The Golden State Warriors are facing a handful of hard choices this offseason, though one free agency move is next to a no-brainer.
Draymond Green can opt out of the final year of his contract this summer and hit a free agency market where he would command value as one of the league’s savviest and most successful defensive players. Green has indicated both a desire for a new contract and for said contract to allow him to remain in Golden State. That means the Warriors will have to pony up at a time when an increasingly prohibitive luxury tax suggests the franchise should cut salary from its balance sheet rather than add more to it.
Despite the salary cap implications, Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report contended on Thursday, May 25, that Green should be the top priority on the Dubs’ free agent to-do list in 2023.
Green’s value runs the gamut from emotional leadership, dynamic defense and offensive quarterbacking. It’s imperative to keep that value in mind when weighing the merits of giving a 33-year-old a lanky and pricey pact if (when?) he declines his $27.6 million player option for next season. Maybe the contract wouldn’t age the greatest on the back end, but if he exited, the impact of his loss would be immediate and profound.
The Dubs desperately need Green, and you could argue the feeling is mutual. Stay together, and they can at least hold out hope of contending next season. Split up, and there’s no telling what the future holds for both.
Warriors Voice Support for Bringing Back Draymond Green
A long-term deal for an offensive liability and volatile personality like Green, who will turn 34 years old next season, doesn’t come without risk. But, as the saying goes, neither does reward.
Green has helped the Dubs win four NBA titles in a decade, earning four All-Star appearances, a Defensive Player of the Year Award and spots on an All-NBA Defensive Team seven different times (four first-team honors and three second-team selections). He is part of one of the most effective two-man games in the league with teammate Steph Curry, and Warriors brass has been up front about how they value Green’s contributions to the franchise’s culture and the winning it has produced.
“If Draymond’s not back, we’re not a championship contender. We know that,” head coach Steve Kerr said during a press conference on May 16. “He’s that important to winning and to who we are. So I absolutely want him back.”
“I think we all want him back, and hopefully that’s exactly what happens and we get ready to make another run next year,” Kerr continued.
Draymond Green Can Help Recruit LeBron James to Golden State
Another element to Green’s value is who he could potentially entice to help keep the Warriors’ Big 3 relevant and championship-ready for multiple years to come.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer on Tuesday discussed what he expects will be Green’s role in the team’s courtship of four-time MVP LeBron James this offseason.
“How soon until Draymond Green begins recruiting LeBron to the Warriors?” O’Connor asked. “No one needs a source to tell you those conversations will happen, if they haven’t already, given Draymond’s love for LeBron, the Klutch connection and his history of recruiting.”
In summary, Golden State needs Green, and Green wants to return to Golden State. He makes the Warriors’ unique recipe of talent work and often functions as the team’s emotional engine, even if that sometimes results in collateral damage to areas of Jordan Poole’s face and the like.
With both sides in on a deal, the only thing left to discuss is a number.