Draymond Green Explains Why Kevin Durant Leaving Warriors for Nets Was a 'Mistake'

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJune 2, 2022

USA's Kevin Wayne Durant (R) and Draymond Jamal Green celebrate with their gold medals in podium during the medal ceremony for the men's basketball competition of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on August 7, 2021. (Photo by Aris MESSINIS / AFP) (Photo by ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images)
ARIS MESSINIS/AFP via Getty Images

Kevin Durant one two titles with the Golden State Warriors in his three seasons with the team before signing with the Brooklyn Nets ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Since joining the Nets, Durant hasn't reached those heights from a team perspective, as injuries and other mitigating factors have seen the Nets only win one playoff series in the past two years.

And so there will be some NBA fans out there that believe that Durant's decision to leave the Warriors was the wrong one. His former teammate, Draymond Green, agrees, saying on the Colin Cowherd Podcast that Durant's departure was a "mistake" (h/t Dan Feldman of NBC Sports):

"Basketball is 100 percent the most important thing in Kevin's life. It is the thing that he cares about himself more than anything in the world. And when Kevin was here, the reason I thought Kevin was making a mistake, because I felt like when Kevin was here, what he was allowed to do was to simply just go play basketball, which is what Kevin loves to do."
"And so it wasn’t that he was going to play with Kyrie. It wasn't that everyone's, 'Oh, Kyrie isn't there.' It wasn't any of that. Or it wasn't, 'Oh man, you're winning championships.' It was more so, from me, from a life standpoint, because again, I care about the person. I don't give a damn about the basketball player. He's a great basketball player. I just care about the person. And I just knew what makes him happy in his life is being able to simply go play basketball. And so that's where the mistake was made for me."

From Green's perspective, that might seem true. But as Feldman noted, it's fair to question whether Durant was really able to focus on just basketball during his Warriors years.

Durant publicly revealed in 2019 he never really felt like he fit in with the rest of the Warriors. He grew weary of the huge media circus that stuck close to the team during his entire tenure and grew into a frenzy before his free agency, saying that even his own teammates and coaches pressed him for answers on his future.


This is the full 2:50 of Kevin Durant addressing why he hasn't been talking to the media lately: "I just don't trust none of y'all." <a href="https://t.co/MtftOpa3e4">pic.twitter.com/MtftOpa3e4</a>

And, of course, there was Green's famous outburst toward Durant in 2018, when he reportedly called him a "b---h" multiple times and reportedly said, "We don't need you. We won without you. Leave."

Durant didn't appreciate how the team handled that situation, later saying it wasn't internally spoken about or addressed beyond Green's one-game suspension. He left the team that summer.

Whether Durant believes leaving the Warriors was a mistake or not is for him to say, ultimately. From a championship perspective, it currently looks like the wrong decision, with the Dubs in the Finals against the Celtics.

But Durant will have more time to win with the Nets, and he seems to genuinely enjoy playing alongside his good friend Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. He hasn't expressed much publicly that would indicate he's unhappy with his move, even if his former teammate thinks it was the wrong choice.