Warriors forward Kevin Durant told Yahoo! Sports that last week’s heated in-game exchange with teammate Draymond Green — which then carried into the Golden State locker room — won’t have any impact on his impending free-agency decision.
“Nah, [it won’t factor],” Durant told Yahoo! of the incident, which led to Green’s being suspended one game for “conduct detrimental to the team.” “Because at the end of the day, I’m just a ballplayer that’s just trying to be in a great environment to play basketball and groom my skills every day. And I want to compete on a level that, once the game starts, I’m just totally comfortable with my surroundings, with just going out there and being me.”
Some witnesses described the closed-door exchange, which followed a 121-116 overtime loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles, as one of the most intense of this Warriors era, made all the more so by Durant’s looming free agency.
Durant signed a one-year deal with the Warriors in July that includes a player option for the 2019-20 season, which he is expected to decline in favor of testing free agency. He could still opt to re-sign with the Warriors, who will begin playing at Chase Center next season after 47 years at Oakland’s Oracle Arena. The nine-time All-Star recently took a guided tour of the San Francisco construction site.
Golden State’s decision to reprimand Green but not Durant has raised questions as to whether the Warriors are giving preferential treatment to the reigning two-time Finals MVP, whose free-agency decision has the potential to derail the franchise’s dynasty. Warriors owner Joe Lacob struck down that notion in a recent interview with the San Francisco Chronicle.
“I’ve read and heard all the things people are talking about — that we’re choosing one person over another,” Lacob told the Chronicle. “We’re not choosing anybody over anybody.”
Durant told Yahoo! Sports that while he was “upset” about the situation, “I know that I can’t hold on to something like this.
“I know that I’ve got to make a choice with myself, like how long are you going to be upset about this to the point where you’re going to let it affect what you do on the floor or how you approach the game? Once it gets there now, I got to make a grown-man decision and tell myself, ‘Look, man, no matter what, you still got to come to work every single day. It’s going to work out. It’s going to figure itself out.’ And I think everyone’s been handling it the best way they could, and we’re just trying to move forward with it.”
Since the confrontation between Durant and Green, the Warriors (12-6) have gone 1-3, including losing three straight on their recent Texas road trip. They next play Wednesday at home against the Oklahoma City Thunder.