Early during the 2018-19 NBA season, there was a very public spat between then-teammates Kevin Durant and Draymond Green of the Golden State Warriors.
It took place during a game against the conference-rival Los Angeles Clippers. In the end, Green was suspended one game by the then two-time defending champs in an attempt to mitigate the fallout.
This never came to fruition. From that point on, Durant seemingly had one foot out the door in Northern California. An impending free agent, it seemed to be a foregone conclusion that the future Hall of Famer would depart the Warriors after leading them two consecutive titles.
Durant pretty much confirmed that on a recent podcast.
Kevin Durant admits he decided to team up with Kyrie Irving during final season with the Warriors
“The All-Star game video where they caught us in the hallway. That’s when it was solidified that we were going somewhere. They didn’t know for a fact where it was, but it was somewhere.”
This is interesting in that teaming up would never have included the Warriors. They have their own multi-time champion at point guard in that of Stephen Curry and didn’t boast anywhere near the financial ability to sign Irving.
What’s interesting here is that Irving pushed back against speculation during the above-mentioned All-Star Game that the interaction between him and Durant was anything more than two best buds hanging out.
“It’s a video of me and one of my best friends talking,” Irving said at the time. “And then it turns out to be a dissection of a free-agency meeting? Do you get that? Like, do you get that? And then I’m asked questions about that? That’s what disconnects me from all that s***.”
Kevin Durant and NBA free agency
After Golden State dropped the 2019 NBA Finals to the Toronto Raptors, a series in which Durant suffered a torn Achilles, he met with several suitors. Again, it was seemingly a foregone conclusion that he would leave the Warriors.
Then-teammate Stephen Curry was overseas during the process and got on to a flight back home to the states in order to meet with Durant. Before Curry landed, Durant had already made his decision.
One of the game’s best small forwards signed with the Brooklyn Nets to team up with Irving. It was not a surprise that the two chose the Big Apple. However, the New York Knicks’ inability to even be competitive in the sweepstakes for Durant and Irving was much talked about at that time.
It’s one of the things rarely talked about around the NBA. Players recruiting other stars to join them while going up against said rivals during the season. It’s what ultimately led to Durant joining the Warriors.
Add in the spat with Green, and that’s what led to his departure from the Warriors and the break up of the NBA’s most-recent dynasty. Durant now admits as much.