After the Golden State Warriors lost to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals, Draymond Green called two people from the parking lot as soon as he left Oracle Arena. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, Green’s first call was to Warriors general manager Bob Myers to tell him it was on him to sign soon-to-be free agent Kevin Durant. Green then placed a call to Durant himself in an effort to convince him to sign with the Warriors.
“If we win the championship, I’m like 99 percent sure we don’t get him,” Green told ESPN. “There are silver linings to everything.”
There certainly are silver linings to everything. Green wasn’t the reason the Warriors lost in the 2016 NBA Finals, but his Game 5 suspension certainly paved the way for the Cavaliers to mount an unprecedented comeback. Without Green in the lineup, the Cavs took Game 5 on the road behind 82 combined points from LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The Cavaliers went on to win Game 6 comfortably at home and edged the Warriors out in Game 7 at Oracle Arena.
The good news for Green is it looks like the Warriors will continue to reap the rewards of his recruiting work as well. It would take an even more unlikely comeback for the Cavaliers to prevent the Warriors from winning the 2017 NBA Finals and Durant might take less than the max in the offseason to keep the core together. Andre Iguodala also recently hinted that he, Stephen Curry and Durant will all be back on the team next season even though they each have the option to become free agents and sign lucrative deals elsewhere.
That means the team that won 67 games in the regular season and is one victory away from reaching perfection in the playoffs will run it back again. Green isn’t the reason they’re in this position, but he certainly paved the way for it to happen.