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Enjoy the Warriors parade, did you? Well sober up. There’s a pressing question at hand.
How many larger-than-life, trophy-toting, future Hall-of-Famers can you keep on the head of a pin?
The Warriors may be about to find out.
First a disclaimer: Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson have played basketball at a phenomenal, almost spiritual level during their two seasons together. They have displayed little in the way of ego. They share the ball and the credit. But it is such an unprecedented dynamic that you can’t help but wonder how long the team can possibly keep itself together.
A hint from Sports Illustrated:
“With two years and $36 million remaining on his deal, (Draymond) Green is eligible for a three-year, $72 million extension, which would start in 2020-21.
‘THREE!’ chronicles the Warriors run to the 2018 NBA Championship.
“According to league sources, Green will turn the extension down when it’s offered. That’s because if he earns MVP, Defensive Player of the Year or All-NBA Team honors next season, he will be eligible for a super-max contract of five years, $226 million.
“I don’t look at it like it’s their turn to do me right,” Green told ESPN. “If I continue to play my game, if I continue to do better, they got to do me right, or somebody else will.”
Money can be a sure-fire Camelot-breaker, especially when paired with the rhetorical accelerent “or else.” But hey, look: Curry bided his time before scoring his max contract last year. Thompson is on record saying he’s fine taking less if it keeps the band together. Durant, according to Sports Illustrated, “could have taken about $6 million more from the Golden State Warriors (in 2017-18), but he elected not to as a way to encourage the team to keep Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston.”
Green, in case you forgot: “They got to do me right, or somebody else will.”
To be fair, Green’s comment is a 180-degree departure from his selfless, gritty, team-oriented demeanor on the court. And it is possible he is only saying what the other three Horsemen have thought.
Looking for other clues to potential dissention? Warriors GM Bob Myers, addressing a small audience and TV cameras before Tuesday’s parade, made an awkward funny about Durant’s upcoming contract negotiations that clanked like an Andris Biedrins free throw attempt. Some thought it clumsy and telling. Me? Meh.
How about forward David West after the sweep of the Cavaliers telling reporters the team had issues during the season “that would blow your mind. I’m sure you guys will figure it out after a while. But we had some stuff going on.”
After the parade, SI’s Lee Jenkins spent some time in Durant’s San Francisco penthouse. Durant got to musing about the trappings of fame and success.
“Pickup is the heartbeat of basketball,” Durant said, “the spirit of basketball, and as you get further and further away from that, to AAU to high school to college to the NBA, you’re stacking layers and layers of nonsense onto something simple. You get money involved — and here I am living in this penthouse in San Francisco — but if you can take it all the way back to streetball then nothing will really bother you. Just tie up your shoes and play.”
These are smart fellows who think deeply and with conviction. Again, an unprecedented alliance. So it’s natural for us to wonder, to parse a strained one-liner, to hear Durant’s disdain for “nonsense” and hear a man wondering about his place in the cosmos.
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We conclude with another question: When does a semi-random pecking order such as that begin to matter, and what happens when it does?
This news has been published by title Could Draymond Green’s Contract Stance Rattle Warriors’ Camelot?
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