Draymond Green and Kevin Durant

USA Today

Draymond Green's Suspension

Nothing more to that story, right? Ehhh, not exactly.

November 14, 2018 - 1:48 pm
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The Golden State Warriors beat the Atlanta Hawks 110-103 last night and they did it without Steph Curry and Draymond Green. Nothing to see here. Nothing more to that story, right? Ehhh, not exactly.

Because last night had absolutely nothing to do with the game. And everything to do with Draymond being suspended following Monday night’s incident with Kevin Durant in the loss to the Clippers.

So let’s reset. Facing the Clippers, with the scored tied at 106, Green pulled down a rebound in front of Durant with five seconds left. Durant called for the ball, but Draymond drove up the court and then lost control of the ball and time ran out.

When they went to the sideline before the start of overtime, that’s when things got hot. Durant appears to say to Green: “Pass me the bleeping ball. G D!”

Probably not the first time Kevin Durant has said that to a teammate. And there’s a decent chance it’s not the first time Draymond has heard that from a teammate. All in all, a rather innocuous, heat of the moment, shout. 

Or maybe not…because According to The Athletic, Draymond fired back with “who the bleep are you talking to?”

The Athletic also reported that “According to multiple sources, Green then went on to make it clear he’s been making plays for years. He reminded Durant the Warriors were winning before Durant showed up so he wouldn’t stand for Durant talking to him as if he were a scrub. Green accused Durant of making the whole season about him even though he was going to leave after this season. Green let out his frustrations about how Durant has handled free agency — keeping his options open and keeping the story alive, consuming the Warriors and their season with talk of what Durant will do next.”

Oh, and “That’s the mild version. The original version included Green calling Durant a “bitch” several times”

And now it’s not just a case of two teammates arguing over the last shot in a tie game: And that’s why Green was suspended for last night’s game by the team. 

It’s an interesting move because they could’ve fined him and just had him sit out the game, without making a suspension public. But they publicly announced a suspension and costing Green 120 grand in a game check.

Was it over the top? And did that escalate the stakes or end the whole thing completely? The Warriors are betting it’s the former. But it’s probably not.

Look, it’s not the first time that Green and Durant have gotten into it during a game. They both run hot. And then they patch it up fairly quickly, but obviously, the organization felt this wasn’t just one of those, heat of the moment, man, these guys really just want to win, deals. Or even a that’s just Draymond being Draymond deals. By suspending him, without pay, they clearly felt like he went too far, crossed the line and they were looking to send a message. That Green disrespected Durant and that they were backing Durant and holding Draymond accountable.

And knowing how Bob Myers and Steve Kerr run things, and the way they have a finger on the pulse of the locker room, there’s a damn good chance that they’re right. There’s a damn good chance that Durant might really feel offended by what Green said and that he would be looking for them to have his back. 

And there’s yet another, funky side to this as well. Because according to multiple reports, Green might not be the only guy in the locker room who isn’t exactly thrilled with how Durant has talked about free agency. Klay Thompson and Draymond Green will both get to free agency in the coming years and they’ve both said they want to stay with the Warriors for life. Durant most definitely has not said that. He hasn’t quieted any rumors and certainly hasn’t declared that he wants to stay with Golden State. And it seems to bother some guys. That it’s become distraction because he’s handled it. And what was a shadow, now feels like the elephant in the room right now. 

And it’s not over. Durant didn’t seem to be rushing to put it in the rear view after last night’s game. He certainly didn’t say it was all good and that he and Green have worked it all out. In fact, he said he and Green haven’t even discussed it.  

Even Steve Kerr wasn’t his normal chatty self with the media yesterday, except when he was asked about his famous practice fight with Michael Jordan and responded: “By the way, I kicked MJ's ass."

Here’s the thing: if Kevin Durant leaves next summer, it won’t be because of what happened Monday night. It will be for any number of reasons, but it probably won’t be because Draymond blasted him during a timeout. Or called him a bitch. Repeatedly. If anything, that’s the symptom, not the disease.

Is this going to destroy the Warriors and their drive for three in three and four in five? Doubtful. There’s so much talent on that roster, but beyond that, there’s so much wisdom in that locker room and in that front office. The IQ and emotional intelligence in this group is so high and so strong, that this won’t derail it. The leaders in that locker room and in the front office won’t let that happen.

So you can stop freaking out and claiming that the season is over and the Warriors have lost it in mid-November. Because it’s not over and they haven’t lost it. It’s only just begun.

And it continues tomorrow night with, wait for it….the Houston Rockets. Golden State at Houston. Draymond. Durant. Melo. Think there will be much to talk about before, during, and after that game?