It sounds like Kevin Durant could have saved the NBA world a whole lot of speculation last summer.
Durant (in)famously signed with the Golden State Warriors in free agency, a move that paid off Monday night when he helped the Dubs win their second NBA championship in three years over the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The Warriors’ one loss in that span, of course, was their blown 3-1 series lead in the 2016 NBA Finals. But it turns out there was a silver lining in that crushing defeat: It directly helped the team sign Durant, per a report from Sports Illustrated’s Lee Jenkins.
In a detailed column Monday night, Jenkins revealed that just 30 minutes after Golden State’s Game 7 loss, forward Draymond Green sent Durant a text while still sitting at his locker with his jersey on.
“See what we’re missing,” Green texted Durant, as relayed to Jenkins. “We need you. Make it happen.”
Green reportedly had been in Durant’s ear for months but wanted to show he was serious by texting him right after an excruciating Game 7 loss. The ploy apparently worked: An Oklahoma City Thunder official told Jenkins that conversations with Durant about him staying in OKC were positive — until that Warriors defeat.
“The day Golden State lost, everything changed,” the official told Jenkins. “The phone calls, the text messages, they were more distant.”
It would be two more weeks before Durant officially became a free agent and signed with Golden State, but his mind already was made up, per Jenkins. The eventual 2017 NBA Finals MVP responded to Green’s text with the words, “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”
Durant himself recently denied a report that Green called him to make a recruiting pitch after Game 7. But it appears the outspoken Warriors forward clearly played a role in one of the most talked-about free agent signings of all time.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images