NBA Rumor: Kerr-Green Dynamic

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Steve Kerr: 'We're riding with Draymond'

“If you want to win a game, you need Draymond on your team. And he’s loyal. He’s a competitor. He’s a winner. And if the price to pay on that is, you know, him spilling his emotions over the top sometimes, so be it. Having said that, he knows that he crossed the line. And so then the key for Draymond is to play with passion and energy but know when to draw the line. … But everybody in that locker room loves him and respects him. He’s our leader. I think those guys all said that after the game: We’re riding with Draymond.”

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Golden State has been upfront about building something for the future. If that’s true, it does make sense to use this to that end. The Warriors could fine him (and maybe did privately). They could suspend him, which they’ve done before. They could trade him, but if they didn’t do it before, it doesn’t make sense to do it from this position of weakness. If the Warriors are going to move on from a franchise legend, it should be because they have a better option in place and not as a form of chastisement.

When Draymond Green sees Michigan State retire his No. 23 jersey Tuesday, Steve Kerr will be a part of the memories. The coach will leave the Warriors’ five-game, eight-day road trip to witness Green, whom he calls the “heartbeat” of the team, earn one of the greatest honors a player can know. “When I think about what’s he’s meant to the Warriors and my coaching career, the least I can do is be there for him on a big night,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area. “There’s not even a second thought.”
2 years ago via ESPN

Green said he wasn’t outwardly concerned, because he wasn’t going to let one emotional outburst in a heated moment change how he felt. “Because someone else’s opinion or how they necessarily may feel ain’t getting me to where I am in the first place,” Green said, explaining his mentality. “So, I don’t really spend my time worrying about how anyone feels. I think everyone is entitled to their own feelings and opinions. So, I don’t take anyone’s feeling or opinions personal because it’s just that for them — it’s personal for them. So, who am I to feel a way about how someone else may feel or feel in the moment? That’s human nature, and we all have those [moments], so that’s how I’m able to move forward.”

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.
2 years ago via ESPN

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.

“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.”

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.
4 years ago via ESPN

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.”
4 years ago via ESPN

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.”
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Storyline: Luka Doncic Injury