A fix: A position of difficulty and embarrassment.
To fix: To renew and realign. To repair, mend, and set in order.
Same word. Different parts of speech. But for the Golden State Warriors, they are two parallel themes that could stain the season in November and topple the dynasty in two Julys.
The costly decision of not calling a time out during a tied game with seconds left in regulation should’ve been the only position of slight embarrassment for the ‘Dubs in Los Angeles on Monday. But the heat of competition engulfs and scorches the selfless and well meaning as well as the selfish and nefarious alike. When the smoke emanating from the visitors’ sideline and locker room in Staples cleared, Steve Kerr, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant all ended up with third degree burns. Green and Durant for their clash. Kerr for his handling of the aftermath.
It is no secret that Green, for the betterment of the team and for the worst of it, runs hot. He even admitted such in his first presser since the incident.
Full Draymond Green statement in text form. Most eyebrow raising part, in my opinion: "Whatever Kevin decide to do, whatever Klay decides to do, whatever who decides to do, we had great years together." pic.twitter.com/YAfzwmAbcn— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 15, 2018
His competitive fire and intensity is what gives the Warriors their edge. Kerr and the front office loved that edge — as Kerr told Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck in May, they “...are more alike than people would ever think.” They loved the same edge that cut into Kerr two years ago in Oklahoma City. Green screamed that he wasn’t a f**king robot and had to be restrained. He did and said a plethora of out of pocket things in OKC but he didn’t get a suspension for it.
Now suddenly, Green’s fire and edge is a problem. Why? I think it’s because Kerr and the front office felt the need to smooth things over with Durant — they levied that suspension to flex their authority in the name of appeasement. I understand the need to do what it takes to keep Durant in the Bay, but when does the catering, deferment and acquiescing end?
The whole organization has done everything in their power through their actions on and off the court to get Durant to commit. Yet, he keeps signing these one plus one’s to “keep his options open”. On one hand, it’s prudent and just smart business sense. On the other, it can also be seen as keeping the team hostage and drumming up hype for his image and brand.
It seems to me that Durant thought that the achievements during his two years as a Warrior would bring him not only instant adulation, but the adulation that Stephen Curry and even LeBron James receives. But the problem is that while the majority of fans respect and appreciate Durant the man and the player, the truth is that he neither has nor commands the type of love that Curry receives. So this one plus one seems like more of flex of ego than the first one he signed.
Regardless of team, fans only blow when you’re hot. And for the majority of the fan base, they feel that Curry is the hottest. Why? Because they saw his injuries, disappointment and frustrations with said injures in real time. They also witnessed Curry’s rehabilitation and the the hard work that he put it to turn himself into an elite player. It also doesn’t hurt that people love his vibe and personality. While the majority of fans may have love, adoration, praise and respect for Durant and his game, the Warriors are and forever will be synonymous with Curry. The attachment is something that Durant can’t compete with regardless of what he does.
I think that Green, as well as the rest of the squad knows what time it is. Durant’s impending free agency and the rumors swirling around it is the undercurrent of the season and a distraction. I also think they know, that Durant is handling his free agency in a way that draws unnecessary attention to himself.
In a weird way, maybe putting this issue out there instead of letting it continue to fester is a good thing. But as always, it’s not what you do. It’s how you do it — discussing it out in the open is not how you do it.
Green was out of line for discussing Durant’s contract situation in public — no one should watch another man’s money. Secondly, Green was also out of line for repeatedly calling Durant a b*tch. However, this incident was for the two players to sort out and fix without Kerr, et al’s intervention.
Tiffs between teammates are nothing new, and Kerr of all people should know this. Durant and Green would have sulked for a few days before squashing it. Since Kerr and the front office wouldn’t just let this tiff take it’s course, what was once a position of slight embarrassment escalated into a hot mess.
A hot mess that could drive the temperamental Durant out of the Bay despite the team’s best efforts to get him to re-sign. Sacrificing Green for the sake of saying “Kevin, we supported you in the Draymond incident, How are we not committed to you?” will not keep Durant in a Warriors uniform.
Instead, it would cost the Warriors an integral part of their championship teams who’s committed to the grind and hustle of defense. One who isn’t afraid to mix it up and display an edge for a player who’s been noncommittal and vague about his plans. For a player who could very well leave regardless of what the Warriors do or don’t do.
In order for the Warriors to repair the damage, the front office must restore and mend their relationship with Green. Somehow, they will have to make amends for the suspension and the optics of it. As of today, Green and Durant are on speaking terms and they are trying to move forward. However, the relationship between Green and the Front office is the most difficult one to restore and repair. While Green and Durant’s differences stemmed from the action on the court and unfortunately spun out of control, the Warriors’ front office did little to help an already touchy situation with that suspension.
The Warriors are still in a fix. A fix steeped in ego and pride. And if they don’t soon smooth it out with Green soon, the fix will be tough to set in order.