"I think we’re the only team that can beat us," Klay Thompson surprisingly told his Warriors teammates in the midst of their post-game Monday meltdown, following an overtime loss to the Clippers. "Nobody else can beat us." They're headed for the very implosion Klay uncharacteristically voiced, according to an incredibly well-reported story about the fallout from Draymond Green's ruckus with Kevin Durant by long-time Warriors insider Marcus Thompson, now of the The Athletic.
According to Thompson, when Durant pounded the seat and excoriated Draymond Green for failing to get him the ball in the closing seconds of regulation against the Clippers on Monday, Green turned and asked him "Who the fuck you talking to?"
Green defended his play-making ability and brought up how successful the Warriors had been—with a title and a 73-win regular-season—before Kevin Durant joined the squad. Green's defensiveness and counterattack also happened to be punctuated by several instances of him calling Durant a "bitch," which you can actually see if you're lame enough to have re-watched DeMarcus Cousins attempting to calm Green down before the Warriors played overtime. Draymond also brought up KD's upcoming free agency this summer, and the implicit gulf it's created in the locker room with Klay Thompson and Green's future somewhat in limbo because Durant has kept his future deliberately cloudy. This despite the fact both Green and Thompson have voiced their desire to return.
It's also hard to miss how Green's sentiment was echoed in GM Bob Myers' awkward joke at KD's expense during Golden State's championship parade this past summer, though with severely tempered word choice. But Myers, a staunch defender of Green despite his on-court brio sometimes going too far and hurting the team, agreed to dock Green $120,000, which he makes each game, for trashing Durant in such a visceral fashion at so important a moment in the game.
And Steve Kerr, who seemed to nearly come to blows with Draymond during halftime of a game against the Thunder the season before Durant arrived in the Bay, was the ultimate say on Green's suspension and fine. So it's worth wondering if that sometimes tumultuous relationship between the emotional hub of the team, Green, and the coach holds up after Monday night and Tuesday's suspension.
One player who is obviously still smarting from the ordeal is Kevin Durant, who was sparse with his reply when asked about the fracas following Golden State's win over the Hawks on Tuesday. "I'm going to keep that in house, that's what we do here,'' Durant said. ''I'm not trying to give nobody no headlines. What happened, happened. We're trying to move on, we're just trying to play basketball.''
But moving on is going to be a lot more challenging than at first imagined when Green and KD were seen feuding on the court. Durant's free agency isn't going away any time soon, and the fracture with Draymond runs deep. However, Green might be even more integral to Golden State's success because of his defensive acumen, and he's going to be a free agent himself in the summer of 2020. What will the heavy-handed and public fine from his suspension mean to an emotional player who has used more minor slights as motivation on the court?
Green visited Steph Curry on Tuesday—his most ardent supporter on the team outside of Myers—to explain his side of the story because Steph was absent from the fireworks in L.A. as he recuperated from a groin strain. According to Thompson, Green acknowledged he went to hard at KD, particularly at such a fraught moment of the game. But the ripple effects from Green's often personal verbal jabs at Durant remain. It's unclear whether Green's feelings about how KD has kept his upcoming free agency so open-ended—a belief that's shared in other corners of the Warriors locker room, according to Thompson—will fester further after being fined so much by the team. A team Draymond has been unquestionably loyal to and instrumental in their ongoing success.
"With what was said, there is already no way Durant is coming back," one player told Thompson. "The only hope is that they can say this summer, 'See, KD. We’ve got your back. We protected you from Draymond.'" In his must-read piece, Thompson imagined a scenario no Warriors fan wants to even entertain, that KD leaves in free agency and Green similarly bounces the next summer. Yet, that's the breadth of the chasm that was created on a November night in L.A.