Kevin Durant and Draymond Green held a frank conversation about the split between Durant and the Golden State Warriors earlier this week, and ESPN star Stephen A. Smith remarked on one thing that could have changed their trajectory.
Both players said in a Bleacher Report conversation they believed coach Steve Kerr and team president/general manager Bob Myers were to blame for mishandling an emotional spat after an overtime loss against the Los Angeles Clippers in December 2018.
“It wasn’t the argument,” Durant told Green in the first episode of “Chips” on Wednesday. “It was the way that everybody — Steve Kerr — acted like it didn’t happen. Bob Myers tried to just discipline you [Green] and think that would put the mask over everything.”
Green, who was suspended for the incident, said he gave a different message to Myers and others Warriors officials when he was asked to apologize to Durant.
“’Y’all are about to f—k this up,” Green said he told officials. “I said, ‘The only person that can make this right is me and K [Durant]. And there is nothing that y’all can do, and y’all are going to f—k this up.’ And in my opinion, they f—ked it up.”
Durant agreed with Green. The Warriors would go on to lose in the NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors and Durant would tear his ACL in the series before deciding to leave for the Brooklyn Nets in the subsequent offseason.
Smith suggested if the Warriors had a Black executive then the entire situation would have been handled a different way.
“There was no one of African American descent that had any kind of cache within the organization in folks’ eyes that could have brought KD and Draymond together. That’s the perception league-wide no matter where you turn,” he said on “First Take.”
“It’s not about numbers, it’s not about bodies. It’s about individuals of African American descent, employed by those organizations and what kind of power and influence are they truly granted to cultivate relationships and make a difference.”
Smith said that White executives in power are “incredibly guarded.”
“They keep people at bay because they want to be the ones to have the relationship. They don’t want you to be the one to do so, because that can pose a threat. Ultimately, your relationship with the players can elevate to such a degree that you become empowered and usurp their authority.”