- Chris Szagola/AP
The recruitment of Kevin Durant to the Golden State Warriors may have happened sooner than anyone realized.
Several reports have indicated that the Warriors had their eyes on Durant for years and wanted to target him in free agency in 2016.
But amid swirling rumors that there was serious interest between both parties last season, Draymond Green got things started almost immediately after the season ended.
According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, moments after the Warriors lost a gut-wrenching Game 7 to the Cleveland Cavaliers, blowing a 3-1 lead, Green reached out to Warriors GM Bob Myers and told him what he had to do. Then, from the Warriors parking lot, reached out to the prized free agent himself.
“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 lot and called 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.”
Green told Lowe that he’s “99 percent sure” that the Warriors wouldn’t have gotten Durant if they had won the championship last season. Of course, part of the reason the Warriors didn’t win is because Green lost his temper in Game 4, hit LeBron James in the groin, earning a flagrant foul and one-game suspension. The momentum in the series shifted, and the Cavs won the next three games.
Green told Lowe he doesn’t regret the play, and according to Lowe, everyone on the Warriors quickly forgave Green for losing his cool. After all, they still had two more chances to close it out with Green.
“I look at it as we lost the Finals, but we ended up with KD,” Green told Lowe. “That’s a helluva consolation prize.”
The deal wasn’t done simply with the phone call, of course – that merely planted the roots. The Warriors later flew out to visit Durant in the Hamptons and had a positive meeting that included Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, and Green telling Durant that they’re all willing to sacrifice for him in order to win. That sealed the deal.
Now the Warriors are on the cusp of a second championship in three years, and there’s no telling when this dynasty might slow down.