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OAKLAND - While a parade of players took turns sitting at a rostrum and answering questions from reporters at Warriors Media Day last Friday, a carnival was raging behind them.

You could hear a nonstop banging and clanging and rumbling from offstage. And if you ventured back there, it was nothing like the staid ordeal of conversation in front of the curtain. There was both motion and commotion on the Warriors’ practice courts. Players dribbled and palmed basketballs for photo shoots, cameras flashed and people scurried in every direction.

The money shot came when Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson — the Big Four that carried the Warriors to the championship three months ago — posed together. Bring it in a little tighter, the cameraman suggested.

“Act like we like each other?” Green replied with a mischievous smile.

And after the group splintered and the camera dude asked Durant and Curry to stick around for a couples pic, Draymond took mock offense. “Why can’t me and Klay get a picture together? We’re jealous,” he said. He found it so funny that he repeated the complaint to Durant.

“Uh-oh,” Durant said. “Trouble in paradise.”

They have us figured out. And when I say “us,” I’m not referring only to the media. I mean the capital “Us,” as in all of us. With a few stubborn exceptions — what’s up, Charles Barkley? — we all admire the Warriors. We all believe they had those two championships coming. But we’d really love to see a little trouble in paradise.

Face it, the upcoming NBA season, which begins for these guys on Oct. 17 after a couple weeks of sporadic preseason games, will be much more interesting if the Warriors encounter some obstacles. They won 16 of 17 postseason games en route to the title last season, and seem only to have gotten better since the end of June.

So we look for turmoil. And in the echo chamber of the NBA offseason, we found fragments of it.

Durant is the most obvious example. This guy always seems just a little bit cooler, a little more poised, than the rest of humanity. But this summer he deposited his size-18 sneaker directly into a pile of nonsense.

First, in late August, he taped a podcast with The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and, when the conversation turned to shoes, said this: “Nobody wants to play in Under Armours, I’m sorry. Like, the top kids, because they all play Nike.”

Whatever, except that (a) Durant represents Nike and (b) Curry, his most important and beloved teammate, represents Under Armour.

Durant wasn’t done. Just last week, he tweeted mean things about his former team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, and former coach, Billy Donovan, apparently thinking he was using a fake “burner account” when he was actually on his verified Twitter account. Oops.

The two incidents painted an unsympathetic portrait of Durant. He’s disloyal to his former team, the one that helped make him a star. And he’s disloyal to his current team, the one that made him a champion.

But Curry and Durant understand something that so many other public figures don’t: When you do something stupid or humiliating, get in front of it immediately and it will likely blow over as quickly as it flared.

When the sneaker battle erupted, the Charlotte Observer (his hometown paper) got ahold of Curry at the 49ers-Panthers game at Levi’s Stadium, and he de-escalated the situation, explaining that the two-time MVP and the one-time MVP had hashed it all out.

It came up again on Friday.

“(Durant) said what he said, and he has viewpoints on the grassroots industry and brand loyalty and all that kind of stuff,” Curry observed. “And obviously I know what we’ve been able to accomplish (at Under Armour) from a basketball standpoint and a Curry products standpoint in the last, really, 3½ years, building that business into something that means something in the shoe game. So I guess in practice we should just play in our socks and call it a day. That’d probably be the best way to make sure there’s no drama.”

Amazingly, Durant’s Twitter fiasco might blow over peacefully, too. If it does, it’s because the lanky scorer made no attempt to prolong his deception once he had been unmasked. He apologized and owned his mistake, calling it “childish” and “idiotic.”

Durant displayed no interest revisiting the episode at Media Day. What he really needed was a teammate to inject a little levity into the subject, to make it feel less serious. As usual, it was Green who obliged.

He had experienced his own moment of social-media mortification in the summer of 2016 when he (let’s assume it was inadvertent) posted a picture of his own, um, Little Draymond on Instagram. Someone asked Green if he had reached out to Durant to discuss the experience. He said he had texted Durant the day it happened. The next day they met in person, and Green had a nice, long laugh.

“I reminded him of my mishap, that we were at USA Basketball the day my mishap happened,” Green said. “I was stretched out and all of them were laughing in my face — him, too. DeMarcus (Cousins) was probably the worst. And the beat goes on. They all laughed in my face, so it was a little payback. I stood right over there and laughed in his face. And it felt pretty damn good.”

All of this was small-scale melodrama, though. There were larger, more meaningful issues that could easily divide the Golden State locker room.

One was a potential White House visit. The Trump administration had reached out to the Warriors before Media Day, offering a tentative invitation. The team planned to meet as a group sometime afterward to discuss the event.

Considering that Curry and Durant, the Warriors’ two most prominent stars, have been highly critical of the president, it’s unlikely the team would have chosen to attend a ceremony at the White House. Curry suggested as much Friday.

But Trump removed any apprehension when he got wind of Curry’s reservations and petulantly revoked the invitation.

That gave the Warriors a chance to talk about the president and the current state of divisiveness in America, and they seized the opportunity. From Steve Kerr to David West and Andre Iguodala and beyond, the Warriors never appeared more united.

So scratch that potential “distraction” off the list.

But there is another issue with the potential to darken the skies of paradise. It’s the overabundance of talent on this roster.

As Kerr reminded Friday, he has six bench players who have started for other NBA teams: Iguodala, West, Shaun Livingston and JaVale McGee, plus newcomers Nick Young and Omri Casspi (sort of; he’s been a part-time starter). And that doesn’t count second-year guard Patrick McCaw, who looked utterly comfortable during expanded minutes in the playoffs last year.

Shouldn’t the Warriors be worried?

“No. Because the way we play, everybody touches the ball,” Curry said. “Everybody’s involved. Everybody should be a threat when they’re on the floor. With the high-IQ guys we have on this team, we kind of find a way for it all to blend and work.”

Curry said Kerr does a great job of preaching the message that, yes, the Warriors do have their core playmakers who will get the ball in crunch time. But throughout the course of a typical game, the team will need more than that.

“And we don’t have guys that are selfish at all, that are jealous of anybody else’s success,” Curry added.

His words would ring hollow, except the Warriors have already been down this road. When they signed Durant a year ago, the big question was whether he could coexist with Curry, and to a lesser extent Klay Thompson. Great players. Committed players. But there just wouldn’t be enough shots to go around.

It wasn’t a perfectly smooth transition, either. It took the Warriors most of the season to find their comfort level. But they found it, and the results were spectacular. If Kerr and his staff can get Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry to share top billing, why would it be any harder to incorporate the likes of Omri Casspi and Swaggy P?

Kerr said one of the hallmarks of the Warriors’ recent glory days is players sacrificing minutes in the pursuit of winning a championship.

“Our players understand that,” he said. “It’s part of the deal when they come here, and the payoff is tremendous. But the only way it works is if people — not necessarily embrace it, because like I said, everybody wants to play, but — accept it, and accept the challenge of, all right, it may not be the easiest thing, but it’s definitely the most rewarding.”

If Kerr can get the 2017-18 team to buy in again, there probably won’t be any trouble in paradise. Just a lot of wins, followed by champagne.

You can reach columnist Phil Barber at 707-521-5263 or phil.barber@pressdemocrat.com. Follow him on Twitter: @Skinny_Post.

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