Green defended Durant’s decision to sign with the reigning Western Conference champions and didn’t hesitate to rip Paul Pierce and others for attacking the former Oklahoma City Thunder star, per Anthony Slater of the San Jose Mercury News:
I just wonder at what point do they get bored talking about the same thing. You got all these guys talking. Like (Paul) Pierce today, like, dude nobody care what you did or who you did it for. Just give it a break. Everybody got something to say and want to take everything he say and twist it. Like, he play with the Warriors. OKC has their team, we have our team. He left there.
Pierce recently appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio and criticized Durant's decision to join the Warriors after they beat his Thunder in last year’s playoffs. HoopsHype (h/t Jon Hamm of the Daily Thunder) provided Pierce's quotes:
Pierce also tweeted in the aftermath of Durant’s decision in the summer:
Green continued, per Slater:
Nobody complain when somebody leave Apple and go to Google. Aren’t they in competition with each other? Nobody talk junk about the CEO who leaves Apple and goes to Google. As a basketball player, you are the CEO of a business. He is the CEO of that business. So him going to play basketball for a different team, the CEO decided to leave where he was at and go somewhere else. But there’s so many guys in this for a different team, the CEO decided to leave where he was at and go somewhere else.
Pierce is not the only player to express dismay at Durant’s new playing situation.
Durant said Golden State was a "perfect fit" and praised the selfless players around him, per Slater. Former teammate Russell Westbrook wasn’t exactly complimentary of Durant’s comments, though, per Royce Young of ESPN.com:
Green thought those criticizing Durant should take a different approach, per Slater:
But there’s so many guys in this league that are so stupid they don’t think like that. They don’t think business wise. It happens every day in the world. But in basketball it’s a problem. Aren’t you competitive in your day job if you work for Apple? Don’t you want to outdo Google? What’s the difference on the basketball court? It’s your day job. You want to do what’s better for you. If it’s better for your family life, better for your happiness. Ain’t no one criticizing them. I don’t understand it. I’ll never understand it. So that’s just me. And I’d be willing to bet my salary ain’t many guys in this league more competitive than me.
On the surface, Westbrook’s frustrations are understandable. The Thunder reached the NBA Finals in 2011-12 and the Western Conference Finals last season behind the twosome. Last year’s loss to the Warriors was particularly hard because Oklahoma City seized a 3-1 lead and appeared to be in full control against the record-setting 73-win Warriors before dropping the final three games.
It was essentially a coin-toss series, and Durant could have set up an epic rematch in this season’s playoffs if he returned to Oklahoma City. Instead, he joined the team that eliminated Westbrook’s Thunder and tipped the scales in Golden State’s favor.
As for Pierce, his Los Angeles Clippers have never advanced past the conference semifinals. On paper, this season’s team is talented enough to break that mark with Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, but the loaded Warriors stand in their way.
While Pierce is likely concerned the Warriors are so talented this season, he won a title in 2007-08 on a Boston Celtics superteam that included Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo and Ray Allen. KJ NBA noted Pierce seemed to be in favor of joining talented teammates before that title run:
There is lingering frustration around the league that Golden State resembles an All-Star team, but Durant had the right to join the club that gave him the best chance to win his first career title, and he did so.