Steve Kerr acknowledged using an expletive to air his frustrations with Draymond Green when speaking to assistant coach Mike Brown during Sunday’s 115-111 loss to the lowly Suns. The moment was caught on video and, while it wasn’t audible, viewers could read Kerr’s lips. Kerr wouldn’t go into details regarding any discussion he had with Green on Monday, saying “that’s private.” The two-time defending champions didn’t hold a formal practice and Kevin Durant was listed as day-to-day with a bruised right ankle he injured midway through the fourth quarter of the embarrassing defeat, which snapped an 18-game winning streak against Phoenix — longest in the NBA against a single opponent. The Warriors play again Wednesday at Houston to begin a tough four-game road trip.
In his own sarcastic way, however, Kerr did acknowledge that the lip readers weren’t necessarily wrong about what he said in that expletive-laced clip from Sunday’s 115-111 loss to the Suns. "What I said was I beg to differ with Draymond’s approach," Kerr said with a smirk. "Those were my exact words. I don’t know how somebody misconstrued that."
Steph [Curry] was asked on Bill Simmons' [podcast] for his favorite Draymond story. He pointed to your beefs with Steve Kerr at practice, which he called "amazing entertainment." Draymond Green: [Laughs] We used to battle in practice all the time. Steve would be like, "Get off the floor! You're done!" "I'm not done! I'm not getting off this floor!" Eventually I'd get off, but to be a pr---, I'd just do the Stairmaster courtside, extra hard. But our relationship is incredible. Definitely in the past we would butt heads a lot -- everybody knows about the blowup in OKC [at halftime during their 73-win season], where we had it out in the locker room -- but I think I've grown up, and also Steve knows me now. He put effort into understanding me, not changing me.
Fast-forward about one week. The Warriors had two off days in New York and were riding a two-game losing streak, their first one all season. Kerr had plans to go see “Hamilton” on Broadway with his wife. But Margot got a call from her husband. He was going to be late. He and Green grabbed a drink and just talked. “People don’t understand our relationship,” Green said recently. “I’m probably closer with Steve than any other player on this team.”
“I might have gone too far a couple times,” Kerr recalled. But Green almost welcomes the friction. So the two were made for each other in some ways.
“This year, we’ve even moved beyond that,” Kerr said, “to where I think we fully understand each other. And I understand you’ve gotta let Draymond be Draymond. In the end, it works. So I’ve got to give him the leash that he needs to turn it over and take some shots. “That’s fine, because in the end, the guy wins. He just wins. And he competes. One of the reasons he wins is because his emotional intensity is at a certain level. … So I couldn’t get too frustrated. I had to live through some nights where he didn’t have his full energy, was taking some bad shots and turning it over. As long as I was reminding myself that we’re getting the real Draymond in the playoffs.”
“We’ve got good guys. Nobody’s tripping. A very ego-less group,” West said. “In this environment, you can’t be mad. I’ve had to tell the young guys, ‘Y’all need to talk to some other people, ask guys what it’s like in other environments because this is not normal. You mu’fuckers better be thankful to God.’ Shiiiit. For a coach to, even when you’re young, sort of give you the freedom to be yourself and develop your own identity — as opposed to saying, ‘This is who the fuck you gone be.’ I told that to all of them. Damian Jones, Pat (McCaw), whoever else the fuck in here who’s young. Those of us who’s been to other places — Andre, Shaun, myself — we know this isn’t normal. Even Nick Young. He’s been saying all year, ‘I’ve never seen nothing like this in my life.’ A lot of it is the environment we have here.”
Drew Shiller: Steve Kerr: "There's nobody like him, honestly. I don't know another player who is like Draymond in this league ... his performance tonight was unreal." This is why I firmly believe Draymond is a Top 15 player (don't let his apathy during this regular season fool you...)
The Warriors were up 15 in the fourth quarter. They no doubt were going to beat the visiting Brooklyn Nets, but the drama was just beginning. Steve Kerr benched Draymond Green with 10:25 left in the game. And Green, who was 1 for 8 with four rebounds and three turnovers to that point, was furious. He was an All-Star headed for the Defensive Player of the Year award. He’d earned the right to play through his funk instead of being embarrassed with a benching. He sat the rest of the quarter and was still fuming after the game. “If he woulda said one more word to me, I was gonna go off on his ass,” Green said in the locker room, unapologetically loud. “One more word, I was ’bout to cuss his ass out. But he’s smart. I’ll give him that. He’s smart. He didn’t say one more word to me.”
Kerr had plans to go see “Hamilton” on Broadway with his wife. But Margot got a call from her husband. He was going to be late. He and Green grabbed a drink and just talked. “People don’t understand our relationship,” Green said recently. “I’m probably closer with Steve than any other player on this team.” When Kerr got the Warriors job and it became clear Green would be a central figure, he called up Michigan State coach Tom Izzo for advice on coaching Green. Izzo told Kerr to go at Green because that gets the most out of him. Kerr, whose competitive fire trends toward maniacal, had no problem acquiescing. “I might have gone too far a couple times,” Kerr recalled. But Green almost welcomes the friction. So the two were made for each other in some ways.
And Kerr was almost as non-communicative at his post-game presser when asked why Green played so little in a game that competitive until midway through the fourth quarter. “It just wasn’t his night,” Kerr said tersely.
I’ve been in the Warriors’ locker room hundreds if not thousands of times, after horrible games and great games and middling games, and this was one of the more uncomfortable moods in there I’ve encountered. The main guess is that there are some edgy feelings between Draymond and Kerr, possibly tied to Draymond’s listless play throughout the game and Kerr’s reaction to it.
As the Warriors nursed a two-point lead, Kevin Durant missed a three from the top of the arc. Draymond Green, upset that his team hadn’t executed a Durant-Curry pick-and-roll on that crucial play, tore into Durant after the ensuing timeout. It left many to wonder: Was this a sign of something bigger? Is there internal turmoil? Head coach Steve Kerr, for his part, viewed the interaction as a positive.
“It was just good communication between two teammates who are passionate and trying to figure something out together,” Kerr said after practice Saturday. “Kevin didn’t take anything personally, and I thought Draymond handled it really well. We had a good film session, a good meeting today where guys talked about different things. It’s all part of the process.”
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr displeased about the Draymond rim hang technical, then jokes "used to happen to me all the time" pic.twitter.com/KjqtLKPqJd
IT'S FEB. 27 in Oklahoma City, during halftime of a nationally televised game, and Green is losing his holy mind. Inside the visitors locker room, he's hollering "I am not a robot!" at Kerr. When Kerr tells him to sit down, Green screams, "Motherf---er, come sit me down!" When he goes after Kerr, his teammates, including Curry and Thompson, step in to stave off disaster. Minutes later, in her report following halftime, ESPN sideline reporter Lisa Salters will recite a portion of Green's explosion: "I am not a robot! I know I can play! You have me messed up right now! If you don't want me to shoot, I won't shoot the rest of the game!" "I'm standing outside the locker room with the Oklahoma City police, which are always stationed outside of every locker room," Salters will later recall. "They kind of moved me aside, and the officer just kind of stood by the door, with his hand on his weapon like he was trying to determine what he should do. It was clear that something bad was about to happen in this locker room. We've never heard anything like this before."
Publicly, the Warriors downplay the incident. At the next practice, Kerr says, "It's the NBA. Every team I've ever been on has had stuff like this. Every team. Championship teams or not, it happens. It's 15 alpha males in a room trying to compete, money on the line and prestige and trophies and competition. This is being so overblown." Privately, according to sources close to the team, Green's teammates respond by voting to fine him. (When asked a week later about the fine, a livid Green would insist, "I asked to be fined. You can report that!") Green also does not take kindly to the coverage of his outburst, which leads to the Warriors brokering a sit-down between him and Salters. Salters recalls telling him, "What kind of bothered me about it was hearing the pain that was in your voice -- you weren't just mad, you were in pain, emotional pain."
April 15, 2021 | 8:19 am EDT Update
K.C. Johnson: LaVine: “Guys are frustrated. We know we’re better. We know we should be beating some of these teams. Frustration has to turn into something sooner than later.”
Added Zach LaVine, who scored 21 of his 30 points in the fourth but also had a crucial turnover late: “We didn’t play hard enough until the fourth quarter.” Don’t blame Young. He played just 14 minutes, his second-fewest this season, in another clear sign that Donovan is trying to find the right mix for his new toys. “We’re just still trying to find our identity. Who are we going to be as a team? How we’re going to play? What we’re going to do?” Young said. “On the defensive side, I think we still have a lot of, ‘What are we doing out there?’ Or, ‘How are we supposed to do this?’ It’s a lot of thinking that’s still going on. And trying to process how we need to play and what lineups need to be out there and how these lineups all work together.”
Thanks to Carter’s 19 points and 12 rebounds, as well as a defense that looked like it had somewhere else to be all evening, the Bulls dropped to 3-8 since the roster facelift, losing 115-106. After the game, coach Billy Donovan wasn’t about to sugarcoat this one. “We are not in a position right now to be looking at anybody and thinking we’re better than anybody,’’ Donovan said. “It doesn’t make a difference who we line up against. It could be a college team or high school team. If we’re not going [to] really be desperate and have that sense of urgency, I think this idea of when we sit there and say, ‘Well this team’s record is this.’ ‘This is one of the worst teams.’ Well, where are we at?’’
“And I think there’s sometimes this perception of ‘Oh wow, this is a team that is vying for a championship.’ No! We’re not. We’ve got to build those habits and we have not built them on a consistent enough level. “I don’t look at it all as Minnesota’s record, Orlando’s record. We don’t have that luxury. Because you know what? Is Orlando saying the same thing about us? Is Minnesota saying the same thing about us?”
Head coach Billy Donovan was once again asked about struggling rookie Patrick Williams in the starting lineup and possible changes moving forward. While there are no plans to make a move, Donovan made it very clear he will always do what’s best for the team. “I wouldn’t say he’s untouchable,’’ Donovan said. “Patrick I don’t think is any different from any guy on this team. He would do whatever he could to help the group.’’
“My team in Orlando was very special to me,’’ Vucevic said. “I came there as a kid and I left nine years later, but what I’m most proud of is the last couple years because we went through a lot, went through a rebuild and then a rebuild kind [of] again, and then we finally made the playoffs two years in a row, and I was able to become a two-time All-Star. “Hopefully fans will always remember me as someone who played hard, competed and gave his best. Hopefully they’ll remember my legacy there as something good. . . . At least now I can talk about it without crying, which is not bad. It’s a step forward.’’
Noel signed a one-year, $5 million deal with the Knicks. Noel thought he was worth more, but there were no bigger offers, and he eventually split with his agent, Rich Paul, in December. The former Kentucky product will be a free agent after this season and is having a strong audition. Knicks brass must decide this August whether to extend Robinson’s contract or let him become an unrestricted free agent in 2022. They can give themselves options by bringing back Noel, who is just 27 and a former lottery pick, on a multi-year deal.
But Doncic saw it swish, his momentum taking him into the lane as the ball splashed through the net, giving the Dallas Mavericks a stunningly improbable 114-113 win Wednesday at FedExForum in Memphis. “I was really surprised when it went in,” said Doncic, who celebrated the winner he called “kind of lucky” by calmly walking to the baseline before raising his hands in triumph and being mobbed by his Mavericks teammates. “Those are the best feelings ever.”