Dray can no longer stay
Hey Warriors fans, I am sure you are already aware, but you are down 2-0 to the Sacramento Kings in the first-round of the NBA playoffs. Yes, the Kings franchise that is making their first playoff-appearance since the 2005-2006 season. That is a reality not many people would not have predicted coming into the season. Unfortunately, what is not surprising is that the Warriors go into a defacto must-win game Thursday without Draymond Green due to disciplinary reasons.
The NBA announced Tuesday night that Green will be suspended for game three of the Warriors-Kings first-round series. This comes off the back of him getting assessed a Flagrant two foul and ejected in game two Monday, for stomping on the ribs of Domantas Sabonis.
Green is unapologetically himself. Which has been both a good and bad thing for the Warriors throughout their dominant run for nearly a decade. His fiery nature has made him from just a second-round pick, to a two-time defensive player of the year and future hall of famer. He also tends to live on the edge when he is on the court. When you live on the edge like he does, there is the risk of teetering over to the side of getting into trouble which Green often does.
Green’s contract situation has been the elephant in the room throughout the team’s season. When the offseason arrives, he has the power to opt in to a $27.6 million contract for next year, or become an unrestricted free-agent.
While Green’s future with the Warriors is up in the air, here are three reasons why I believe this will be his swansong with the team.
Throughout his career, Green has been ejected twice in the playoffs and been suspended once in the playoffs prior to Tuesday. That suspension was extremely costly for the Warriors as it came in the midst of the Warriors blowing a 3-1 lead to the Cavs in the 2016 NBA Finals. This is just where it came back to haunt the team in the playoffs. He has hurt his own pockets by paying nearly $1.3 million in fines, according to Spotrac, for the six flagrant fouls and 27 technical fouls he has accumulated in the playoffs over his career. Other problems that Green has been at the heart of includes, nearly getting into a fight with head coach Steve Kerr in 2016, getting into a screaming match with Kevin Durant in 2018 and punching Jordan Poole before the start of this season on the practice court. As great a player that Green is, it makes you wonder if they want to deal with his antics anymore.
Another major thing for the Warriors to consider whether they are going to offer Green a lucrative long-term deal is his age. The 33-year-old veteran is in his 11th season in the league. Green has had some injuries and while his defense is still exceptional, he is virtually non-existent as a scoring threat. If the Warriors give him an extension, he would join Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as older stars getting big money as they head into their late 30s.
A ridiculously high payroll
Along with the max contracts that Curry and Thompson are on that ties them down until the 2025-2026 and 2023-2024 seasons respectively, the Warriors gave out two massive deals before the start of the season. Andrew Wiggins signed a 4-year, $109 million deal, while Jordan Poole signed a 4-year, $140 million contract. The Warriors payroll and tax penalty in the 2023-2024 season would likely exceed $500 million if Green picks up his player option. While they have shown the willingness to pay whatever it takes to maximize the opportunity for this group to win over the past several years, they may just decide paying that much may not be worth it anymore if they feel like they aren’t genuine title contenders.
Write to Mohamed Warsame at Mohamed.Warsame@mnsu.edu
Header Photo: Golden State Warriors’ Draymond Green listens to the crowd after Green stomped on Sacramento Kings’ Domantas Sabonis (Scott Strazzante/The Associated Press)