Kevin Durant

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.

Pacific Notes: Chandler, Durant, Kings, McGee

Before signing with the Lakers as a free agent, veteran center Tyson Chandler registered interest from a handful of teams across the NBA.

Among these teams were the Warriors, according to Jon Becker of The Mercury News, adding that Chandler narrowed his decision down to the Warriors and Lakers. Chandler, an L.A. native, ultimately chose to sign with the Lakers.

“I think it was like five teams, and I narrowed it down to two,” Chandler said this week. “And then I had to do some heavy thinking and praying and then I can only see myself in a Lakers uniform, so it kind of made the decision for me.”

The opportunity to play for his hometown team in Los Angeles with LeBron James was too much to turn away for Chandler, who’s been impressive off the Lakers’ bench so far this season.

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • ESPN’s Brian Windhorst explains why Kevin Durant is the NBA’s most powerful person, writing about his altercation with teammate Draymond Green from earlier in the week. Durant, a consensus top-3 player in the NBA, could leave the Warriors as a free agent next July.
  • The Kings received praise from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich this week, with Popovich lauding the organization for improving its culture. “I was really impressed, their culture is changing — it’s changed drastically,” Popovich said, according to James Ham of NBC Sports. “Guys are committed, guys are physical, taking some pride in defense. I think Vlade [Divac] and the team have made some good moves, and I think Dave [Joerger]’s done a great job of bringing that group together. They look really good. It’s impressive.”
  • Tyson Chandler says he signed with the Lakers to complement starting center JaVale McGee, not to compete against him for minutes, Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times writes. “It’s not about me and him,” Chandler said, choosing to keep his focus on the overall team goal.

Poll: Kevin Durant’s Future

When Kevin Durant reaches free agency in 2019, there’s a chance he could be coming off a third straight championship — and maybe even a third consecutive NBA Finals MVP award. Durant already has two of each under his belt, and remains one of the league’s very best players, on a team considered the overwhelming favorite to win the title.

Throw in the fact that Durant will have full Bird rights in 2019, giving him the opportunity to sign a five-year contract worth up to a projected $221MM, and it’s hard to imagine why he’d leave the Warriors, who would have the ability to cement their legacy as one of the NBA’s best teams of all-time as long as they keep racking up titles.

Still, Durant hasn’t committed to the Warriors at all beyond 2018/19, leading to ongoing speculation that he could jump ship at season’s end. The uncertainty surrounding the former MVP played a part in Monday’s altercation between Durant and Draymond Green, who reportedly let out his frustrations during the back-and-forth over the way his teammate has handled his upcoming free agency.

Durant’s free agency will be fascinating for a number of reasons, particularly if the Warriors win the championship again this season. It’s hard to imagine a star player who has won three consecutive titles with a team leaving his organization for a lesser contender. On the other hand, several big-market NBA franchises will have cap room for a max-salary player in 2019, creating some tantalizing possibilities for Durant, who may be ready for a new challenge.

If he’s interested in teaming up with LeBron James and trying to win titles for the league’s most iconic franchise, the Lakers could be appealing. Their Los Angeles rivals, the Clippers, are being run by a effective management team that includes owner Steve Ballmer and veteran executive Jerry West, and would provide Durant an opportunity to be the unquestioned star of an L.A. franchise. The Knicks will have Kristaps Porzingis back, and the idea of playing in Madison Square Garden and turning around a moribund franchise may intrigue Durant and Rich Kleiman, his agent and business partner, who grew up as a Knicks fan.

Several other teams around the NBA will also have cap space in 2019, creating a plethora of viable options for Durant, depending on what his priorities are. Of course, he initially chose the Warriors because he wanted to win and because he wanted to live in the Bay Area, and those factors still arguably make Golden State his best option — especially with the team set to move into its new San Francisco arena next season.

What do you think? Is this Durant’s last season with the Warriors or will he still be playing for the Dubs next season at this time? Vote below in our poll, then head to the comment section to share your two cents.

Trade Rumors app users, click here to vote.

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.”

Pacific Notes: Cook, Chandler, Durant, James

Warriors guard Quinn Cook took the place of Stephen Curry against the Nets on Saturday, with Curry out due to a left adductor strain. Cook was red-hot in his first start of the season, finishing with 27 points on 11-16 shooting and registering a plus-16 rating in 29 minutes.

He played exactly the way Golden State needed him to play in Curry’s absence, and it resulted in the team’s 11th win of the season.

“He did the Stephen Curry imitation tonight,” Nets coach Kenny Atkinson said, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell (Twitter link). “He hit a lot of tough shots, he’s a heck of a competitor.”

Cook showcased his talents and made the most of his opportunity, with the 25-year-old receiving inconsistent playing time when the team is healthy. He’ll likely stay in the starting lineup until Curry returns, then head back to the bench for backcourt depth.

“More than anything, I’m just impressed with Quinn’s professionalism,” coach Steve Kerr said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “To not play at all for a while and be able to perform all of a sudden, out of nowhere, when we need him, that’s the mark of a pro. He’s a great fit for us and always prepared and always ready.”

Here are some other notes from the Pacific Division:

  • Lakers center Tyson Chandler has impressed in his first full week with the team, Matt Eppers of USA TODAY writes. Chandler tipped back a clutch offensive rebound to help seal a win against the Timberwolves Wednesday, then grabbed 12 rebounds off the bench on Saturday.
  • Kevin Durant toured the Chase Center arena this week, which is under construction and set to open for the Warriors next season, according to Nick Friedell of ESPN. Durant will likely enter free agency on July 1. “I’m thinking about a lot of points being scored,” Durant said as he toured the facility. “The fans are going to love it.”
  • Bleacher Report’s Ken Berger explores the influence LeBron James has on the Lakers and their roster decisions, despite only being with the team for four months. James held similar influence with the Cavaliers and Heat during his first 15 NBA seasons, and requested the Lakers sign Chandler when he reached free agency last week.

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.

Knicks Notes: Fizdale, Knox, O’Quinn, Durant

David Fizdale enjoyed working as a television commentator and might have stayed in that role longer if not for the opportunity with the Knicks, writes Ian Begley of ESPN. Fizdale called TV work a  “comfortable” job without “the stress of coaching,” but he couldn’t pass up the opportunity to try to build a winner in New York. He had interviews with several teams and turned down a four-year offer from the Suns to take the Knicks’ job.

Fizdale led the Grizzlies to the playoffs in his first year as a head coach, but injuries slowed the team last season and he was fired after 17 games in the midst of a well-publicized clash with Marc Gasol. That led to his job as an ESPN analyst.

“I went in there just force-feeding culture down everyone’s throat,” Fizdale said of his time in Memphis. “I had a small window, I felt, with those guys. So I really tried to fast-track everything. And there’s just some things you can’t rush. You can’t rush relationships, you can’t rush trust, you can’t rush the culture.”

There’s more out of New York:

  • The Knicks are hoping to get injured rookie Kevin Knox back in the lineup soon, possibly by Friday, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post. Knox suffered a sprained ankle in the third game of the season, and his father says he could be ready to return sometime between Friday and November 10. A tweet from the Knicks yesterday relays that Knox is making “good progress” and has “advanced to participating in shooting drills and non-contact court activity.”
  • Former Knicks center Kyle O’Quinn tells Berman it wasn’t an easy decision to leave New York and sign with the Pacers over the summer (Twitter link). “It’s the biggest decision I’ve ever made as far as making a choice in my career,” O’Quinn said. “I slept on it, prayed on it. I made the decision and I’m sticking with it. It’s no secret I would’ve loved to play for Fizdale or be here. It’s tougher than telling a girl you’re moving on.’’
  • The close relationship between Knicks assistant coach Royal Ivey and Warriors star Kevin Durant may give New York an edge in free agency next summer, Berman suggests in another story. They both went to college at Texas and Durant is the godfather of Ivey’s daughter.