Kevin Durant and Draymond Green may be ‘brothers for life,’ but their contrasting personalities led to near-fistfights, a shattered locker room, divided loyalties, and a dynasty that limped into the 2018 playoffs.
When David West first brought up potential locker room issues for the Golden State Warriors after the 2018 NBA Finals, it was a surprise that perhaps the greatest team in NBA history could have so many issues.
After weeks of working with sources, Chat Sports has gotten to the bottom of his comments. A distant Steph Curry, an earth-shaking free agent signing and a war of words between Draymond Green and Kevin Durant almost caused a dynasty to crumble from within. Below you will find quotes from multiple sources as they give an inside look at the Warriors' locker room mess and how things could change heading into this season.
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Champagne covered the walls of the visitors' locker room in Quicken Loans Arena as the Golden State Warriors completed maybe their most impressive title run yet.
Whether it was losing superstar PG Steph Curry for weeks at a time throughout the season, fading heavily down the stretch before entering the playoffs, or getting brought to their knees in a 7-game series by the West-winning Houston Rockets, the 2017-18 Warriors went through plenty of plights that could have slipped them up.
Another one was themselves.
Warriors veteran David West was the first to elaborate after the Finals.
"There were some things internally," West said. "When you guys find out about that shit, you’ll trip."
Despite West's comments, one Warriors' source told Chat Sports that West wasn't serious. Instead, he was just messing with media members as a joke.
Draymond Green doubled down on that.
"I think people would trip out on a lot of shit," Green said. "We don’t. That is what is most important."
What kind of "shit" could trip up maybe the most talented team to ever grace an NBA hardcourt?
According to multiple sources, it involved near every player on the Warriors, but specifically, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant. Their tension comes mainly from competitiveness.
Durant "doesn’t jive with Draymond’s intensity," according to a source close to the situation.
There have been "multiple verbal tiffs" over the past two seasons as the situation "almost came to blows," hitting a crescendo at the end of the regular season as the Warriors limped into the playoffs, losing 10 of their last 17 games and three of the last four.
Draymond was hoping for Durant to step up into a leadership role after Curry went down with another ankle injury against the San Antonio Spurs in March and was forced to miss even more time after suffering an MCL sprain against the Atlanta Hawks in his first game back on March 23rd.
Durant wanted to lead in his own way.
"I'm not a leader," Durant said in an interview with GQ magazine back in November of 2017. "I'm bad at saying, ‘stand behind me and follow me.’...I don’t mind being on the front line with you, but let’s come and do it together."
Draymond’s unrelenting competitive nature, so far, has, "not mixed with Durant’s more laid-back style," according to multiple sources.
Sources close to the situation do point out that, "Draymond has had blow outs with everyone except Steph" and that "Draymond and KD are still best buds off the court."
The blowouts are nothing new for Green, who has long had a penchant for engaging in arguments on and off-the-court. Perhaps the most notable was one with Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, in a well-publicized shouting match during halftime in a game against the Thunder in February of 2016. Green and Kerr were engaged in a shouting match and when Kerr told Green to sit down, Green yelled "motherfucker come sit me down" and had to be held back by other teammates. ESPN's Lisa Salters reported at the time that a police officer stood outside the locker room with his hand on his weapon, trying to determine what to do next amid the feud.
While multiple teammates, including Draymond, have complemented Durant’s leadership abilities in the past, the team needed more from him with Curry sidelined.
But with Draymond and Durant feuding privately, where was the injured superstar to perhaps apply some direction to the Warriors' rudderless ship?
According to multiple sources, Curry was "hardly there" and has been described to Chat Sports as, "notably distant from the team."
The source did not dive into why Curry has been away from the team, however one can assume that it was to be closer to his wife, Ayesha, who was pregnant this past season with the couples’ third child, not a stand or issue with the team.
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But despite the internal drama, the Warriors still managed to win yet another NBA title. And then in the offseason, the Warriors somehow got better.
The team shocked the NBA (again) and picked up 4-time All-Star C DeMarcus Cousins on a one-year, $5.3 million deal to fill their mid-level exception.
While it has been reported that Durant, Curry, and Green "enthusiastically" told Cousins they would welcome him to the Warriors, a source with the knowledge of the conversation said that Green recruited Cousins, but that the conversation turned "tense" regarding the expectations of Cousins playing with the Warriors.
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According to Chris Haynes of ESPN, Draymond Green turned down an extension from the Warriors this offseason due to his possible eligibility for a super-max contract next offseason if he earns MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or All-NBA Team honors next season.
Haynes also went on to say that Green is not expected to take a pay cut when his contract is up.
While it has been reported that Cousins may not be back on the court until the NBA trade deadline in February, Cousins could significantly impact Draymond’s attempt at winning one of those awards and thus keep him from the supermax.
Coming away from this, perhaps the most interesting below-the-radar headline around the Warriors is their impending cap struggle to keep their core together. Durant signed a 2-year deal that is really a one-year deal with a player option, giving him the option to leave next offseason. Klay Thompson is in line for a big extension next summer and we know Draymond wants the bag as well.
So, who do the Warriors choose? It should be noted that Kevin Durant was linked to the Lakers for much of the offseason including a personal courting from LeBron James. Along with that, Durant’s comments about LeBron’s move to LA during a recent interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated stuck out in light of this story.
“I loved it. Absolutely loved it,” Durant said. “I thought it was the perfect decision, perfect move.”
While it may come as a surprise that Kevin Durant may be leaving the Warriors as soon as next offseason, this may have been the play all along and could end up being the right decision either way.
While the Warriors are currently on one of the best runs in NBA history, no great team is without drama. It's the nature of highly-competitive sports.
Jordan’s Bulls ran into problems, but that is usually going to happen when the best player of all time punches two separate teammates in the face during practice.
Kobe and Shaq re-defined what "feuding teammates" meant as both took multiple public shots at each other in the media and more famously, on the mic.
Even the "Big 3 Celtics" ran into problems and ultimately fell apart when SG Ray Allen mysteriously left the team, and more money on the table, to sign with the rival Miami Heat.
The unity of the Warriors and their locker room has been one of the defining factors of their dynasty, but Golden State faces their greatest threat so far next season. They'll go up against a revamped Western Conference, a LeBron James-led Lakers team, two superstars looking for paydays in the offseason, and keeping together a locker room that is adding one of the most notorious troublemakers in the NBA.
It remains to be seen if the Warriors can fight through all of that to complete the fabled three-peat and win their 4th title in 5 years, but even if no team can beat them, they may end up beating themselves.
FOLLOW: Harris Rubenstein is an On-Air Host and Lead Analyst on NBA Weekly at Chat Sports. Check out his live videos on Chat Sports Facebook page. Please follow him on Twitter @Sportstein.Back to the Golden State Warriors Newsfeed
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