Last November, in the middle of a Warriors game that wasn't going so well against the Clippers, Draymond Green infamously blew up on Kevin Durant, reportedly calling him a 'b----' multiple times before dropping the real bombshell that the Warriors didn't need Durant, that they had won without him, and that he should go ahead and "leave" as a free agent.
Well, Durant did leave.
And the Warriors are now one of the worst teams in the league.
In the aftermath of Durant's decision to sign with the Brooklyn Nets this past summer, speculation as to what fueled that decision ran wild. Was he tired of playing in Stephen Curry's shadow? Did he want to prove he could win a title on his own? Like any other human being, was he simply ready for a change?
But the thing that hung over all this was the Draymond incident. What role, if any at all, did Green's demeaning attack on Durant play in K.D. leaving Golden State? On Thursday, Durant was asked that exact question by Stephen A. Smith on ESPN's "First Take." Here is the transcript, and you can watch the video below.
SMITH: Did [the Draymond incident] play a role in you leaving Golden State?
DURANT: A little bit, yeah, for sure.
MAX KELLERMAN: Do you want to expand on that at all?
DURANT: Yeah, I mean your teammate talk to you that way, you think about it a bit. Like I said, we talked about it, but definitely, for sure, I'm not going to lie about it.
Molly Qerim eventually followed up by asking Durant why he "ultimately" left Golden State, giving the superstar a chance to sort of summarize all that went into the decision, and Durant said he "just needed a switch," adding that he felt like a "lot of stuff in Golden State had reared its head." He went on to say the Warriors' run was, in his mind, coming to an end, and that the 2019-20 season was "going to be the end no matter what for that group."
Durant cited that Shaun Livingston was retiring, that Andre Iguodala was "getting older," and that all the Warriors' big contracts were going to "stifle the team" moving forward in terms of being able to add other players.
"It was time for all of us to separate," Durant said.
Except, all of them didn't separate. Yes, Livingston retired. But other than that, the core of this Warriors team would almost certainly still be intact had Durant stayed. The reason Iguodala was eventually traded was because the Warriors wound up doing a sign and trade with the Nets for D'Angelo Russell -- again, a result of Durant leaving -- and had to clear the cap space to make it happen. If Durant had stayed, Iguodala would almost certainly still be on the Warriors, and the team would still be in the top-tier championship mix as it waited on Klay Thompson to return from ACL surgery and now Stephen Curry to return from his broken hand to heal.
Instead, Durant is gone, Curry is out, Thompson is out, Russell is in, and the Warriors are almost certain to now end up in the lottery with, as stated above, legitimately one of the worst teams in the league. Just Durant's presence alone would completely change the Warriors' forecast. Even with all the other injuries. But they don't have him, and in Durant's own words, Draymond Green is at least part of the reason why.