Danny Green and Quinn Cook both signed contracts quite late in free agency. Although this ended up being a win for the Lakers, both players expressed some unease at the fact that they had to wait so long in the process to find housing for the 2019-2020 NBA season .
For Green, although he is a key part of the team that just won an NBA championship, his market was limited by Kawhi Leonard. The Raptors really only wanted Green, if they wanted to, which would force Leonard to stay in Toronto. The other contenders with a cap to sign Green (like the Lakers and Clippers) were waiting for Leonard to decide first.
Green was able to communicate with Leonard during the agency time, but it does not seem like Leonard was so enthusiastic about his process. While OKC and the Clippers were working on Paul George's trade, Green did not know why his former teammate was slow to make a choice.
"It made sense why he was waiting for that to happen," Green said in a teleconference with the media on Thursday. "But nobody knew it. I had no idea. I checked with him all the time, but he did not inform me. I did not know where he was going, that's why I had to wait, and that's probably what made this period take a long time, I would not say frustrating, but probably a little more upset because you do not know what's going on.
As a result, Green was forced to be patient and hope that the NBA's music chairs would give him space to get paid when Leonard's song was over. Although Green ended up winning a major contract from a team he considers a championship contender, watching the rest of the league's money run out of steam was a stressful feeling.
"It was hectic, dude. Fortunately, I was busy doing camps, so that left me a little bit in the spirit, and not as impatient, anxious or too sweaty, "Green said. "But those five days seemed to be like five months … Like, you think that a day is going pretty fast, but the way it was going when I was talking [Kawhi]you might think it was a week.
"But I was distracted by the kids from the camps and I was having fun with that, without trying to get too crazy, or over thinking about it. Fortunately, I was in a very good position. Some teams were also waiting and waiting for me. I had good opportunities, so everything went well for the better. "
Green was able to maintain a semblance of leverage because the Dallas Mavericks were interested in him regardless of what had happened with Leonard. Nevertheless, for a player who has always been in the championship race (he started his career in Cleveland alongside LeBron James before going to San Antonio and then to Toronto), this probably seemed like a last resort.
For Quinn Cook, another major player on the NBA Finals team, his freedom to play was complicated because he was a limited free agent. That meant that Golden State had the right to match any contract signed by the Warriors since the Warriors had submitted a qualifying offer, but it also meant that Cook was a passer-by in the wildest last season of all time. .
The Warriors lost two of their major contributors in Kevin Durant and Andre Iguodala while running a markup operation for D'Angelo Russell, who occupies the same position as Cook. As a stranger, it was hard to say what direction they were taking, and Cook was of the same opinion.
"Obviously, being a limited free agent is different, so I really did not know what to expect. I felt that Golden State would like me to come back, just for what I have done in recent years. And when they made me my qualification offer, I felt really good knowing that I would have a job next year, "Cook said. "Some teams interested me … but not enough to offer me anything, and I was ready to sign my qualification offer with Golden State, and they pulled it out. . "
Once Cook became unlimited, the Lakers rushed and the team ended up training tirelessly for the fourth year guard.
"I had no restrictions and teams got on the job, then the Lakers case came in and it was just perfect," Cook said. "Our discussions were excellent and everything went as planned. We succeeded.
As the NBA presents more and more player moves, it is statistically likely that two players who fought in the final will become teammates – for a totally different team – a few weeks later, but that does not make it any less strange . Constant change in the league is just another stress factor in the free placement phase.
The current Lakers have tried to make the transition as easy as possible for their new teammates. Green said James and Kyle Kuzma had reached out and put together a group text for all new players. He also stated that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had contacted him on social media and sent him his number. Unlike the time it took him to sign with the Lakers, Green noted that the home of his new teammates was exceptionally fast.
"I have not done this a lot of times, but normally I have not received that welcome," said Green. "They are doing a great job. All the guys who are on the list at that time have reached out and made me feel that I was welcomed into the family. "
The Lakers have an interesting group of players in that only Kuzma has been on the team for more than one season. As a result, they are probably pretty good at building new relationships and trying to create team chemistry from scratch. All members of this list, with the exception of James, know what it's like to be in the limbo of basketball, whether they're about to bargain or just in search of their next NBA contract.
Green and Cook have both had to go through the G League to get into stable situations in the NBA. After this fight, they were still in a precarious situation of free will, uncertain of what the market would leave them after the stars had made their decisions. Fortunately, they found a place in a team that has similar expectations to those that they just left. Once they can overcome the madness of the off season and get back to playing basketball, they should both feel at home.