HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto and The Athletic’s Anthony Slater discuss the futures of Draymond Green, Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Klay Thompson. The duo reports on Green’s value, where extension talks stand with Poole, Wiggins, and Thompson on the latest HoopsHype podcast episode.
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1:36 How is the situation between Draymond Green and Jordan Poole viewed differently within the organization than the Kevin Durant and Draymond situation since now Green wasn’t suspended?
Slater: It might surprise you to hear this, but they actually viewed this one worse than the Durant situation because of the physical nature of it. The timing of it made it feel like it’s a lesser punishment because they were playing back-to-back when the Durant situation happened. The next night they suspended Draymond for a game partly because it was literally the next day, and they were still trying to sort through the aftermath.
The timing of this in the preseason allowed them to basically tell Draymond to stay away from the team for a week. He technically missed two games and allowed them to sort through it with much more time and space. He’s getting re-integrated into practice today (Thursday, Oct. 13). Even if it hasn’t officially been called a suspension, he kind of was suspended for a week and missed two preseason games.
If you really want to compare and contrast the situations, it’s at a different arc of their franchise. I think Draymond Green’s future more than anything else with the organization, has been thrown into much deeper question with obviously his contract situation coming up. I think even though he may not have lost a game check or lost a regular season game I think he’s put his future with the Warriors much more in peril than he ever did with the Durant situation.
3:45 Draymond Green Lakers rumors
Scotto: There have been rumors out there circulating about Draymond Green and the Los Angeles Lakers. Obviously, he has a relationship with LeBron James. Some in the Warriors’ organization I’ve spoken to aren’t concerned about it. There’s a belief from some around the league it could be a negotiating tactic to get more money in extension talks with the Warriors, and maybe LeBron is trying to weaken the competition in the West. The Lakers have always been connected to star players like Draymond and Kyrie Irving, looking ahead to next summer’s offseason.
Slater: He has a player option for the following year after this, around $27 million. What is Green’s market going to be? That’s the big question. He’s going to be 33 entering free agency. Last year, he had a pretty scary injury with basically a nerve from his spine that was creating issues in his calf, and he missed half the season. The Warriors, I think, are in a wait-and-see mode. If he tests the market, what kind of deal would he get? Would it be better than anything the Warriors can offer, or that player option, that’s available to him to come back?
Also, the Warriors have these massive tax bill issues coming up where the amount of tax money if they paid everyone. I’m including an Andrew Wiggins extension and a Jordan Poole extension, which I do expect at some point soon (referring to Poole), and if Draymond stayed on his hefty salary. We’re talking about a tax bill that goes past $500 million for an organization that has pretty outwardly said they don’t want to go above $400 million. They’ve already set NBA records in the $370-80 million range.
One of these contracts, you’d think, has to get off the books. I think maybe if you took me back a year ago, I think it might be Wiggins, but he played himself into deeper plans into their future. Especially with what went on this week, you start to look at the future of Draymond and what options he feels like he might have outside of the Warriors. You mentioned one in the Lakers. He has a deep history now with Klutch (Sports). Rich Paul is his agent. The Lakers, with Russell Westbrook coming off the books, should be able to create enough cap room to give him a reasonable deal he’d like. They have to be considered a threat in this situation. From a basketball fit, and Draymond is a basketball junkie, Anthony Davis, LeBron and Draymond would have spacing issues. To me, a type like Kyrie Irving, a scoring guard who could shoot it and fill it up, makes more basketball sense. If Draymond’s looking for a way to his next big contract and doesn’t feel it’s coming from the Warriors – I’m not saying that’s the case at this point – but I think both sides are looking around right now because of everything going on. If the Lakers are the only option, maybe it’s something explored. I think we’re far away from that.
Scotto: I think some people would also speculate and wonder if, because Draymond went to Michigan State, would Detroit have any interest as they try to hasten the rebuilding curve there? This is all speculative stuff for down the line. To me, I agree as far as your Irving assessment that he’d be a better fit theoretically for the Lakers.
When it comes to Draymond and his option for next season, my thought process is I’d think he could get more than that maybe on a shorter deal. This is his last chance to get a really big payday. Draymond’s been an integral part of the core that’s gotten them (Golden State) four titles. Where is the line in the sand there?
8:35 Were there people in the Warriors who wanted to suspend Draymond?
Slater: A suspension was bantered around plenty the day of and in the aftermath when the video came out. There were more people in the organization who hadn’t even actually seen the punch yet. It was discussed. In some people’s opinion in the organization he kind of was (suspended). He missed two games and a week of camp.
They’ve really allowed the players to be at the forefront of punishment and reintegration of Draymond. Stephen Curry’s been very involved. Kevon Looney has been very involved. Andre Iguodala. This is basically his role on the team at this point to solve situations like this. The players are of the belief that it’s better for the team to bring Draymond back in now. He’s still going to earn back trust, which in some ways, is harsher than a one-game suspension.
10:15 How does Jordan Poole feel about the incident?
Slater: I think he’s purposely not spoken to the media because the timing of this is very interesting when he’s deep in rookie extension contract negotiations. In some ways, it weirdly gave him some leverage in those negotiations.
One thing Steve Kerr has told us, is Draymond Green and Jordan Poole had heart-to-heart and deeper conversations about this. Poole has assured the organization he’s willing to welcome Draymond back in the locker room and play with him. I’m not sure their relationship is or will be the same as it was, which was a mentor and mentee.
You know what I think has been big? I think media messaging from Steph Curry. He came out very early and shot down the report that Poole had been part of the reason this happened because he’d been acting differently because he’s about to get a big payday. He came out pretty harshly and said Draymond was in the wrong. There was nothing that warranted what happened.
Kevon Looney, who’s not that vocal in situations like this, came out the other day and said Draymond broke our trust, and he needs to earn that back. For Poole, who understands the dynamics of an organization and what Draymond means to Curry and the Warriors in history, for them to back Poole publicly and privately has mattered a lot.
13:35 Jordan Poole extension talks
Scotto: Both sides are continuing dialogue regarding an extension. As far as we both know, it seems like they’re pretty deep in it. My sense is there certainly seems to be a willingness to get it done on both sides. The questions I’d pose is, given the contracts that have already been signed by RJ Barrett and Tyler Herro, where does Poole fall on that spectrum?
Slater: The Herro extension was the big one because Poole and Herro in a lot of ways are comparable. They both play on contenders that are sixth men that want to be starters. They’re efficient scorers who can shoot from deep and are skilled. From an offensive efficiency standpoint, they have a lot of upside. Both have had big playoff moments. Herro in the bubble, and Poole, last year, had some huge playoff games. Poole, in a lot of ways, puts himself up against Herro. As the Warriors were getting deeper into negotiations, suddenly the Heat, who are considered a top organization the Warriors respect, decided to put four years, $120 million we’ll call it, with other unlikely incentives to Herro. I think that set a baseline for Poole and his representatives that you’ve got to at least meet that. The Anfernee Simons and RJ Barrett comparisons were thrown out the window when Herro popped at that number. I think there will be haggling around that area. I think the baseline level is the four years, $120 million range if this is going to get done.
Scotto: I don’t know how much more Poole can get over that $30 million annual number. I think the questions you’ve got to ask yourself, and other executives around the league are asking, is what do Poole and Green look like outside the Warriors’ system and the core? You’re then paying a guy potentially $30 million to be a star on a team. There’s a difference between starring in your role and being an All-Star player on a nightly basis.
Slater: I think it (the extension) gets done. I think there are dangers out there for the Warriors that he could get a max offer sheet, which starts around $33.5 million or so. The Orlando Magic, for example, need a lead guard. They should have a bunch of cap room. If they believe they can pry Poole away, wouldn’t you want to pair him as a pick-and-roll partner with Paolo Banchero? I think the Spurs are another team who’s rebuilding where Poole is so appealing compared to Green, Kyrie, or some of the other free agents out there. For a young team with cap space that wants to build, Poole fits an age curve.
From the Warriors’ side, and why I think they get this done is I don’t think they want this looming over Poole’s head all season, especially after what just happened. It’s one of the many reasons the Green situation was unsettling. I think it provided more urgency in the Poole contract talks. Part of the Phoenix season was derailed last year was because of Ayton’s unsettled situation and maybe some sour feelings toward the organization for basically coming out and saying they didn’t think he was worth what he thought he was worth. As the Warriors try to settle the waters and chase a title where we consider them among the top-five contenders, if you’re fighting about a little bit of money at the end, it’s better for the Warriors to get it done.
21:40 Andrew Wiggins contract extension talks
Scotto: I’m not sure Wiggins can do more to improve his value after an All-Star season and lockdown defense in the playoffs. He was a big reason why they won the NBA Finals. What’s the likelihood Wiggins is extended?
Slater: I don’t think it’s as likely as Poole. With their public messaging, they’ve made it clear their top priority has been Poole. I think that’s sat over the Draymond situation too. Draymond came out on Media Day and said he doesn’t think he’s getting an extension done despite the fact we’ve known he’s wanted one. Meanwhile, Bob Myers is saying they were meeting with Poole’s reps. Wiggins is kind of in the middle of that. If he was willing to take what would be a team-friendly extension. He’s sitting around $33 million this season. I think if he was willing to take a slight pay cut and go into the 20s, then I think the Warriors would talk. Remember, every million to them is eight or nine million dollars with how deep into the repeater tax they are. With how well Wiggins played on a big stage, where he proved he can be a winning component on both ends of the floor. He’s got to think his value is near his max if he’s heading into the market.
23:55 Is James Wiseman primed for a breakout?
Scotto: One general manager told HoopsHype that James Wiseman is his top breakout candidate for the upcoming season. The general manager told me, “We just saw the best of him in Japan. They’ll feature him in ways that’ll make his life easy.”
Slater: He’s looked good. His first Japan game was like 20 and 10. He had a very simplified role, which I think will help him this year… The second is going to include Poole and Donte DiVincenzo, guys that’ll get him the ball better than Kelly Oubre, Kent Bazemore, and the guys he played with in his rookie year. I think the environment will be better for him. He looks like the game has slowed down for him.
26:25 Could Patrick Baldwin Jr. and other young players sneak into the rotation?
Scotto: Some people in the organization believe Patrick Baldwin Jr. can maybe carve out some rotation minutes there, given how he can spread the floor with his shooting.
Slater: I think Moses Moody steps into an immediate rotation spot. He’s been first off the bench in the preseason games. He’s fit for a 3-and-D role… He’s basically locked up a nearly 20-minute nightly slot.
Kuminga is more up in the air because his fit is tougher. He can do stuff defensively they like, such as switching. They think long-term he can be an elite individual wing defender. He also has goals of being a high-usage small forward who takes a bunch of threes and handles the ball. The Warriors don’t really need that on this team, especially in the Curry ecosystem.
I think Baldwin is going to play a lot in Santa Cruz… He looks smooth, and as a 6-foot-10 shooter, he reminds me a little bit of Michael Porter Jr. with how smooth the shot form looks… They do like his long-term outlook.
29:00 Klay Thompson’s extension chances
Slater: He’s extension-eligible now too. He’s the fourth of these really big pillars that could’ve come calling for a contract. That hasn’t really happened. There’s been no buzz about that. He’s on a big deal around $41 million this year. He’s in a wait-and-see mode. He wants to see if he can play himself into another big deal. The training staff has told him typically year two off an Achilles or ACL is the better season than year one. He had a good Finals. He defended better than he had in the playoffs. The shot is still there. He can’t defend Ja Morant like he did when he was 28. The lateral quickness has been sapped by the injuries. He’s a local legend. This fan base does not want to see Klay Thompson wear another jersey. They’re so far away from him being a free agent, and so many decisions have to happen with Poole, Wiggins, and Draymond. I think they’re in wait-and-see mode. What will Klay look like two years from now? I don’t think anybody knows. He wants to prove he’s somewhere near where he would be.