Draymond Green is currently taking time away from the Warriors after video of him rocking Jordan Poole with a punch at practice went viral.
The reported reason for the altercation was Green feeling that Poole was rubbing his impending extension in Green’s face, as the veteran is not expected to land a new contract from the Warriors before he hits free agency this summer (unless he chooses to pick up his player option for 2023-24). The irony in that is the punch makes it even more difficult for the Warriors to commit to Green on another long-term contract, considering he punched a guy they’re about to make part of their core.
Green has stated that he wants to be with the Warriors for life, but also understands how rare that is. The Warriors, meanwhile, have youngsters behind Green they just drafted that they might feel can slide into his (very large) shoes on the defensive end and at least somewhat replace him and keep them at a contender level in the future. Whether that’s true remains to be seen, but despite another championship banner going up next Tuesday in the Chase Center, the feeling seems to be trending towards Green and the Warriors parting ways sooner than later.
On Monday, Stephen A. Smith asserted just that in no uncertain terms, noting that his understanding is that Poole and Andrew Wiggins are the “priorities” for the Warriors, while Green is “expecting” this to be his final season in the Bay.
"Draymond Green is expecting this to be his last year in Golden State. Now, he wanna be a Laker. He ain't gonna tell anybody that, but don't think I don't know. He'd prefer to be a Laker if he gotta leave Golden State."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 10, 2022
Smith notes that Green’s preference would be to join the Lakers, but financially that is a very difficult thing to have happen unless he’s willing to forego a big contract on his next deal to join his friend LeBron James. However, Smith also points out that all of this can still work to the Warriors benefit this season, because Green now has to show that he’s worth a longterm lucrative deal from someone next offseason. That means being a DPOY candidate (again) while also avoiding some of the Draymond being Draymond moments, as he’s exhausted about all of his goodwill in that regard with his practice punch of Poole.
Green’s free agency market is truly fascinating to think about, as there’s no doubt of his ability and impact on winning, but he’s also done so in a situation that’s been built around him defensively — and with an offensive star that can mask his deficiencies on that end with their two-man game taking advantage of opponents sagging off of him. It’s hard to imagine Green anywhere other than the Warriors, because he’s such a unique player who doesn’t fit into the traditional mold of a big that you see on most any other team. As such, it’s hard to know how other teams will value him on the market and how much they’ll want to pay him at 33 years old next summer.