Kevin Durant’s tenure with the Golden State Warriors feels as if it’s coming to a crash landing for him and everyone who surrounds the NBA’s seemingly unbeatable dynasty. His latest spat with Draymond Green resulted in a one-game suspension for the team’s heartbeat, and the rest of the league is now reading the chaotic state of the reigning back-to-back champions like an open book.
Green reportedly calling Durant a “b****” repeatedly and confronting him on his looming, assumed free agency decision may have been the inevitable volcanic eruption this team was always destined to have.
There were small flares over the years which foreshadowed it, and the very public demeanors of Durant and Green wrote this script long ago.
Here’s a brief recap as to how we got here with the most dominant, star-studded assortment of athletes to share the court in the NBA.
July 4, 2016: My Next Chapter meme goes viral
Durant made his announcement to leave Oklahoma City came in the form of a Players Tribune announcement. Even to this day, we see the memes. With his arms folded, wearing a blank white shirt that’s asking to be photoshopped as the lead image for the story, Durant set himself up for ridicule.
Any time anything’s gone wrong within the Warriors franchise, memes of Durant wearing that same shirt with another team’s logo with “My Next Chapter” text overlaying goes viral. Whenever another team in any sport wins a championship, the meme persists.
The joke is simply that Durant joins teams that were great before he came there — a theme that he still doesn’t look comfortable living out.
Jan. 7, 2017: Draymond argues with KD amidst a 24-point collapse
The first minor dispute between Green and Durant came early into their tenure together. While Golden State was in the process of surrendering a 24-point lead to lose to the Grizzlies, Green scolded Durant on the court.
Draymond ain't happy with KD pic.twitter.com/bc97cDJaZg— Full Court Prez (@fullcourtprez) January 7, 2017
Green’s frustration grew for the polar opposite reason Durant would get angry at him for a year later. Trailing by two points in the finals seconds of the game, Durant dribbled out the clock and stepped into a contested three — which he missed — rather than moving the ball.
It didn’t mean too much at the time, and it ended in a handshake. This was just the beginning after all.
Feb. 4, 2017: Draymond and KD argue again in the bench huddle
It took only a month for Green and KD to pick up where they left off, except this time Durant went back at him. The dispute came during a rare night when Durant shot poorly from the field (2-of-10) and the Warriors lost to a ghastly Kings team.
After the game, Draymond tried to downplay the argument on Snapchat, saying “Blah blah blah.”
But, for real, no big deal. It’s not the first or last time Draymond has yelled at another teammate, and it’s not the first or last time Durant has stood up for himself. This is what happens when you play poorly, and this is how good teams get better. By talking out their differences. Clearing the air, no matter how publicly.
Sept. 2017: Kevin Durant’s Instagram burner accounts are unearthed
Despite winning a title and getting everything he wanted from the move to Oakland, Durant took to using a private Instagram account to go back at his haters under an anonymous persona that got busted.
He said things like this:
and yes, if this is KD's secret instagram, he has argued at people with it. (the "quiresultan" user name is supposedly him.) pic.twitter.com/3cYEVf788e— Tim Cato (@tim_cato) September 18, 2017
And he became the center of NBA-themed jokes all over again.
He apologized for it:
Full Kevin Durant comment on his tweets yesterday regarding Donovan, OKC pic.twitter.com/wtfocllp3s— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) September 19, 2017
June 9, 2018: David West and Shaun Livingston allude something’s going on
The 2017-18 Warriors season was a slog, but there wasn’t much public dispute between Durant and any of his teammates. There were media narratives that the ball wasn’t being shared well enough, and constant debate over whether the teams belonged to Steph Curry or Durant, but nothing front-facing.
After the team won a second consecutive title, though, overcoming a tough Rockets team along the way, David West revealed that something was going on behind the scenes, saying people would be shocked when it comes out.
Warriors forward David West says there was a lot going on behind the scenes that people will be shocked about when it comes out.— Marc J. Spears (@MarcJSpearsESPN) June 9, 2018
“Shout out to Steve Kerr for dealing with all our B.S. this year,” Livingston also said after the win, according to ESPN’s Marc Spears.
Were West and Livingston alluding to a Durant-Green rift?
June 12, 2018: GM Bob Myers got awkward
At the Warriors championship parade, Warriors general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr joined play-by-play broadcaster Bob Fitzgerald to M.C. in front of fans. When Fitzgerald jokingly asked if free agent Durant would be able to sign whatever contract he pleased like Steph Curry, things got weird.
Reporter: I heard you tell Steve that Kevin Durant could have whatever contract he wants next year.
Myers: That was just for the media he can’t have anything.
Reporter: Because I think I heard you tell Steph he could have whatever contract he wants too.
Myers: Well that’s different. He’s been here since the way-before days. He’s earned itA.
Reporter: And there ended the Warriors cohesion right there.
Myers apologized for it, but claimed there were no hard feelings between he and Durant, who often joke about things of that nature. “He’s fine,” Myers said, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. “We laughed about it. No hint (at angst) at all. I didn’t think about (any backlash) in the moment.”
Regardless, the joke was clumsy at best and cutting at worst.
Nov. 13, 2018: Durant and Draymond get into their biggest argument yet
With Curry out due to injury, Green grabbed a board right from Durant’s grasp in the final seconds of a tie against the Clippers. With Durant standing in the backcourt clapping for the ball, Green dribbled up the floor and turned it over, sending the game into overtime.
Durant was pissed.
Kevin Durant & Draymond Green get into a heated exchange after Draymond failed to get a shot off at the end of regulation during the Warriors loss to the Clippers. pic.twitter.com/uYROz4bld1— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) November 13, 2018
Green reportedly called Durant “a b****,” and confronted him about his lack of transparency for his upcoming free agency decision. Neither spoke to media after the game, and the following day Green was suspended and fined.
After Durant led the Warriors to victory the following night without Green, he informed the media he hadn’t yet spoken to Green.
Kevin Durant said he hasn’t spoken to Draymond Green yet, declines to go into details about last night pic.twitter.com/RiiXubrJPm— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) November 14, 2018
Reporter: Have you and Draymond been able to has anything out?
Reporter: Do you see that happening any time soon?
Durant: I’m sure we will. Got a long season ahead.
Reporter: Did he cross the line with anything last night that was said?
Durant: I’m going to keep that in house. That’s what we do here. Obviously I know you guys got a job to do, but I’m not trying to give nobody no headlines. What happened, happened. We’re trying to move on, play basketball.
Green has yet to publicly respond, but Durant’s brother has already weighed in on Instagram:
Kevin Durant’s brother gives his 2 cents on the KD/Draymond saga.— Grind City Media (@grindcitymedia) November 14, 2018
( :TDurant/Instagram) pic.twitter.com/4cm8W5wri8
Where the drama goes from here could make this dust-up look foolish, or it could be the turning point that can end a dynasty.