Lost amidst the fever the Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan aspects of last week’s blockbuster trade between the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs has caused is the other player who’s heading north: Danny Green.
Perhaps because of the sheer wattage of Leonard’s star power and the deafening silence coming from him and his camp since the trade was completed last Wednesday, the relative quiet from Green about his thoughts on becoming a Raptor had been equally as mysterious.
Until Tuesday, that is.
In the debut episode of a new podcast he launched called “Inside the Green Room,” Green opened up about the trade, Leonard and more. Here are some of the highlights from the pod:
Green seems genuinely excited about playing for the Raptors
“It’s a great team. They were No. 1 in the East, and me and Kawhi, we could do something special there. It’s a really nice city. Obviously, it’s a little colder weather and some taxes might be tough, but it’s closer to home and just a really good team in the East. I think me and Kawhi, and the tandem we’ve been and can continue to be – we’re not old yet – we can be a huge plus and, hopefully, bring this team the next level that they’re looking to be.”
“It’s part of the business. I’m not mad at it at all. They could’ve sent me worse places. To go from a good team in the West to another great team in the East, you can’t complain about it.”
“I’m gonna do my job, do my part and work my butt off to be the best that I can be, but also make our team the best it can be. It’s not just about one individual when it comes to this. When the team wins, everybody wins, and I think that’s my biggest part in this play, is to get Kawhi on board, and to get the rest of those young guys on board and let ‘em know how to become a championship team. I’ve been to the Finals a couple times – so has Kawhi – it’s our job to help those guys get to that stage and, hopefully, make something special so regardless if I’m starting or not, I’m trying to be the best pro I can be.”
“I think we have the chance to do something really special. We’ve got a pretty good frontcourt, and our backcourt as well. Defensively, I think we could be monsters, I think, with me, Kawhi, Serge, Valanciunas, OG – he’s a young guy coming up – but I think that’s where it starts. On the defensive end. And, obviously, Kyle, is our all-star point guard, everybody forgets about how good that guy is. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but we’ve been cool over the years. Played against each other growing up. … That guy was a monster, he still is a monster, he can hoop.”
Green doesn’t want Spurs fans to hate Leonard
“Obviously fans aren’t happy, but we haven’t heard from Kawhi. A lot of these things are just media sources and they think he was a distraction this past year, they think he broke the team up, which is not true. Nothing is gonna last forever, regardless if it’s gonna happen now or later. The team was gonna break up eventually. He was gonna go where he wanted to go. I don’t think it would be because of ill relationships or bad terms with people.
“Regardless of the situation, it happened. And they may not be happy with him, that’s their opinion, but there’s a lot of details that fans don’t know about behind the scenes with players. And I don’t even know. I feel like we have to have that sit down. I need to talk to him. I need to know what’s going on since I’m with you now and we’re still continuing I need to know what’s going on, where’s your head at? Because we’re in this together now.
“But the guy brought a championship to the city. He brought some great years, won a lot of games. I don’t know how you can hate him. Obviously you’re disappointed that he wants to be somewhere else, but you’ve gotta still love the guy for what he’s done for that city.”
What really happened during the alleged players-only meeting that soured Leonard?
“It was towards the end of the season with about 10 games left and we just wanted to see where he was at. Where you at health-wise? We’re about to make this push to the playoffs. We think we can make something special happen. How are you feeling? Where’s your percentage at? Do you think you can come back? Do you think you can make it for the playoffs? If not, our mentality is we’ll go and do it without you, but we want to know for sure.”
“If we know that you’re not coming back we can, for sure, move on thinking that we’re going on without you. So he said he was getting better, he didn’t have a for-sure answer but said he was feeling good. There wasn’t no arguing, it was just seeing where he was at. So Tony asked, Manu asked, ‘What’s going on, what happened?’ He didn’t want to discuss what happened but we just wanted to know what’s going on now, when do you see you coming back and how long?
“He didn’t know a timetable. He just said, ‘I’ve had great days and I’ve had bad days. Sometimes I’ll be 100 per cent healthy, but if I workout and play the next day the percentage might go down to 50. It’ll be at 90 and then go down to 50. I need to find out a theory or process to sustain strength for a period of time so I can be at 90 and stay at 90. Once I’m able to do that, I’ll be able to play.’ So that was all the meeting was and we were just trying to find an answer.”
“Now, we don’t know how he took it, he might have taken it differently, but from my standpoint, nobody’s arguing, nobody’s cussing anybody out. It’s just a simple conversation among adults.”