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Warriors brass felt ‘chemistry of the team was at stake’ when they suspended Draymond Green


Want to know what Kevin Durant and the Warriors hate more than anything? That the Draymond Green/Durant dust-up story will not die. That details keep coming out in drips that have kept it in the headlines for more than a week, which leads to more armchair psychology of Durant and the entire team culture. The players say they have moved on, but the Warriors keep on losing (three in a row) and the details keep leaking out. It’s become a zombie story, one that the team sees as dead but it keeps stalking them.

That includes this latest bit from Tim Kawakami at The Athletic.

According to multiple league sources, Kerr and Myers believed that the entire chemistry of the team was at stake — not just to protect Durant but to make sure that the whole situation didn’t devolve into a series of personal grievances and lingering resentments….

Warriors management fumed when this move was viewed as the team picking Durant over Draymond, though it’s hard to independently scold anybody for coming to that conclusion. But after talking to several people, I believe that’s too simplistic.

Sure, the Warriors want to remain on good terms with Durant and sure, Warriors management believes Draymond was purposely forcing this issue by attacking Durant. But they suspended Draymond because Kerr didn’t want to let Draymond dictate the mood and terms of the rest of this season and the offseason, too. If Durant (or anybody else) leaves, the Warriors want it to be about his own choice, not because Draymond barked that he should go. And if Draymond is upset enough about that to consider leaving when he’s a free agent in 2020, the Warriors were willing to take that chance.

Like all deep interpersonal relationships, there’s a lot of layers to the Warriors’ chemistry. Human beings, we like simple, clean answers (which is why some skew to conspiracy theories that make cleaner sense to them than messy realities) so we want to say “the Warriors had to side with Durant” or that this is just about max paydays, when it’s more than just that. Reality doesn’t fit well into headlines and talk radio blurbs, so we end up with oversimplifications.

Not that it matters in the short term.

I still have no doubt that the Warriors will get healthy, and while chemistry issues may linger the core guys will be professional, then when it matters most — which is six months from now — the Warriors will be the Warriors and the rest of the league will have no answers for them. This team is still the prohibitive favorite to win the NBA title.

Come July, all bets are off. Kevin Durant could decide to be a Clipper or a Knick or remain a Warrior. Or a number of other options. If he stays what does that mean for Green? There are way to many potential outcomes to predict what will happen. That’s the messy reality.

That’s not what the Warriors are focused on, they just want to get back to winning games and “ruining” the NBA. Expect that to happen soon enough.


Devin Booker tries to meet Gorgui Dieng in locker room after both get ejected (VIDEO)

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NBA players like to talk a big game about getting into fights with one another. It rarely actually happens, and when things get a little too heated sometimes we get a little extracurricular activity that helps us weave the tapestry that is the story of the NBA.

As the Minnesota Timberwolves took on the Phoenix Suns on Tuesday night, Gorgui Dieng and Devin Booker decided to have a little chat with one another. The two got into a jawing match after a play in the third quarter when Dieng elbowed Booker in the face.

Booker took exception to that and decided to start flapping his gums at Dieng. Both were ejected after official review, and as they exited to opposite sides of the floor, Booker appeared to make eye contact with Dieng and accept an offer to meet him in the concourse under the stands that lead to the locker rooms.

The Suns guard then had to be restrained from running at full speed to meet Dieng.

Via Twitter:

Devin Booker vs. Gorgui Dieng is the bitter rivalry you didn’t know you needed.

Report: Anthony Davis fears fractured finger, could be out up to a month

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New Orleans Pelicans star Anthony Davis hurt his hand against the Portland Trail Blazers earlier last week. Initial reports had Davis missing 1-2 weeks with a sprained finger.

Now it appears things could be much worse.

Reports surfaced on Tuesday night that Davis could be facing a potential fracture in his left index finger. If that’s the case, Davis could miss anywhere from 2-4 weeks with a more serious injury.

Via Twitter:

The Pelicans cannot afford to have Davis out for that amount of time. The team has not met expectations this season, and are struggling to stay in playoff contention as we near the All-Star break.

If Davis is going to miss significant time, now is probably the best place in the NBA calendar. The real problem is that the Pelicans won’t be able to stay afloat without him. Even with Davis on the floor, New Orleans has struggled to win recent games against top Western Conference opponents like the Blazers and Golden State Warriors.

It’s probably too much to extrapolate this into what this could mean for Davis staying with the Pelicans, but it’s natural to wonder whether a missed postseason could push Davis to ask for a trade out of Louisiana.

If he’s not on the floor, the Pelicans probably aren’t winning games without Davis. That could spell disaster for their playoff hopes, and in turn, alter the future of the franchise.

Kevin Durant challenged Draymond Green to better control his emotions

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Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has often let his emotions get the better of him. Green famously missed Game 5 of the NBA finals in 2016 after he repeatedly kicked LeBron James in the crotch.

Meanwhile, things have been heated in the Golden State locker room like never before. It’s bubbled over to the public sphere, with Kevin Durant and Green seemingly at odds at different times during this year.

Things seem to have studied in the meantime, particularly after Stephen Curry returned to the lineup At the beginning of December. But Durant and Green are still trying to find a way to work together to win another championship in the Bay Area.

According to a story from The Athletic, that meant a challenge from Durant to Green to maintain his emotions and to keep himself in check.

Via The Athletic:

Durant told Green he wasn’t accepting the emotional excuse. Green’s fire is what makes him great even if it also makes him volatile. But Durant wasn’t buying that it’s uncontrollable. He’s seen Green control it. He’s seen him keep his composure in the crucible of championship stakes. He’s seen him locked in and focused, forcing his emotions to submit to his will.

So Durant challenged him to be better. Green accepted.

Green has had a down year and it’s not clear Why that is. Is he simply aging? Or is this more due to the internal strife in the Warriors locker room?

No matter what, Golden State will need a semblance of the old Draymond Green to win NBA title this year. This agreeent between the two stars should be helpful both in healing their wounds and moving toward their shared goal.

These guys might not ever fully reconcile, but another championship ring could act as a salve.

Paul George joined Knicks fans in cheering for Raymond Felton (VIDEO)

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There’s not much to cheer about at Madison Square Garden these days. Kristaps Porzingis is still not playing for the New York Knicks, and it’s not clear whether the team will land a big free agent like Kevin Durant this summer or strike out and continue their run of dismal play.

As such, it makes sense that New York fans are trying to keep themselves entertained, and that includes during Knicks games.

When the Oklahoma City Thunder came to town on Monday night, fans in Manhattan found themselves cheering for a former Knicks player on the Thunder bench. With the game out of reach, it only seemed appropriate.

In the fourth quarter, MSG started a chant for Raymond Felton, who played for the Knicks for three seasons over two stays. As cheers rained down from the stands, even Paul George got involved in the action.

Via Twitter:

George scored 31 points as the Thunder rolled New York, 127-109.