HOUSTON – Inside this very building, the Toyota Center, nearly six months ago in the Western Conference finals, Golden State Warriors All-Stars Draymond Green and Kevin Durant weren’t having it.
The Houston Rockets had just gone up 3-2 in the series, and while the pair was getting dressed in the locker room, they became irritated that a reporter would suggest they were in trouble.
“Get the [expletive] out of here,” Green responded swiftly. “Watch us figure this [expletive] out.” Durant, who was at the locker stall directly to Green’s right, spouted, “[Expletive], you [are expletive] crazy.”
They ended up figuring it out.
But now, it’s possible Monday’s profanity-laced engagement — directed at each other during an overtime loss to the Los Angeles Clippers — may be too problematic, too callous and too detrimental to overcome.
But in actuality, Green’s rant was conduct detrimental to Durant’s future with the Warriors.
Related: See Kevin Durant through his NBA career:
Kevin Durant through the years
Kevin Durant through the years
University of Texas' Kevin Durant watches as a Texas A&M University player takes a free throw during the first half of their NCAA basketball game in Austin, Texas, February 28, 2007. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Kevin Durant of the University of Texas kisses his mother after being selected as the second overall pick by the Seattle Supersonics at the 2007 NBA Draft at Madison Square Garden in New York June 28, 2007. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton (UNITED STATES)
Seattle Supersonics Kevin Durant reacts during their NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles November 27, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
Seattle Supersonics Kevin Durant (R) fights for a rebound with Los Angeles Lakers Ronny Turiaf during their NBA basketball game in Los Angeles March 21, 2008. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES)
NBA Rookie of the Year Kevin Durant of the Seattle SuperSonics attends a news conference in Taipei July 26, 2008. Durant will visit Taiwan's Asian Youth Basketball national team training camp during his tour of Taiwan. REUTERS/Pichi Chuang (TAIWAN)
Sophomore's Kevin Durant from the Oklahoma City Thunder holds up his MVP trophy after the Rookie Challenge at the NBA All-Star basketball weekend in Phoenix, Arizona, February 13, 2009. REUTERS/Jessica Rinaldi (UNITED STATES)
Oklahoma City Thunder's Kevin Durant reacts during the second half of Game 2 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series against the Los Angeles Lakers in Los Angeles, April 20, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, (R) hugs teammate Russell Westbrook (0) in celebration late in the fourth quarter against the Lost Angeles Lakers during Game 3 of their NBA Western Conference playoff series in Oklahoma City, April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Kevin Durant of the U.S. looks at Hamed Ehadadi (L) from Iran during their FIBA Basketball World Championship game in Istanbul, September 1, 2010. REUTERS/Jeff Haynes (TURKEY - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant sits on the bench in the first half against the Dallas Mavericks during Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Final basketball playoff in Dallas, Texas May 17, 2011. REUTERS/Tim Sharp (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant dunks the ball against the Dallas Mavericks during the second half of their NBA basketball game in Dallas, Texas January 2, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder small forward Kevin Durant celebrates in the second half against the San Antonio Spurs during Game 3 of the NBA Western Conference basketball finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, May 31, 2012 REUTERS/Jim Young (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant attends a news conference held for the NBA Finals in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma June 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Stone (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (R) shoots over Miami Heat forward Shane Battier in the second quarter during Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals in Miami, Florida, June 19, 2012. REUTERS/Mike Segar (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
LeBron James (R) of the Miami Heat speaks as Kevin Durant (L) and Kobe Bryant listen during a news conference for the twelve players selected for the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada July 7, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Marcus (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL OLYMPICS)
Lebron James (L) and Kevin Durant of the U.S. pose with their gold medals during victory ceremony at the North Greenwich Arena during the London 2012 Olympic Games August 12, 2012. REUTERS/Sergio Perez (BRITAIN - Tags: OLYMPICS SPORT BASKETBALL)
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (C) shoots against Portland Trail Blazers Nicolas Batum (L) of France, and LaMarcus Aldridge (R) in the first half of their NBA basketball game in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma March 24, 2013. REUTERS/Bill Waugh (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)
May 7, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) is awarded the NBA Most Valuable Player award prior to action against the Los Angeles Clippers in game two of the second round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 25, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates scoring during the first quarter against the Philadelphia 76ers at the Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports
May 6, 2014; Oklahoma City, OK, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder head coach Scott Brooks speaks about how deserving Kevin Durant is of the 2013-2014 MVP award at Thunder Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports
NBA basketball player Kevin Durant accepts the Best Male Athlete Award during the inaugural 2014 Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Sports awards at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles, California July 17, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT SPORT BASKETBALL PROFILE)
Dec 23, 2015; Los Angeles, CA, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) moves to the basket against Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) during the 2nd quarter at Staples Center. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters
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(TAGS: Sport Basketball NBA) *** Local Caption *** 2015-12-24T044552Z_1591095791_NOCID_RTRMADP_3_NBA-OKLAHOMA-CITY-THUNDER-AT-LOS-ANGELES-LAKERS.JPG
Professional basketball player Kevin Durant speaks to the media during a Nike unveiling event in New York, March 17, 2016. REUTERS/Eduardo Munoz
May 30, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30, right) is congratulated by Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant (35) after game seven of the Western conference finals of the NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena. The Warriors defeated the Thunder 96-88. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Jul 7, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Kevin Durant poses for a photo with his jersey during a press conference after signing with the Golden State Warriors at the Warriors Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Preliminary - Men's Preliminary Round Group A USA v Venezuela - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 08/08/2016. Deandre Jordan (USA) of the USA and Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA. REUTERS/Jim Young FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Gold Medal Game Serbia v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA celebrates during the game. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Gold Medal Game Serbia v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Jimmy Butler (USA) of the USA (L), Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA and Deandre Jordan (USA) of the USA (R) stand with their gold medals for the playing of the U.S. National Anthem during the presentation ceremony for men's basketball. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS.
Apr 22, 2017; Portland, OR, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) smiles while sitting on the bench during warm-ups before game three of the first round of the 2017 NBA Playoffs Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jaime Valdez-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 7, 2017; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James (23) shoots as Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) guards during the first quarter in game three of the 2017 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 12, 2017; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) celebrates with the Larry O'Brien Trophy after beating the Cleveland Cavaliers in game five of the 2017 NBA Finals at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
Nov 18, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) reacts in the direction of fans after being fouled during the second half against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
“We’re banged up physically and banged up spiritually,” coach Steve Kerr said after the 107-86 loss. “There’s no getting around that.”
Yahoo Sports received additional accounts from numerous sources who were within earshot of what was verbalized in the Warriors’ heated huddle at the end of regulation Monday night.
Green called Durant a “bitch” multiple times, sources said. In a summarized version, sources said Green shouted, “You’re a bitch and you know you’re a bitch.” The rhetoric, sources said, continued even when Kerr attempted to direct the team’s attention to his whiteboard.
But what ultimately led to Green’s suspension, sources said, was a remark in which he dared Durant to bolt in free agency next summer. Durant has a player option for the 2019-20 season, and the Warriors want their superteam intact for the opening of their new arena, the Chase Center, in San Francisco next season.
Green blurted to Durant something along the lines of, “We don’t need you. We won without you. Leave,” sources said.
That stance couldn’t be any further from how the franchise views its odds of competing for titles in the future without Durant. The Warriors desperately want to re-sign the 7-foot small forward, and such a divisive incident in front of the entire team from one of their most influential players was deemed grounds for discipline.
Emotions got the best of both of them, but Green put the organization in a difficult spot.
There was a point during the argument when Durant cringed, and that was when it went from a typical competitive basketball argument to a personal shot that cut deep, sources said.
“If those emotions are what caused us to lose [Thursday night], then my bad,” said Green, who registered five boards, five assists and five turnovers in his first game back from the suspension. “But we’re not panicking. … We’re still the best team in the league and we’re going to win a bunch of games and go win another championship and we’ll be fine.”
But who said what matters in this situation.
The verbal jabs were uttered out of the very mouth of Green, who, two years ago, famously called Durant in the parking lot of Oracle Arena after losing Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals to LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers and relayed to him that the Warriors needed him.
Durant has faced immense criticism for his decision to join the Warriors, and to hear his teammate, who he’s won two consecutive championships with, echo some of those critics was distressing.
Durant has been in a foul mood ever since, and he now has the Warriors’ full attention. After the blowout loss in which he posted 20 points and five rebounds, he was asked to characterize how things are between him and Green.
“Don’t ask me about that again,” Durant responded.
Green initially was dismayed that Durant would show him up in that setting and at that juncture of the game, sources said.
Sources close to Green say he took exception to Durant’s criticism because he felt his desire to win was being questioned.
Green, the 2016-17 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, is the one who does the work that mostly goes unnoticed: sacrificing financially, freeing guys up with hard screens, anchoring the defense, recruiting, playmaking and filling the enforcer role.
Green also returned to action prematurely, sources said, as he continues to deal with a lingering toe injury that cost him two games last week, illustrating just how badly he wants to be on the court with his teammates.
Green took the first step in attempting to repair what appears to be a fragile relationship.
He went out of his way to approach Durant before shootaround Thursday morning. They walked inside the Toyota Center together, communicating in what appeared to be a positive conversation.
Rival teams and opposing players are attempting to gather more information on the morale and status of the Warriors, sources said. The whole affair is being viewed as promising to the opposition.
“What you must know is nobody in this organization — from a player, not myself, not Kevin, not anybody else — is going to beat us,” Green said Thursday before the game. “So, if you one of them other 29 teams in this league, you got to beat us. We’re not going to beat us. We’re going to continue to do what we do.”
As The Athletic reported, there are those in the organization who believe Durant is leaving at the conclusion of the season regardless of how the team finishes. And if that occurs, fairly or not, Monday’s verbal altercation will come up as a reason for his departure.
This storylines and the potential implications of Durant’s possible free agency are worth monitoring. Until then, the hope is Durant, Green and the organization can get back to their joyous, fun-filled winning ways.
If not, this very well could be the beginning of the end.
“You know, at the end of the day, as I’ve said before, whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay [Thompson] decides to do, whatever [whomever] decides to do, we had great years together and I support everybody wholeheartedly, 100 percent,” Green said. “Because as a man, as a human being, you got the right to do what you want with your life. So, I will never question that.”