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When the Golden State Warriors suspended volatile forward Draymond Green for one game without pay after a dust-up with teammate Kevin Durant last week, it appeared the franchise was siding with Durant in the dispute.
That was not the case, however, according to Warriors owner Joe Lacob after the suspension, which cost Green about $120,000.
“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about. That we’re choosing one person over another,” Lacob said, according to Al Saracevic of the San Francisco Chronicle. “We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.”
Lacob quantified how the situation between Green and Durant was handled as a management problem.
“I think that’s exactly right. It’s totally a management issue,” Lacob said. “(General manager) Bob Myers and our head coach, Steve Kerr, are handling it. And they’re handling it very appropriately.”
Lacob reiterated the Warriors’ front office was not picking sides in the dispute between two of the team’s All-Star players.
“It never even occurred to us. That’s not the point,” he said. “The point is, whether it would be any employee, they’d have to act certain ways to be our employee. Draymond knows that he went beyond — won’t say what he did, or what he said, or anything like that — he went beyond what we felt appropriate, so it didn’t matter who it was.
“And he understands that, by the way. I’ve been texting with him, and he totally gets it. I do have a great relationship with him, and I still do.”
Lacob said issues between individuals in any successful business, company or organization are just part of what comes with being successful.
“Any company. Every company. It’s no different than any other company. We all, including me, have to be held accountable how we represent the organization, the NBA, and it’s as simple as that,” he said. “That’s for our coach and our GM to deal with. I’m sure (Durant and Green will) act professionally going forward. … I’m really not worried at all.”
Lacob reiterated statements he made in September in regard to Durant having earned the right to choose where he wants to play when he hits free agency again July 1.
“I have no idea. He’s earned the right to be a free agent. I’ve said this a million times,” Lacob said. “He will make whatever decision is best for him. It’s our job to present (Durant) with an opportunity that we think is great to be in our organization. Of course, I’d like him to be in our organization long term. But if he wants to short term, year-by-year, which he’s done so far, that’s also fine.
“That’s his choice. He’s earned the right. We respect it. I think he really loves it here. And we love him.”