Kevin Durant meant ‘no ill will’ by comments about Draymond Green’s suspension: ‘I’m glad he’s back’

Draymond Green was reinstated on Saturday after his indefinite suspension for striking Jusuf Nurkić in the face

Kevin Durant cleared up his comments about Draymond Green’s latest suspension on Monday night.

Durant, speaking after he and the Phoenix Suns fell to the Los Angeles Clippers 138-111 at Arena on Monday, insisted he meant “no ill will” toward Green in the wake of his indefinite suspension. Durant initially said that he hoped Green “gets the help that he needs.”

That comment, Green said, initially left him “really pissed.”

"You got to look at it from my perspective, like before I had made those comments, [people were] saying Draymond's going to therapy and s***," Durant said on Monday, via ESPN. "Like what am I supposed to think? They say somebody going to therapy, I'm hoping he gets better from that, and hope he learned from whatever he feels like he needs to learn from going to therapy.

"I'm glad he's back. I'm glad he can move past that. Draymond is an incredible teammate. He got his times where he loses temper, but everybody has those times and I'm sure they all [are] happy to have him back. But I didn't mean no ill will by what I said. I know some people look at me as this malicious snake, passive aggressive. I know how people feel about me sometimes, so when I say s***, I don't mean no harm by nobody. I don't mean to disrespect him or his family if he felt that way. I'm just glad he's back on the court."

Kevin Durant cleared up his comments about Draymond Green's latest suspension on Monday night after their loss to the Clippers.
Kevin Durant cleared up his comments about Draymond Green's latest suspension on Monday night after their loss to the Clippers. (Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Kevin Durant: 'I'm just glad he's back'

Green, who played with Durant on the Warriors briefly, was suspended indefinitely after he struck Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in a game last month. The league reinstated Green officially on Saturday after 12 games, and he’s currently ramping back up to make his official return.

During that suspension, the league said that Green “completed steps that demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players" and that he “engaged in meetings with a counselor,” the league, the Warriors and the National Basketball Players Association. Those meetings will reportedly continue through the rest of the season.

This latest suspension was Green’s second of the year, following a five-game suspension when he put Rudy Gobert in a chokehold during a brawl in the opening seconds of their game against the Timberwolves earlier this season. Green said on his podcast this week that he was ready to retire from the sport altogether during his suspension, but that commissioner Adam Silver talked him out of it.

On his podcast, Green admitted that Durant’s comments about him getting help had rubbed him the wrong way.

“I'll tell you it really pissed me off when Kevin Durant said, '[Green] wasn't like that when I was around [him and] I hope he gets the help he needs,'" Green said on his podcast, via ESPN. "And then I start going into this deep dive ... I went back to Kevin Durant's statement ... as I sat with myself, I said, 'I think it is time that the world gets to know me, who I am. And if I can look at Kevin's statement the right way, through the right mindset, through the right lens, he is acknowledging essentially what I want the world to know about me.'

"And then he spoke about help," Green continued. "And I'm like, how [is] he going to say I need help? And when I went back through it with another lens I was like, maybe you shouldn't hear 'help' so negatively. Like maybe you are listening to the word help with the same mindset that the word help meant when you were 15 years old. Maybe he is not saying that as negatively as you're taking it. And even if he was, I made a decision in that moment that I wasn't going to take it that way. It was a very proud moment for me because I said, 'You're ready for growth.' That is a step in the right direction."

Green has averaged 9.7 points, 5.8 assists and 5.5 rebounds in 15 games this season, his 12th in the league. He will miss the Warriors’ game against the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night, but could be back on the court as soon as this weekend.

Draymond Green headshot
Draymond Green
PF - GS - #23
2023 - 2024 season

Durant, on the other hand, is averaging just shy of 30 points per game with the Suns this season. He put up 30 points and had seven rebounds in Monday night’s loss in Los Angeles, which dropped Phoenix to 19-18 on the season.

“I’m just glad he’s back,” Durant said. “I’m glad he’s able to talk about his situation, move forward from it and get back to playing and finishing out his Hall of Fame career.”