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It’s getting ugly in the Golden State, with the biggest free-agency prize in Warriors history seemingly causing the biggest disruption.
That would be none other than All-Star forward Kevin Durant, who once bolted an Oklahoma City Thunder team that held a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference finals for the very team it blew that lead against.
Now, Durant can be a free agent at the end of the season, and this time, it’s clearly starting to wear on his Warriors teammates, according to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, who wrote about the recent tiff between Durant and Draymond Green.
It started when Durant yelled at Green for not getting him the ball in the final moments of regulation during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
“According to multiple sources, Green then went on to make it clear he’s been making plays for years,” Thompson wrote. “He reminded Durant the Warriors were winning before Durant showed up so he wouldn’t stand for Durant talking to him as if he were a scrub. Green accused Durant of making the whole season about him even though he was going to leave after the season.
“Green let out his frustrations about how Durant has handled free agency — keeping his options open and keeping the story alive, consuming the Warriors and their season with talk of what Durant will do next.”
Thompson went on to write: “That’s the mild version. The original version included Green calling Durant a ‘bitch’ several times — disrespect that management said was too harsh to overlook.”
The Warriors then suspended Green for Tuesday’s win over the Atlanta Hawks.
One anonymous Warriors teammate told Thompson there’s no way Durant returns in free agency after the dust-up with Green.
“With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back,” Thompson quoted the player as saying. “The only hope is that they can say this summer, ‘See, KD. We’ve got your back. We protected you from Draymond.'”
Durant didn’t much want to talk about Green after the game.
When asked if he and Green had been able to hash anything out, Durant simply responded, “Nah.” He did add he believes the two will work things out. “I’m sure we will,” Durant told reporters. “Got a long season ahead.”
Durant could make a strong case as the NBA’s best player, though it remains to be seen if he’s an actual winner. As one opposing player once told Amico Hoops, “Any All-Star could’ve joined the Warriors and won as much as Durant. Jimmy Butler, James Harden, Russell Westbrook … any of them. He’s a really good player but he ain’t no more special than any other really good player.”
Soon enough, the two-time defending champion Warriors may find that out. As in, over the summer, when Durant can walk away again, only this time from them.