Draymond Green said Kevin Durant's free agency was the 'elephant in the room' and made Warriors teammates uncomfortable
Golden State Warriorsstar Draymond Greensaid Kevin Durant's looming free agency"was always an elephant in the room" throughout the 2018-19 season.
- Green likened the situation to that of Michael Jordan's 1997-98 Chicago Bulls, but said that the uncertainty the Warriors faced — and KD's refusal to address his future — made things even more tense.
- "What should have happened was Kevin come out and say, hey, like 'This is it, so let's do this' or 'This isn't it,'" Green said in an interview for Uninterrupted. "But you can't just leave the elephant in the room."
- When the media swarmed Green and teammate Klay Thompson for answers, Green was "stuck answering that question all the time" — unlike Durant, who tells the media to: "to 'Shut the f--- up.'"
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Kevin Durant's looming free agency decision during the 2018-19
Three-time NBA All-Star and Warriors bruiser Draymond Green said that Durant's refusal to give a definitive answer regarding his plan for the 2019-20 season "was always an elephant in the room" throughout their bid for a third consecutive NBA championship.
In an interview for Uninterrupted after the premiere of "The Last Dance," Green likened the situation to that of Michael Jordan's 1997-98 Chicago Bulls — who knew that it would be their final season playing together before stepping foot on the court.
Green added that the uncertainty the Warriors faced — and KD's refusal to address his future — made their situation even more tense, since the Bulls "didn't have that elephant."
"What should have happened was Kevin come out and say, hey, like 'This is it, so let's do this' or 'This isn't it,' you know what I'm saying," Green told Maverick Carter and Paul Rivera during the interview. "But you can't just leave the elephant in the room."
Green said that Durant's reluctance to speak candidly with the media and make a decision on the matter of his upcoming free agency resulted in undue pressure on Green and teammate Klay Thompson to provide answers.
Here's the key excerpt from Green's interview:
"What happened is the question came to us everyday," Green said. "Every time we spoke to the media, Klay [Thompson] and myself was asked about our contracts and it was strictly due to Kevin [Durant], because while that was going on, Klay was saying 'I want to be a Warrior forever.' ... I'm saying I want to be here for my career, we started this, we built this, I want to finish my career here with the guys I started it with. And then you kinda had Kevin 'I don't know what I'm going to do next year.'
"And it don't matter, but it does because you're not the only person that has to answer that question ... And to be quite frank with you, you're honestly the last person that has to answer that question because you don't really say s---, you don't say much to the media, if anything, you tell them to 'Shut the f--- up.' Well, I don't tell them to 'Shut the f--- up.' I kind of have a conversation. So I'm stuck answering that question all the time."
Green applauded then-Bulls head coach Phil Jackson for addressing the 1997-98 team's future head-on before the season even began because it took pressure off of everyone involved when dealing with the media.
He noted that Golden State head coach Steve Kerr — who played on that historic Bulls team — tried to use a similar technique to motivate the 2018-19 Warriors, but to little avail.
"Our situation was a little different," Green said. "Although Steve [Kerr's] approach was like 'Hey guys, let's enjoy this year because we don't know what next year brings' ... It didn't necessarily carry the same weight."
Green had engaged in some public arguments with Durant throughout the Slim Reaper's final season in the Bay Area.
In one such highly-publicized instance, the teammates exchanged heated words for nearly three minutes straight during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. The spat reportedly carried over into an intense locker-room dispute that centered on Durant's impending free agency — the exact issue Green addressed during his Uninterrupted interview this week.
After rupturing his Achilles tendon during that season's NBA Finals, Durant left Golden State to sign a four-year, $164 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets and team up with Kyrie Irving. That same summer, both Thompson and Green agreed to stay with the Warriors.
Check out Green's full interview for Uninterrupted below:
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