3:31pm: In the midst of their verbal altercation on Monday, Green challenged Durant about KD’s upcoming free agency, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets that the incident has been a “simmering issue” for the Warriors today.
1:49pm: Warriors team officials were working on Tuesday to deal with the aftermath of an emotional end-of-game confrontation between Draymond Green and teammates, including Kevin Durant, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc J. Spears.
As Nick Friedell of ESPN.com detailed late last night, Green and Durant exchanged heated words during Monday’s game against the Clippers after a sequence at the end of regulation — Green grabbed a defensive rebound, dribbled up the floor, and committed a turnover while Durant appeared to be calling for the ball. As a result of the missed opportunity, the game went into overtime, with Golden State eventually losing to L.A.
Green and Durant both appeared visibly agitated on the court, with teammates calming them down before the start of overtime. The two All-Stars left the locker room after the game without speaking to reporters, but Wojnarowski and Spears suggest that some Warriors players “loudly confronted” Green in the locker room for his decision-making on that play.
While no one had to be separated and “no hint of physicality loomed in the setting,” according to Wojnarowski and Spears, some of ESPN’s sources described it as one of the most intense altercations of this Warriors era. A few of Green’s teammates took exception with his choice to keep the ball instead of passing it to Durant during those final moments of regulation, and Green was “forceful” in defending himself, sources tell ESPN.
Anthony Slater of The Athletic suggests (via Twitter) that most of the tension stemmed less from the result of the final play itself and more from Green’s strong defense of it and his unwillingness to acknowledge a possible mistake.
Occasional heated arguments aren’t uncommon in NBA locker rooms and this one is hardly a major red flag for the 11-3 Warriors, who still sit atop the Western Conference. Nonetheless, with Durant eligible for unrestricted free agency at season’s end and rumors already flying about his looming decision, incidents like this one figure to be put under the microscope over the course of the season. For what it’s worth, while Durant and Green didn’t speak to the media after Monday’s game, veteran guard Shaun Livingston downplayed the dispute.
“Just team spirit,” Livingston said, per Friedell. “Team spirit. Guys wanted a different outcome than what happened. Obviously, Dray had the turnover. Guys might have thought they were open or wanted the basketball, didn’t get it. Things happen like that in sports. But it was good to see some fire, some emotion.”