Less than a week ago, the Golden State Warriors were 10-1, Stephen Carey seemed to have returned his mantle as the league's most expensive game, and fourth in N.B.A. A championship in five years seemed like a formality.
These feelings suddenly felt like ancient history on Tuesday. The Warriors lost two of three games, Carrie was pushed indefinitely with groin injury, an argument between Kevin Durant and Raymond Green during a loss of 121-116 overtime to Los Angeles Clippers led to the suspension of one game for Green, three times All-Star And the 2017 defense player of the year.
The suspension, which the team said was for "harmful behavior to the team," would cost Green an estimated $ 120,480, but the consequences could be much deeper. On the face of it, the suspension seems to indicate that Durant's approval, which is highly expected to cancel the contract and be a free agent outside this season, is the group's top priority.
At a press conference before Tuesday's game against Atlanta Hawks, CEO Bob Myers refused to share details of the team's decision to suspend Green, but denied that it had anything to do with Durant's contract status. Team within a dynasty.
"People think we're a perfect place – no," he said.
The last argument between Green and Durant seemed relatively fake, as it turned out.
In the closing seconds of Monday night, Green grabbed a defensive rebound and dribbled the ball up to the court with a tied score. Durant, winner of the final two final from V.P. Awards, applauded at Green, hoping for a move and an opportunity to set up a winning game. But Green clung to it and stumbled to the floor when the time was over, and sent the game overtime.
In the huddle, it seems that Durant confronted Green for the decision, and the two argued. Fighters were outscored by 15-10 more hours and fell to 11-3.
Sean Livingstone, a veteran Golden State guard, looks like he is putting Green's treatment on the line, arguing that the arguments are simply "team spirit" and dismissing the idea that Green has a duty to move to the Durant.
"It's clear that Ledrey had a class, guys might think they were open or want the basketball, they do not get it," Livingston said. "Things like that happen in sports, but it was good to see some fire, some emotion."
The emotional flare-ups between Durant and Green are nothing new. Green recruited Durant to come to Golden State after the warriors lost game 7 of N.B.A. The final for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but Greene occasionally rejected Durant's attempts to return to his style of play – more chutzpah and reduced ball movement – than the fighters.
The tension between the two stars was long considered to be what made David West's remarks about drama in the dressing room after last year's final, in which he told ESPN: "You had no idea, no idea, that tells you about this team that nothing went out ".
Livingstone was asked about West's comments at the time, and he did not deny that there were issues. "Shoutout to Steve Cold dealing with all of our B.S. this year," said the coach of the fighters.
For his part, cold also chose not to enter into the details of the suspension when talking with reporters on Tuesday. When asked to compare the episode on a rumor to a fight between him and Michael Jordan, when both were players for the Chicago Bulls, he brushed both of them as typical performances for good teams.
"When you play at a very high level and you're competitive, things happen," he says. "My whole team, things that happened."
Then he offered a moment of ease, showing a hint that he had won a battle with Jordan.
While Myers and Carr insisted that no amount of drama, and not every free agency pending, could affect the attitude of their team, the negative atmosphere perceived around the fighters could quickly blow over once Carrie returns, as soon as Thursday. The star-keeper looks as though he is a steady force on the field, where his 3 lethal pointers space out of the floor, that, where he deals well with Green and Durant and avoids being involved in their spats.
Cold said after Monday's loss that getting back to Carrie is all the team needs to put her offense back in order.
"Everything changes without Stef," Kerr said. "He's one of the best offensive players in the history of the game, so you take him out and they do not have to worry about so much."
To repeat normal things about the court seems inevitable. But with a player like Green, who is known as a lot for his long memory as he is defending for his language, the team's decision to punish him can go up as the negotiations start keeping the two-way Golden State star beyond the next season. There is a chance that it will help them keep the Durant in July, but it could be a factor in their talks with Green 12 months later.
Myers said Green and Durant had not yet talked about the suspension, but he said he felt their shared love for the game could bring them beyond that, at least in the short term.
"It's really about winning," he said. "They both love to win and they both like to play basketball, which are strong things they have in common."