The Golden State Warriors defeated the Boston Celtics in the 2022 NBA Finals after missing the playoffs in consecutive years. It is their fourth world title in the last eight seasons. Even more importantly, this is their first championship since a series of unfortunate events had them at the bottom of the NBA. Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant’s departure, in addition to long-term injuries to All-Star guards Klay Thompson. and Steph Curry, led to them having a league-low 15 wins in 2020.
After three consecutive trips to the NBA Finals and winning two Finals MVP awards, Warriors fans expected Durant would re-sign with the franchise long-term. But after tearing his Achilles in the 2019 NBA Finals, he chose to join the Nets that summer. Warriors star Draymond Green called Durant’s move a ‘slap in the face’ to the franchise.
“There’s always things you want to prove. Ultimately, when Kevin came here, the main person who has to sign off on that is Steph. So, to open your door, to open your arms and accept someone with open arms, and it goes great and it’s short-lived, it’s a slap in the face,” Green said to Vincent Goodwill of “Yahoo Sports”.
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Green on Durant’s Departure: ‘No Hard Feelings’
Durant surprised everyone by electing to join the Nets in 2019. Mainly because Warriors star Steph Curry’s had taken a backseat to the former MVP. He did it willingly, despite having won a championship with the franchise before KD arrived in 2016. Green clarified his ‘slap in the face’ comments by stating that even though Durant chose to join the Nets, there are no hard feelings between him and his former Warriors teammates.
“Not necessarily a slap in the face, when someone chooses to do something else. But a slap in the face like, ‘I opened my home to you. I brought you into this. I made you a part of this. I wanted you to be a part of this until we couldn’t do it no more. Then when you wanna do something else.’ No hard feelings, no ill will, want you to do great no matter what. It’s a brotherhood,” Green continued.
“But … you’re a competitor and the competitor in you is going to want to prove you wrong, want to show you that you made a mistake.”
Curry Details Warriors Road To Becoming Champs Again
The Warriors faced a lot of turmoil en route to their fourth title since 2015. And after losing to a younger, hungrier Grizzlies team in the 2021 play-in tournament, most people agreed that their time was officially over being among the NBA’s top competitors. Warriors star Stephen Curry says that all the narratives that the Warriors were able to dispel on the way to the 2022 NBA title is what makes this championship different than the other three.
“You go to these last two years and conversations, narratives, we’re ‘too old,’ the parallel timelines of developing young guys and keeping our core together, all those tough decisions that we had to make, that weighs on you for as much time as we’re going through it,” Curry said to Vincent Goodwill of “Yahoo Sports”.
“Then you get to the finish line, and that’s why I think this one is definitely different because of the three years of baggage we carried coming out of that Game 6 in 2019.”
After being swept out of this year’s playoffs by the same team that the Warriors just defeated in the NBA Finals, some are questioning Durant’s decision to leave the franchise. But he did what he wanted in free agency, which is the ultimate win for the Nets star.