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Draymond Green: ‘I took less so we could go after Kevin Durant’

Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Warriors

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.