Draymond Green’s recruitment of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors began earlier than anyone had previously realized.
Green reveals that he rang up KD while stewing immediately following the Cleveland Cavaliers’ improbable triumph in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals.
In the Oracle Arena parking lot after losing Game 7, Draymond Green sat in his car and made two phone calls: https://t.co/FqfeNw95mC
— Zach Lowe (@ZachLowe_NBA) June 8, 2017
“That play?” Green said, his voice rising. “I don’t regret it. Like, I just don’t. Some would say maybe I’m wrong for not regretting it. I don’t live my life with regrets. I move on. It was never like, ‘Oh man, I cost these guys a championship. Now, do I believe in my heart that I did cost us? Yeah, I do. Absolutely. But I still don’t regret that play.”
That play, of course, was Green swiping at LeBron James’ groin as the world’s best player stepped over him in an act Green and his team viewed as an intentional, emasculating taunt. The resulting flagrant foul mandated Green be suspended from Game 5 in Oakland. The Warriors were up 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. They never won again.
“I look at it as we lost the Finals, but we ended up with KD,” Green said. “That’s a helluva consolation prize.”
Green was already working on that as he left Oracle Arena after that gutting Game 7 loss. Green sat in his car in the parking and called (GM Bob) Myers, telling him he had to sign Durant. “It’s on you,” Green told Myers.
Green hung up, stayed in the parking lot, and made another call — to Durant. “That was my very next call,” Green said. Two weeks later, Durant signed a maximum contract that put him in a Golden State uniform for at least one season, with several more seasons likely to come.