Kiwi Steven Adams may have inadvertently played a part in Kevin Durant's controversial exit from the Oklahoma City Thunder to join conference rivals the Golden State Warriors.
Durant announced on July 4 he was signing with the Warriors after nine years with the Thunder. It led to anger from some Thunder fans who posted videos on social media burning the MVP's singlet.
According to American basketball reporter Adrian Wojnarowski, Durant's teammates weren't impressed with his relationship with Draymond Green - the player who kicked the New Zealander between the legs during game three of the Western Conference Finals.
In a podcast on the The Vertical website, Wojnarowski reported that fellow Thunder star Russell Westbrook didn't like the fact Durant and Green had been in contact all season.
This didn't help things when Green lashed out at Adams twice in the series which the Warriors won in seven games before losing to Cleveland in the NBA finals.
"I know Russell was bothered by-and some other teammates were too-of, like, there was some knowledge there that Draymond was in contact with Kevin all season long, and they're in a playoff series and I know there was some conversation around the Thunder team of, 'Hey man, this guy kicked Steven Adams in the nuts twice in this series. And what are you doing hanging out with this guy? What's the relationship? We're trying to beat these guys'," Wojnarowski, a highly respected NBA reporter, said on his podcast.
Green was fined $25,000 for his stray leg kick to Adams but wasn't suspended.
"It happened before, mate," Adams told reporters afterwards. "He is pretty accurate, that guy."
Green said doing something like that intentionally is not his style.
"I followed through on a shot," he said. "I'm not trying to kick somebody in the midsection. Somebody wants to have kids someday. I'm not trying to end that on the basketball court."