How Steph, Draymond were key to Warriors signing DiVincenzo


LAS VEGAS -- Donte DiVincenzo, the newest Warrior, recounted his free agency as "interesting" and "stressful" Saturday when meeting with reporters for the first time. The 25-year-old was calling his agent trying to figure out what was going on, what his market looked like and where he might end up. Kevin Durant requesting a trade from the Brooklyn Nets only complicated things for DiVincenzo and other free agents. 

Calls from Steph Curry and Draymond Green calmed everything down and made it clear where the guard belongs. He didn't need to hear about play style or gunning for another championship. He has seen the writing on the wall there from afar, and like so many others in the past, wants to help bring another NBA championship to the Bay Area after the Warriors just won their fourth title in the past eight seasons. 

"Once I had the conversation with Steph and Draymond, everything kind of slowed down for me a little bit because I got away from the numbers, the dollar signs and everything," DiVincenzo said. "I was more so focused on what is best for Donte and what is best for me going forward. With that culture and environment, it's something that I want to be a part of and it's something of who I am.

"I don't have to change who I am. I can just totally fit in and become a Warrior." 

Every kind of personality and play style has come through the Warriors' doors in the past decade since Curry and Green became teammates. Those two have completely different skill sets and personalities, though they're connected by the same competitive fire and the same common goal: Winning more rings. 

DiVincenzo won two titles in college at Villanova, was named the Final Four Most Outstanding Player in 2018 when he came off the bench and scored 31 points against Michigan in the championship game and became an NBA champion with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021. Those talks with Curry and Green surely were centered around adding more hardware to his trophy case.

They were just much different discussions when it comes to the approach from his new teammates.

"I've known Draymond a little bit over the last four years since I got to the NBA. He just shot it straight to me," DiVincenzo said. "And then Steph's like the nicest person in the world. We talked about the culture and the environment and what's best for Donte. In a selfish way, that's what I was thinking about.

"Each place that I was in that was a winning environment and winning culture, it wasn't a me team or a me thing and that's what they emphasized and that's what I'm going to bring to them."

With the departure of Gary Payton II, the Warriors badly needed a defensive-minded guard who can bring versatility to Golden State. That's where DiVincenzo comes in. 

Standing 6-foot-4, he's slightly taller than Payton and like GP2, DiVincenzo can jump out of the gym. He isn't seen as being on the exact same level defensively as Payton but can provide some more offense. In his 25 games with the Sacramento Kings last season, DiVincenzo averaged 10.3 points per game and shot 36.8 percent from 3-point range. 

His breakout campaign came in his third pro season when he became a full-time starter for the Bucks in 2020-21 and averaged 10.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and made 37.9 percent of his attempts from long distance. Now that he's fully recovered from surgery to his left ankle that caused him to start last season extremely slow and play only 42 games after appearing in 66 both of the previous two seasons, there's no reason why he can't fit in seamlessly on both sides of the ball for the champs. 

The mere thought brings a smile to the eager veteran. 

"I just love how much the ball moves, honestly," he said. "You have three future Hall of Famers on the court. They're not trying to seek their own points, their own shots. Everybody's getting touches, everybody's getting looks and I think the greatest thing when you watch them is that they want everybody to succeed as well.

"That's contagious and you want to be a part of that." 

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Players and people within the Warriors' building certainly wanted Payton to remain in blue and gold instead of the red and black of the Portland Trail Blazers. Calls from Curry and Green were one reason -- a big one -- why with Payton gone, the Warriors were able to add a talent like DiVincenzo late in free agency. He couldn't be happier to call himself a Warrior and believes the best is yet to come. 

We've seen how this story plays out in the past, and it usually is a win-win for both the player and the Warriors. DiVincenzo hopes to be next in a long line of success stories. 

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