The play itself that sparked everything was ugly.
With :06 seconds left in a tie game against the Clippers Monday night, watch Draymond Green grab the rebound and try to go the length of the court for the game-winner himself — only to fumble the ball away without a shot — while Kevin Durant, who should take that shot (or the hot Klay Thompson at that point), claps his hands and calls for the ball.
On the bench after that play got uglier with an argument between Green and Durant where Green allegedly even called KD his “b****” before Andre Iguodala and DeMarcus Cousins stepped in as peacemakers. In the locker room later the argument continued and was nasty as there has been in this era of the Warriors. It wasn’t just Durant, a lot of players questioned and called out Green’s decision, while Green defended himself angrily, and questioning KD on his free agency next summer.
All of it crossed a line, and Green has been suspended for a night and will sit against Atlanta, without pay.
Green repeatedly called Durant “a bitch” after he was called out by the two-time NBA Finals MVP in the huddle for not passing him the ball, sources said. The organization is of the belief that Green cut too deep in his disagreement with Durant, sources said.
Klay Thompson, who is typically reserved, spoke up in the locker room to the surprise of his teammates about the altercation and stressed the importance of sticking together, sources said.
Durant is not making his free agency decision — he is expected to opt out of the last year of his contract before July — based on this one incident. But it seems to point to an overall tension around the team as it knows it could be the last year of this specific Warriors team.
Long term, Durant and Green will get over it — they had public arguments before then were hanging out at a baseball game together the next night. They will put it behind them.
But it’s just something to remember come next July.
But to the Mavericks, it was an example of a troubling pattern with Jordan.
He has rubbed teammates the wrong way with what they perceive as selfish play
Jordan signed a one-year contract with Dallas last summer, and it’s already hard to see him returning next season.
The Mavericks are just 5-8. They’ve been outscored by 8.5 points per 100 possessions when he plays and outscored opponents by 5.7 points per 100 possessions when he sits. He often looks disinterested. His help defense – what Dallas really needs from him – has been especially lazy.
Jordan is still big and mobile, and he can’t help but make some positive contributions as a rebounder and finisher. He just leaves so much to be desired.
But he’ll apparently have to overcome a poor reputation with his new teammates.
76ers general manager Elton Brand wore a suit. 76ers owner Joshua Harris wore a suit. New 76ers center Justin Patton wore a suit – with a bowtie!
And then there was Jimmy Butler, who sat between them in sweats.
“As you can tell, I’m the only one up here without a suit on because my suit got here late this morning,” Butler pointed out at his introductory press conference today.
Butler begins his new chapter in Philadelphia trying to repair his image.
His trade request from the Timberwolves, his subsequent tactics and reports about his treatment of teammates tarnished his reputation. In a humbler outfit – a genuine consequence of a hasty move or another orchestrated stunt? – Butler addressed those questions.
“I think that I’m an incredible human being, teammate, and I’ll show that to the guys that are here,” Butler said.
So, he won’t convince anyone he’s humble.
But he shouldn’t have to. Butler worked his way up from a modest origin into superstardom. Arrogance can be earned. His ascent should be celebrated – and emulated.
Everyone, including Butler’s new teammates, could learn from his work ethic. That didn’t work well in Minnesota, where Butler sparred with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Butler would do well to exercise more patience while setting an example.
Not that he’s ready to admit wrongdoing.
“The funny part about it is all you hear is ‘sources say.’ You never hear a player say it,” Butler said. “And I think if a player had a problem or anything, they would. That’s how I feel about the situation. Unless everybody in my past locker room was just that fake, I don’t think I’m that big of a problem at all.”
I don’t think players turned off by Butlers fury would be above criticizing him anonymously. His confrontational style isn’t for everyone.
Besides, Butler used leaks to his advantage, too. It’s all part of the game, which resulted in Butler getting his Bird Rights – and the ability to offer a max contract projected to be worth $190 million over five years – to the 76ers.
Of course, Butler denied money drove his trade request. He insisted he’s still the guy who listens to country music, plays dominos and drives a minivan.
“I’ve already got enough money to have me and my family set for the rest of my life,” Butler said. “It’s not about the money. I’ve got to be able to love where I’m at and have a great chance of winning a championship.
“I love what Josh and Elton are doing. I think they’re doing it the right way. That’s what matters, the people that are around here and how everybody is treated. Because basketball is just one part of it. But to know that you’re wanted and that you’re always going to be taken care of, your people are always going to be taken care of, I think that’s what matters most to me – and a lot of other people in this league.”
Butler wasn’t pressed on what went wrong in Minnesota. He professed his fondness for Timberwolves president-coach Tom Thibodeau and said, “it just didn’t work out.”
Will it in Philadelphia? Butler said he dominated the ball in Minnesota only because that was asked of him. He sounds ready to adjust to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, whose social-media postings Butler called a “special work of art.” Talent tends to win out, and this team has awesome defensive ability.
Butler’s reputation never should have been as sullied as it was. The Timberwolves’ mismanagement contributed to the dysfunction as much as, if not more, than Butler’s trade request. He still performed very well for Minnesota in his year-plus there.
But if he comes to Philadelphia with an even larger chip on his shoulder, eager to prove his bona fides as a teammate and leader, that could be good for him and the 76ers. Butler lifted himself to an elite level. He still must show an ability to help others get there.
At least on day one in Philadelphia, Butler came dressed to work.
Draymond Green and Kevin Durant got into a confrontation with each other during a game two years ago. They quickly downplayed the argument and since won two titles together with the Warriors. The incident was largely forgotten.
Green and Durant quarreled on the bench again last night. This time, the surrounding rhetoric is trending the other way.
An angry late game exchange between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green carried into the Golden State Warriors locker room on Monday night in Los Angeles, where some teammates loudly confronted Green for his decision-making on the final play of regulation, league sources told ESPN.
After the 121-116 overtime loss to the LA Clippers, some witnesses described the closed-door exchange as one of the most intense of this Warriors era. No one had to be separated, no player left his side and no hint of physicality loomed in the setting, sources said.
If harsh words over late-game strategy has been most intense exchange of the last three seasons, the Warriors are incredibly spoiled. Related: The Warriors are incredibly spoiled.
Teams would kill to suffer only this level of drama. Bickering over a November loss is nearly nothing. Green wanted to push the ball. Durant wanted to control it himself. It’s not necessarily a deep issue.
That said, because the Warriors have faced minimal challenge since signing Durant, this can feel more significant to them. They might overreact and let this linger in ways teams with more serious problems might not. So, this can spiral into something bigger.
Big enough to affect Durant’s upcoming free agency? He has the power to leave, and playing with the temperamental Green can be draining.
It can also be rewarding. Green’s attitude helps make him one of the NBA’s top defenders, and he’s a superb playmaker – a reason keeping the ball in his hands, despite the failed result this time, made sense. If Durant leaves Golden State, he might not find a teammate as good as Green (let alone Stephen Curry).
This episode will be one of the many things for Durant to consider next summer.