© Ed Szczepanski | 2018 Dec 14
After an offseason that saw players like Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, Shaun Livingston, and DeMarcus Cousins leave the Golden State Warriors, the team agreed to a contract extension with Draymond Green, locking up another one of their foundational pieces for the long-haul. After spending the last few seasons dealing with the year-to-year commitment of Kevin Durant, Draymond took the opportunity to end the public speculation about his free agency before it even began.
Green has been the teammate of two superstar players on polar opposite ends of the free agency spectrum. Durant was such a sought-after free agent that all the speculation about his decision became the biggest story in the NBA last season. Cousins, meanwhile, was due for a monster contract before rupturing his Achilles tendon with the Pelicans and ended up signing one-year deals with both the Warriors and Los Angeles Lakers.
On November 12 against the Los Angeles Clippers, Green and Durant got into it on the sidelines and created drama regarding Durant’s upcoming free agency decision that would linger for the rest of their season. Whether they were playing a regular season game in January against the Grizzlies or an NBA Finals game against the Raptors, the story was about Durant’s free agency.
Anthony Slater, a Warriors beat writer for The Athletic, stopped by the Papa & Lund show on Monday to discuss Green’s contract extension and how Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins’ free agencies affected the situation.
“I think it informed him,” Slater said. “I think a lot of things probably informed him on making this decision including DeMarcus Cousins. Hey you look at Cousins, he was supposed to get the mega max from the Kings and then the Pelicans and then he rips the Achillies and he just got $3.5 million from the Lakers. I mean he basically just made eight million combined the last two years when he should have been making about 30. So, I think body-wise he’s thinking ‘hey lock into it before something catastrophic potentially happens.'”
Slater continued: “And then as far as the drama of next year, I mean everyone in the entire organization, I think Kevin Durant included, who just signed a four-year deal with the Nets so he’s not coming back into free agency, kinda realized how much that can hijack a franchise and kind of hijack a season. You know and a lot of that isn’t, like Kevin Durant, I don’t think was purposefully trying to make that the story of the season and the drama, but that’s just the reality of today’s media and how we cover the NBA and how we consume the NBA.
“We’re always talking about looking forward, Draymond probably just would have wanted to play next season and the deal with free agency in July but if he was on a one-year contract we would not allow him to, right? We would be asking questions every day. We would be talking about potential trades coming into the deadline if they didn’t have that great of a record and he was on an expiring deal. He just kinda nixed that 11 months before it was possible.”
Slater then expanded on the idea of Draymond taking the opposite approach as Kevin Durant when it came to his pending free agency.
“I think he also had the understanding that it would have been kind of hypocritical of him to make that the drama of the season when he kinda was the one yelling at Kevin Durant ‘why are you making it the drama of the season?'”
Listen to the full interview with Anthony Slater below. To hear him discuss Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins’ influence on Draymond Green’s free agency, start from 6:04.