Draymond Green

Warriors Notes: Curry, Durant, Green, Lacob

Stephen Curry made his first public comments Saturday on the Kevin DurantDraymond Green altercation, trying to smooth over an incident that some have suggested could lead to the end of the Warriors‘ dynasty, relays Nick Friedell of ESPN.

“I think the way we’ve handled it as a team, the way Draymond’s handled it, the way KD’s handled it, it’s been nothing but professionalism and understanding that it’s about the team,” Curry told reporters before Saturday’s game. “And the conversations that we’ve all had, whether it’s one-on-one, as a team, is keeping that in mind. We have the opportunity to do something extremely special this year. There’s going to be ups and downs and bumps in the road, whether it’s self-inflicted or whether it’s from outside.”

The Warriors suspended Green for one game for a verbal tirade against Durant in an overtime loss to the Clippers. Durant was calling for the ball at the end of regulation, but Green kept it and committed a turnover. Durant snapped at Green and he unleashed an angry response in which he referenced Durant’s upcoming free agency and allegedly said, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.”

“They have a lot of equity built in their relationship,” Curry said of Durant and Green. “We’ve won championships together. They’ve brought out the best in each other. Obviously, I don’t think they’ve had an incident to this level, but you don’t have the experiences you’ve had and go through the journey that we’ve been on and let it be derailed by something like that. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are things that need to be worked through. That’s like any relationship in life. But at the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be a reason that we don’t win a championship this year. I can roll with that.”

There’s more Warriors news this morning:

  • Curry, who has missed the past five games, is making progress with a strained left groin, even though he won’t be re-evaluated for another week, Friedell adds in the same story. “Progress is moving in the right direction,” Curry said. “Haven’t had any setbacks or anything like that. But it’s more so about getting full range of motion, doing so where it’s pain-free and things like that. I’m learning about this one. I can tell you everything you want to know about ankles. But this is obviously a new one for me, so trying to make sure I stay cautious, but knowing that we’re moving in the right direction. So I don’t know how long it will be, but that’s all I can pretty much ask for.”
  • Owner Joe Lacob denies that the decision to suspend Green and not Durant means the organization is taking sides in their dispute, relays Al Saracevic of The San Francisco Chronicle“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about. That we’re choosing one person over another,” Lacob said. “We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.” He said the decision to discipline Green was “totally a management issue” and complimented GM Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr on how they handled it.
  • There’s still time to vote in our poll on Durant’s future beyond this season.

Draymond Green To Miss Saturday’s Game With Toe Injury

The Warriors will be without Draymond Green for the fourth time in the team’s last six games as he will miss Saturday’s matchup against the Mavericks due to a right toe sprain, the team announced.

Head coach Steve Kerr said the team will rest Green for a little while before he returns to the court, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link).

“We decided to give him some time off. Don’t know how long it’ll be,” Kerr said. “The toe [sprain] is lingering.” 

The ailment has kept Green out of Golden State’s recent games against the Bucks and Nets. He missed Tuesday’s game against the Hawks due to a suspension stemming from a heated verbal confrontation with teammate Kevin Durant.

Both Green and Durant have since addressed the incident and have stated their intentions to move past it as the Warriors aim for their fourth championship in five seasons.

The 28-year-old has averaged 6.9 PPG, 7.5 RPG and 7.2 APG for the Warriors in 13 games.

Latest Updates On Green, Durant, Warriors

Details continue to trickle out about the confrontation that took place between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green on Monday night, a story that has dominated NBA headlines all week. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports is the latest to piece together specifics on the barbs exchanged, writing that Green called Durant a “b***h” multiple times, continuing to rant even as head coach Steve Kerr tried to direct his players’ attention to his whiteboard.

Paraphrasing Green’s comments, Haynes reports that the former Defensive Player of the Year shouted something to the effect of “You’re a b***h and you know you’re a b***h,” later adding a comment along the lines of “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave.”

Sources tell Haynes that there was a point during the argument when Durant cringed, when it evolved from a typical basketball argument into something deeper and more personal.

While the two teammates claimed they’d be fine moving forward, things didn’t get off to a great start in Houston last night, as the Warriors lost by 21 points to the Rockets, with Green going scoreless in 24 minutes. After the game, when Durant was asked by one reporter about his relationship with Green, he tersely told the reporter, “Don’t ask me about that again,” as Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group relays.

Here’s more out of Golden State:

  • Sources tell Haynes that Green was dismayed that Durant would show him up at such a crucial moment in Monday’s game, and took exception to Durant’s criticism because he felt his desire to win was being questioned. This also came at a time when Green had just returned prematurely from his toe injury, according to Haynes, who cites that early return as an example of how badly the big man wants to be on the court with his teammates.
  • Rival teams and players are “attempting to gather more information on the morale and status” of the Dubs, per Haynes, who says that the saga is being viewed as “promising” for the opposition.
  • Durant, who has the ability to veto any trade this season, has shown no interest in being moved and remains committed to returning to the Finals with the Warriors, a source tells Sam Amick of USA Today. “We’ve got a three-peat upon us,” the source said.
  • Amick suggests that this entire saga isn’t about Durant’s upcoming free agency as much as it’s about Green’s “vocal attitude” about Durant’s free agency. While other Warriors may not love Durant’s approach to his contract situation, Green is the only one to voice his disapproval. “No one cares except for Draymond,” one source said to Amick.

Draymond Green Addresses Durant Confrontation

Speaking today to reporters after the Warriors‘ shootaround, Draymond Green issued his first public comments about the on-court and postgame confrontation between him and Kevin Durant – and other teammates – that took place on Monday.

Green, who didn’t take questions after making a statement, said that he has spoken to Durant and that they’re moving forward, and while he accepted responsibility for the altercation, he didn’t exactly apologize for it (video link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).

“I think there’s no secret that I’m an emotional player,” Green said. “I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I play with that same emotion. Sometimes it gets the best me and doesn’t work in my favor. I’m going to live with that. Because it works to my favor, in the good, as my résumé speaks and my team’s résumé speaks, more so than it doesn’t. I’m never going to change who I am.”

Dismissing the idea that the incident was the beginning of the end of the Warriors’ dynasty, Green told reporters that the club isn’t going to “crumble” — it’s still on the rest of the league’s 29 teams to knock off the Dubs, since they won’t beat themselves and this week will only make the team stronger, Green said. However, he also acknowledged that he wouldn’t stand in the way if Durant or Klay Thompson or anyone else decides to leave Golden State when they’re eligible for free agency.

“At the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, whatever (anyone) decides to do, we had great years together,” Green said. “I support everybody wholeheartedly, 100%, because as a man, as a human being, you’ve got the right to do what you want to do with your life. I’d never question that.”

Here’s more on the Warriors’ drama-filled week:

  • Head coach Steve Kerr also spoke to reporters today at shootaround, suggesting that he’s “extremely confident” in his team’s ability to work through the Green/Durant drama (video link via Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group).
  • A source tells Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated that – with the help of the players’ union – Green plans to appeal the Warriors’ decision to fine him a $120K game check. We learned on Wednesday that Green was surprised by the suspension and fine, a point reiterated by Spears.
  • In a pair of articles published before Green spoke to reporters today, Chris Mannix of SI.com wrote that the incident won’t impede the Warriors’ quest for a third straight championship, while Tim Kawakami of The Athletic took a deep dive to explain some of the nuances involved in the relationships between various Warriors players, as well as between the team and those players.

Latest On Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Warriors

2:53pm: Shams Charania of The Athletic provides some more details on the situation in Golden State, reiterating that Green was surprised by his one-game suspension and writing that people around Draymond believe this is the sort of thing he won’t easily forget. Still, friends of Green and Durant believe that they’ll soon meet, making an effort to clear the air and move past Monday’s incident.

8:38am: In an article packed with details on Monday night’s confrontation between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant, Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic reports that Green took exception to the way Durant addressed him following his turnover late in Monday’s game.

According to Thompson, Green made it clear that he’s been making plays for the Warriors for years, well before Durant showed up, and wouldn’t stand for KD talking to him like a scrub. Green also accused Durant of making the whole season about him, even though – in Green’s view – he’s going to leave at the end of the year. Green let out his frustrations with the way his teammate has handled his upcoming free agency, per Thompson, who hears that Green also called Durant a “b***h” several times during the exchange.

As Thompson explains, Warriors management felt Green crossed a line and essentially sided with Durant in hitting Green with a one-game suspension, a rebuke that surprised the Michigan State alum.

“With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back,” one player told Thompson. “The only hope is that they can say this summer, ‘See, KD. We’ve got your back. We protected you from Draymond.'”

Although the Dubs will be able to point to this incident when Durant reaches free agency to prove he has their full support, Thompson’s account raises doubts about whether it was the right call — if Durant ends up leaving anyway, Golden State will also now have to worry about where things stand with Green.

According to Thompson, the relationship between Green and Durant “needs to be rebuilt,” while the relationship between Green and team management may also now be “in shambles.” This isn’t a situation that will just blow over right away, says Thompson, and that sentiment is echoed by other Bay Area writers, including Dieter Kurtenbach of The Bay Area News Group, Anthony Slater of The Athletic, and Logan Murdock of The Bay Area News Group (Twitter link).

Here’s more on the unexpected drama in Golden State:

  • According to several people in the Warriors’ locker room, Durant could have ended the lingering irritation over his free agency situation by saying how much he loves playing with the Warriors and his teammates, then leaving it at that, Thompson writes. Thompson suggests that Green is among those who believe Durant has had a hand in creating hype about his free agency, distracting from the team’s quest for a third straight title.
  • Thompson reports that Stephen Curry visited Green on Tuesday and Green admitted to Curry that he was wrong for how – and when – he confronted Durant. However, the “general consensus” is that Green’s concerns about Durant’s handling of his upcoming free agency aren’t off base, Thompson adds.
  • Durant spoke to reporters after Tuesday’s game about Green and Monday’s altercation, but his answers were terse, writes Anthony Slater of The Athletic, who provides a partial transcript. In Slater’s view, Green’s barbs stung Durant deeply and he wasn’t ready yet to talk about them publicly — so he didn’t.
  • One prominent player told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) that he plans to do everything in his power to get Durant and Green back on the same page.
  • Speaking to reporters, including Slater, Andre Iguodala and Klay Thompson both downplayed the long-lasting impact of Monday’s confrontation. “I think it was an old-school pimp that said: ‘You can’t climb a mountain if it’s smooth,'” Iguodala said. Meanwhile, Thompson offered the following assessment: “A win on Thursday and a win on Saturday and Sunday. That’s called a win streak. (Then) it will not matter and this will be in the past like a ponytail.”

Draymond Green Suspended For One Game

Draymond Green will sit out of tonight’s game against the Hawks, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reports (Twitter link). The Warriors will suspend him without pay, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets.

Green’s absence from the court comes just one night after he clashed with Kevin Durant during and after Monday’s loss to the Clippers. Green attempted to win the game himself during the closing seconds of regulation, committing a turnover and sending the game to overtime. Both All-Stars appeared angry prior to overtime and after the loss, Green reportedly was “forceful” in defending himself on the play that could have won them the game.

Green also reportedly challenged Durant about KD’s upcoming free agency during the confrontation. Durant is expected to decline his player option and hit the open market next summer.

Klay Thompson, who is usually reserved in most situations, spoke up in the locker room, Haynes relays in a full-length piece. The shooting guard reportedly talked with his teammates about the altercation and attempted to unify the team.

The suspension will cost Green roughly $120K, Bobby Marks of ESPN.com tweets. He is expected to be back with the team on Thursday against the Rockets, as the Warriors announce that it will be a one-game suspension (via Twitter). The official reasoning is conduct detrimental to the team.

Warriors Dealing With Aftermath Of Green, Durant Confrontation

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.”

Stephen Curry Suffers Adductor Strain

2:02pm: Kerr said today that the Warriors were encouraged by the results of Curry’s MRI, per Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Curry won’t play on Saturday and it will be at least a few days before he gets back on the court, but the club is glad it’s not more serious, tweets ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

8:40am: Warriors guard Stephen Curry left Thursday’s loss to Milwaukee in the third quarter with an injury that was later diagnosed as a left adductor strain, according to the team (Twitter link). Head coach Steve Kerr confirmed after the game that Curry will undergo an MRI on Friday (Twitter link via Mark Medina of The Bay Area News Group).

We’ll have to wait until after that MRI is completed and the Warriors provide an update to get a sense of whether Curry will miss time. However, as a point of comparison, Rockets guard Eric Gordon suffered an adductor strain last week and has missed Houston’s last three games.

“I’m not nervous,” Curry told Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link) on Thursday night after the game. “I have nothing to go off of. If this was an ankle I could tell you four days, 12 days. But I will see tomorrow… I’ve honestly never done this before so I have nothing to go off of.”

If Curry has to miss some time, Quinn Cook‘s role in the Warriors’ rotation should expand. Golden State has also been missing Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston due to injuries, but Spears tweets that Green could get back on the court Monday vs. the Clippers, while Livingston may also return in the “near future.”

The Warriors do still have an open spot on their 15-man roster if they need to add some backcourt depth, but it seems unlikely to come to that.

NBA Super-Max Candidates To Watch In 2018/19

The Designated Veteran Extension, as we explain our glossary entry on the subject, is a relatively new addition to the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement. It allows players with 7-9 years of experience, who would normally qualify for a maximum starting salary of 30% of the cap, to qualify for a “super-max” contract that starts at 35% of the cap, a level normally reserved players with 10+ years of experience.

A player who has seven or eight years of NBA service with one or two years left on his contract becomes eligible for a Designated Veteran Extension if he meets the required performance criteria and hasn’t been traded since his first four years in the league. A Designated Veteran contract can also be signed by a player who is technically a free agent if he has eight or nine years of service and meets the required criteria.

The performance criteria is as follows (only one of the following must be true):

  • The player was named to an All-NBA team in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.
  • The player was named the NBA MVP in any of the three most recent seasons.
  • The player was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in the most recent season, or in two of the last three seasons.

With those criteria in mind, it’s worth keeping an eye on several players who could qualify for a super-max veteran contract with their play this season. Let’s dive in and examine a few of those guys…

Players who already qualify for a super-max contract:

Davis can’t yet sign a Designated Veteran Extension, but his All-NBA appearances over the last two seasons have ensured that he’ll qualify, even if he somehow doesn’t earn another All-NBA nod in 2018/19.

As of next July, the Pelicans will be able to offer Davis a contract extension that tacks an additional five years onto his $27.09MM salary for 2019/20. Based on the NBA’s latest cap projection for 2020/21 ($118MM), that five-year extension would be worth a staggering $239.54MM.

Players who could qualify for a super-max contract by meeting the criteria in 2018/19:

Technically, any player who earns an All-NBA spot in 2018/19 and meets the contract criteria can qualify for a super-max, but the players listed above are probably the only legitimately viable candidates. And even in this group, guys like Beal and Drummond are a real stretch — if they were to improbably make an All-NBA team, their clubs still probably wouldn’t put Designated Veteran Extension offers on the table, since they’re not bona fide superstars.

Thompson and Walker will both be unrestricted free agents in 2019, so if they meet the DVE criteria, they’d be eligible for five-year contracts with their respective teams worth up to a projected $221.27MM. Lillard and Green are still under contract for at least one more year beyond this season, but they’d qualify for super-max extensions if they meet the criteria — Lillard could get an extra four years, while Green could get five.

A team can only give Designated Veteran Extensions to two players, so the Warriors wouldn’t be able to offer both Thompson and Green super-max contracts, since Stephen Curry already has one. On the plus side, Kevin Durant won’t figure into this equation for Golden State, since he has 10+ years of experience. A deal starting at 35% of the cap for Durant wouldn’t count toward the Dubs’ super-max limit.

Finally, while Antetokounmpo can qualify for a super-max by earning All-NBA honors this season, he wouldn’t actually be able to sign such a deal until 2020, since he’ll only have six years of experience at the end of the 2018/19 campaign. Essentially, he’d be in the same spot that Anthony Davis is in now.

Players who can no longer qualify for a super-max contract because they were traded:

Butler, Irving, and Leonard are probably more worthy of a super-max investment than most of the players in the above group, but they no longer qualify because they were traded while on their second contracts — Butler from the Bulls, Irving from the Cavaliers, and Leonard from the Spurs. They’ll need to reach 10 years of NBA experience before qualifying for a starting salary worth up to 35% of the cap.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Suns, Bjelica, Green

Tyson Chandler, poised to suit up for the Lakers on Wednesday night against Minnesota, said he picked Los Angeles among about five potential teams, according to Joey Ramirez of Lakers.com. Speaking today to reporters, including Kyle Goon of The Orange County Register, Chandler said he knew his days with the Suns were numbered and jumped at the chance to join his hometown team.

“I figured if things didn’t go right it would be my final year in Phoenix, you know, especially in the final year of my contract,” Chandler said. “But when things came up and I looked at the teams, I couldn’t honestly pass up this opportunity and be a part of something that I felt was going to be great.”

According to head coach Luke Walton, there are “no expectations” for Chandler’s first game, but the team would like him to eventually help out with rebounding, provide more protection, and play the sort of rim-running role that JaVale McGee has assumed, writes Goon.

Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report believes that Chandler could be the “missing piece” in the Lakers’ rotation, writing that the signing will pay immediate dividends and help the team climb up the Western Conference standings. I’m a little less bullish about the sort of impact the 36-year-old will have, but his strengths certainly match up nicely with many of the Lakers’ early-season weaknesses.

As Chandler prepares to make his Lakers debut, let’s round up a few more items from out of the Pacific…

  • The Suns are still seeking more stability out of the point guard position, having resorted to running the offense through Devin Booker when needed, writes Katherine Fitzgerald of The Arizona Republic. Head coach Igor Kokoskov said he’s looking for more out of Isaiah Canaan: “We know he is a fearless shooter and he is capable of making those shots, but he’s got to also give us stability when it comes to (running the) team, keeping us organized.”
  • It was an eventful offseason for Nemanja Bjelica, who backed out of a deal with Philadelphia and appeared on the verge of returning to Europe before he signed a three-year contract with the Kings. Now, the veteran power forward is finding his stride with his new team, according to Alex Kramers of Kings.com.
  • X-rays on the injured right foot of Warriors big man Draymond Green came back negative, as Nick Friedell of ESPN.com relays. However, while Green appears to have avoided a serious injury, having been diagnosed with a right toe sprain, he won’t be available for Golden State’s Thursday game against Milwaukee (Twitter link via Anthony Slater of The Athletic).