Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green knew Kevin Durant was the answer for his team to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers. So he reached out.
Green recently told ESPN’s Zach Lowe, a trusted reporter, he called Warriors GM Bob Myers as well as Durant after the 2016 NBA Finals.
Durant, who perhaps feared tampering violations or was more likely just tired of talking about the same storyline, denied this to a group of reporters (via USA TODAY):
That’s false, 100% false. I’ve been talking about this all season. Like, I’m tired of it. At this point I’m not mad or anything, but I’m just saying at this point in the Finals, I’m trying to stay where we are. I’m trying to stay locked in. And like it’s been the whole year now, so it’s over.
After the Warriors defeated the Cavs on Monday evening, Lee Jenkins wrote about the significant exchange Green had with Durant last year.
According to the article, Green believed Golden State needed someone who could alleviate pressure off Stephen Curry and apply more defensive strength to cover LeBron James.
Jenkins adds more detail to the narrative, explaining it was a text and not a phone call (via Sports Illustrated):
And so, at that locker, in that uniform, less than an hour after the most excruciating loss of his life, Green punched up Kevin Durant’s number. “See what we’re missing,” Green says, recounting the text message he sent Durant. “We need you. Make it happen.” Green had been courting Durant for months, but this was his strongest pitch yet, delivered at the most dramatic juncture. “Right after you lose Game 7,” Green says, “shows you’re serious.”
While the Warriors were 73-9 without Durant, they needed him for the NBA Finals against James.
Jenkins reports one Thunder official, who had consistent communication with Durant and believed he would re-sign in Oklahoma City, noticed something was different once Golden State lost to Cleveland in 2016. Apparently, he’d become more distant.
Durant responded to Green, saying he was ready. One year later, they became NBA Champions. Durant was awarded the 2017 Finals MVP.
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