Draymond Green may win another championship, but it may not be with the Golden State Warriors. After a struggling season when the team lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals last month, Green has declined his player option to become an unrestricted free agent.
But new Warriors General Manager Mike Dunleavy, Jr., who was elevated to the role when his predecessor stepped down, says they want to retain the fiery power forward who has spent his entire 11-year career with the Warriors.
“We really want Draymond back,” Dunleavy told ESPN. “What he means in terms of this organization and this team, winning at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him.”
Though Steph Curry has been the star of the Warriors over his 13 seasons, and rightfully so, along with Klay Thompson, Green has been the team’s beating heart with his aggressive style and will to win.
But this year, Green’s altercation with teammate Jordan Poole who he knocked out with one punch in a training camp incident, cast a pall over the team they never recovered from. But NBA insiders say that Green wants to stay. Opting out of his contract simply means he can negotiate with other teams and determine his market value.
“I think there’s certainly a desire on both sides to stay together,” NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski said on Sportscenter this week. “They want each other. I think, Draymond Green, the idea of continuing with Steph Curry and with Klay Thompson and certainly Steve Kerr, I think it means the world to him.”
Though Green was spotted vacationing in France with LeBron James and his family, it doesn’t appear to be a recruiting trip.
“We will continue to talk to Golden State and explore all options,” Green’s agent, Rich Paul, told ESPN.
Paul is the agent for both NBA stars. Green’s player option was for $27.5 million, which would have kept him with the Warriors. But on an open market, it’s possible a team desperate for a passionate, proven champion and defensive stopper might overpay Green to win immediately.
NBA free agency begins on June 30. See how Twitter’s reacting to Green’s unrestricted free agency below.
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