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.
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.