Draymond Green: ‘I took less so we could go after Kevin Durant’
The Golden State Warriors might have broken the NBA’s competitive balance, but as it turns out, it was only due to a collective sacrifice by their players.
Forward Draymond Green admitted that the Warriors had planned to make a major addition, even before losing in the 2016 NBA Finals.
“I took less so we could go after KD,” Draymond Green told ESPN’s Chris Haynes during the Finals. “I am a student of this game, and I studied the business side of it and the numbers, where some people don’t. They leave it up to their agent to do it.”
Green signed a beefy five-year, $82 million extension in 2015, about $8 million less than the max after earning less than $1 million per year in each of his previous three seasons with the team.
Coupled with Curry’s team-friendly deal of four years at $44 million, the Warriors still had room to sign Durant, with Klay Thompson already deadlocked in to a four-year, $69 million deal.
Also financially savvy, it was Green who masterminded the pursuit of Durant, infamously calling him from the locker room after a Game 7 loss, prompting him to join Golden State in what would build a dynasty in the making.
“I want to win,” Green said, sharing the same ruthlessness in spirit than the Warriors’ self-admittedly ambitious owner Joe Lacob. “I want to win at all costs.”
Green took a few less million, which gave Golden State enough room to absorb Durant’s $26 million salary for 2016-17, one he restructured the next summer.
“I think my max was $96 million,” Green said, thinking back in his lone free agency stint. “That money is not changing my neighborhood. It’s probably $6 million after taxes and fees. It’s not changing my neighborhood, but championships can. Championships can change my life.”
“So it’s about what’s important to you. And I knew how important it was to me and the opportunity we could have if I did what I did. And I didn’t need [Warriors general manager] Bob [Myers] to explain that to me. Bob never once explained that to me. I knew it going in. So that’s where I based my negotiations at. The number I asked for, I got.”
Kevin Durant paid back that same sacrifice in his first offseason following a championship, taking substantially less to facilitate the signings of several players, including veterans Zaza Pachulia, David West, and JaVale McGee, who the Warriors signed already elbows deep in the luxury tax.