve read a lot about how ‘is this the end of the run? Or ‘Is it over?’ Or ‘did I force Kevin to leave?’ … What you must know, nobody in this organization, from a player — not myself, not Kevin not anybody else — is going to beat us. If you’re one of them 29 other teams in this league, you’ve got to beat us. We’re not going to beat us. We’re going to continue to do what we do. I’m sorry if that ruins everybody’s stories.”
Green was suspended Tuesday for one game without pay for conduct detrimental to the team following an altercation a night earlier with Durant, though general manager Bob Myers declined to offer specifics on the All-Star forward’s behavior that was considered going too far. Myers and coach Steve Kerr collaborated on the decision.
Durant had not yet addressed the media Thursday, but he and Green were photographed on social media both entering shootaround together as well as shooting together on the same side of the court.
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant communicating positively on their way to the arena for shootaround. pic.twitter.com/hrOi3mJY5U
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) November 15, 2018
KD and Draymond shooting on the same court in front of reporters. Seems purposeful. pic.twitter.com/iDOBS6ki1W
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 15, 2018
In the closing seconds of regulation during Monday’s 121-116 overtime loss on the road to the Clippers, Green secured a rebound and, with Durant calling for the ball, instead dribbled the length of the court into traffic and lost control as the Warriors failed to get a shot off. Durant was shown on camera visibly upset immediately afterward.
Then, back on the bench waiting for the extra period to begin, the two traded words and gestured with Klay Thompson seated between them and Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and others trying to calm the situation.
Kerr said on Thursday he has faith that this disruption will not stop the Warriors from their bigger goals for the season.
“We met in the locker room before practice and went through our usual gameday routine,” Kerr said. “We addressed some things that will remain private. I know Kevin and Draymond have spoken. That’s as much as I’m going to reveal. I can tell you that I am extremely confident in this team’s ability to get through any adversity.
“I know what this team is made of … I know the character of the group. I know the history of this group. It’s way too strong and way too powerful to be upended by the type of adversity that may hit any team in the season.”
Green remained steadfast as well that this incident is not enough to shake the Warriors from their moorings.
“If this only makes Kevin, myself and the rest of my teammates stronger, that’s what it’s going to do,” Green said. “You think you saw something before, good luck with us now. We’re not going to crumble off of an argument. We’re going to move forward. That’s all I’ve got to say.”
For everyone who figures this franchise is perfect, Myers quickly cleared up that notion on Tuesday.
“It’s hard to win a championship. You can’t allow anything else in your locker room, in the narrative. This team has done a good job of that,” Myers said Tuesday. “I know it may appear as if it’s looked easy over the last however many years. It’s not. If you’re in our locker room, if you’re in our organization, it’s hard.
The Warriors made the announcement of Green’s suspension four hours before they were set to host Atlanta, and the 28-year-old Green served the suspension against the Hawks. Golden State won that game 110-103, but Green was not at the arena for it.
Jonas Jerebko started in place of Green and had season bests of 14 points and 14 rebounds. After the game, Durant’s first public comments were more cranky than conciliatory. While minimizing the incident — “(Expletive) happens in the NBA,” he said — Durant didn’t exactly bend over backwards to extend any olive branches.
“What happened, happened,” he said. “I don’t really think that matters at this point (whether he and Green are friendly).”
Myers and Kerr have long supported Green’s fiery nature that leads to technical fouls. Myers even sat with Green next door to Oracle Arena at the Oakland Coliseum when Green was suspended for a crucial Game 5 loss to LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the 2016 NBA Finals. The Warriors wound up losing in seven.
Green apologized after yelling at Kerr during halftime of a game at Oklahoma City in February 2016.
“My feeling on Draymond and his impact on our team doesn’t change. These things happen sometimes over the course of an NBA season,” Kerr said Tuesday. “We deal with it — again, internally — so any conversations that are happening or have happened it’s our business.”
This wasn’t the first verbal altercation between Durant, the two-time reigning NBA Finals MVP, and Green. In another overtime loss, 109-106 at Sacramento on Feb. 4, 2017, they shouted at each other and argued near the bench.
Kerr said he spoke to Green, who was part of the recruiting group that worked to sway Durant to the Bay Area from Oklahoma City before the 2016-17 season.
Green has been off to a strong start this season for the two-time defending NBA champions, averaging 7.5 points, 7.8 rebounds and 7.4 assists. Kerr has credited him for taking great care of the ball and establishing a tempo on both ends of the floor.
The game at Los Angeles marked Green’s return from a two-game absence with a sprained right foot and toe.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.