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Draymond Green: Kevin Durant was' 'elephant in the room' for Warriors last year

Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (L) said former teammate Kevin Durant (R) should have informed the team earlier about his intentions to leave the Warriors last off-season. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI
Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (L) said former teammate Kevin Durant (R) should have informed the team earlier about his intentions to leave the Warriors last off-season. File Photo by Terry Schmitt/UPI | License Photo

April 21 (UPI) -- Draymond Green says Kevin Durant was the "elephant in the room" during his final season with the Golden State Warriors and should have told the team sooner about his intentions to leave in free agency.

Green spoke about his former teammate during the Uninterrupted show WRTS: After Party. The Warriors star said he saw similarities to how the 1990s Chicago Bulls handled player contracts and transactions while watching The Last Dance documentary series, but wished Durant would have been as direct about the situation as Phil Jackson was with the Bulls.

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The Warriors traded Durant to the Nets last summer, as the 10-time All-Star would have left the team in free agency anyway if the Warriors wouldn't have completed the sign-and-trade deal with Brooklyn. Durant played on a one-year deal at the end of his tenure with the Warriors before choosing to opt-out of the 2020 season with the team.

Green said Durant should have let the Warriors know sooner if he wanted to stay or leave, a move which would have allowed them to clear the air and minimize distractions. Green said acknowledging contract situations would also limit the questions the team dealt with from the media.

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"So, for instance, Kevin took the one-year deal on his own," Green said. "So that was kind of the elephant in the room. And although [coach] Steve Kerr's approach was like, 'Hey, guys, let's approach this year because we don't know what next year brings,' you've got Kevin's contract, you've got [Klay Thompson]'s contract, and I kind of got thrown in that contract thing, although I had another year after that year, which was this year.

"And so that was kind of the elephant in the room, and although Steve would kind of hit on it, [saying] 'Let's just enjoy this year for what it is because we don't know what next year holds,' it didn't necessarily carry the same weight because what should have happened was Kevin come out and say, 'Hey, man, this is it, so let's do this,' or, 'This isn't it.'"

The Bulls knew their team was falling apart and Jackson led the 1997-1998 campaign with the mantra of The Last Dance, motivating the players to win another championship before the team was broken up.

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"I think Phil [Jackson] did what was great, which is acknowledge the elephant in the room," Green said. "Because all year, if Phil doesn't do that, all year everyone else is dealing with that somewhere. And whether it's coming in questions [from the media], so now once you get these questions from the media, we've already addressed that as a team.

"We really don't need to talk about that. And our season was a little different from the standpoint of it was contracts, but it was on players. It wasn't necessarily the organization."

Green and Thompson said they were committed to the Warriors when they answered questions about their contracts last season, unlike Durant.

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"And then you kind of had Kevin, [saying] like, 'I don't know what I'm going to do next year, and it don't matter'; but it does matter, because you're not the only person that has to answer that question," Green said.

Durant, 31, averaged 25.8 points, 7.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game in three seasons with the Warriors. The 2013-2014 NBA MVP won two championships with Golden State.

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