When training camp started last October, David Lee entered as the Golden State Warriors’ highest paid player and presumed starting power forward. But thanks to an untimely hamstring injury for Lee, new head coach Steve Kerr got a chance to see something in Draymond Green and ultimately took a chance on the third-year defensive stalwart by thrusting him into the starting lineup at the beginning of the season.
It’s a move that’s paid tremendous dividends as the Warriors went onto a historic 67-win season and now find themselves one win away from the franchise’s first NBA title in 40 years. Along the way, Green transformed into a Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and more important, he’s been the souped-up engine that pumps high-octane fuel into the Warriors’ multifaceted attack.
What’s more, he’s the materialization of the type of position-less, small-ball attack that has become a leitmotif during these Finals and that is destined to be a growing trend around the NBA. In short, he’s earned a significant pay raise as he enters restricted free agency this July, and he’s bound to see some very attractive offers.
“Tell the Warrior fans they shouldn’t worry,” Myers said Tuesday as the team held its shootaround session in preparation for Game 6 at the Quicken Loans Arena.
The Warriors can match the offer of any other team to keep the third-year forward, who earned NBA All-Defensive first-team honors and has become the team’s emotional leader.
Asked if he could comment on whether the franchise is prepared to go to any lengths to keep Green, Myers said, “I can’t comment, per league rules, on that specific question. The only thing I can say is we really like our core. Obviously, they’ve achieved a great amount of success so far this season. Our hope is to keep them together.”
That still begs the question as to what the Warriors plan to do with Lee, who has suddenly seen an increase in playing time thanks to the aforementioned small-ball philosophy that has overtaken these Finals the past two games. This could be good for Lee regardless, since he’s been given a golden opportunity to remind the world that he still has significant value in the right situation.
But as Myers said, all of that will play itself out this summer. For now, the Warriors are focused on Game 6, which tips off from Quicken Loans Arena at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.