NBA Rumor: Draymond Green Free Agency

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Joe Lacob: My great hope is that Klay, as with Draymond and – frankly – KD; all of them who are guys that you’re referring to. …And frankly, I love DeMarcus Cousins too. I mean, he’s another guy who (he’d like to keep). (But) we can only do what we can do within the framework of the collective bargaining agreement. We really like our players – each and every one of them. Draymond has been with us since the beginning. There’s a certain place in my heart for him. Same with Klay. And all I was trying to say by that is that I really personally like them a lot for what they bring to the table. That’s a personal comment, and I really want to see them stay – to be Warriors for life and hopefully build statues for them.

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Klay Thompson was always seen as a sure thing to stay, but there’s a very real temperature-taking process happening behind the scenes right now. And if feelings get hurt along the way, if Thompson decides that all those years of service weren’t respected by owner Joe Lacob in the kind of way that he believes he deserves, then the Warriors could be promoting Steph Curry as their Splash Single Child in the new building. Draymond Green is due for an extension this summer, and his decision to send that Klutch Sports flare up in the air back in February was as clear a warning as you’ll find that – with his possible free agency coming in 2020 – he’s coming for the best deal his market can bear too.`

As for Thompson, his emotional state will no longer be in question if the Warriors offer the full five-year, $189.7 million max contract that he so desires at the very start of free agency. Anything less, a source with knowledge of his situation says, and the Warriors run the risk of inspiring him to test other waters (speaking of symbolism and optics, by the way, Klay’s recent Southern California tale in the first round was too good to be true: He literally told a story about how testing LA waters was the key to his success while wearing shades).

Green, a Saginaw, Mich., native, recalled some lyrics from Eminem, Detroit’s famed rapper, as a rebuke to all the critics who wrote him off, who used his struggles earlier this season as proof he was done, who were ready to cash him in for younger, future pieces. “How Em say it? Nowadays everybody wanna talk like they got something to say. But nothing comes out when they move their lips. Just a bunch of gibberish. And motherfuckers act like they forgot about Dray.” You know who didn’t forget? Warriors owner Joe Lacob. “He’s Draymond Green,” Lacob said. “I wasn’t worried. I want Draymond Green to be here forever. He’s as Warrior as they come.”

Just last season, he dealt with nagging right shoulder soreness, a swollen elbow, knee soreness and a bruised pelvis. A sprained right toe has already forced Green to miss 12 games this season. The Warriors will take all this into account as he gets closer to free agency in summer 2020. At this point, they hope to keep Green as long as they can. But if Green decides he deserves a max deal and Golden State isn’t comfortable offering one, the two sides could part ways. Anything is possible.

All right, well you obviously got the contract situation coming up. You’ve said “Oh, it’s a business, I have an agent for that,” but you’re also very knowledgeable in that world. How active a role will you play in your own pending negotiations? Draymond Green: I’ll be very active. Very. Sometimes, you get guys who leave it up to somebody else, leave it up to an agent and then blame the agent when it doesn’t go how they like. First off, you need to understand the business. You need to understand whatever it is you need to know. So I’ll be very active. The most important thing in contract negotiations as a player is understanding what’s in front of you. So often, guys don’t. That’s one thing I’ll always be.

The twist: there is no law that Thompson and Green have to demand the max from the Warriors. Yes, each or both might try to wring every dollar possible, and they have earned the right to ask for it, but the environment seems to point to one or both signing less-than-max extensions before hitting free agency. “Look, we know the numbers,” Myers said. “I don’t think we’re running from those things. … (But) we’ve got a group of players and an ownership group that wants to keep it together. That’s very competitive. Both sides. You’ve heard Klay’s comments (saying he might take less than his max to stay with the Warriors). You’ve been around Draymond. He wants to keep winning.

“We’ll keep talking about it (with Thompson). We talked about that last year (during preseason) in China, we’ll continue to talk about it. For those guys, it’s their choice. We’ll try to pay them what’s fair. And it takes two. I know and understand, they’ve gotta like the deal, too. … “I’ll tell you this, Klay’s not driven monetarily. I think he wants to be paid fairly. I think Draymond’s the same way. And obviously Kevin, he’s shown it, that he doesn’t have to have every last penny. … I feel like if we can create a place that gives them a chance to win a championship, get paid well, enjoy going to work every day — and people think an NBA player loves going to work every day. That’s not true; maybe it should be, but it isn’t. If we can create a place where players enjoy it, the hope is they want to continue to do that.”

Yeah, the next thing. You have Klay and Draymond down the road, and KD this summer. But do you feel like the argument — the fact — that this group has gone to four straight Finals is kind of a trump card over any possible object that anyone might have? Bob Myers: Winning is the only time you don’t have to answer questions. It’s the only time. Twenty-nine other GMs, you have to answer, ‘what if?’ ‘why didn’t you?’ Every coach, every player. You only get to have this emotion once, and it means you have to win. It doesn’t mean, though, that you have a perfect team or that you have a perfect life by any stretch. But for me, it means that you appreciate these guys, you try to keep it together, you thank the people — for me, my family, my wife, the people that went on the journey with you. The sacrifice, the things that nobody knows about. That’s the part you try to keep your eye on. And as far as the group, you value the guys that helped you do it, the players, the coaching staff, people I work with in the front office. I don’t know. I think you treasure each moment with these people. Like I said, I mean, you’ve worked with a ton of people. They change. People come and go, for whatever reason — some good, some bad. It doesn’t matter. It’s life.

Draymond Green is scheduled to meet with the Warriors at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday night when free agents can begin negotiating, and the two sides hope to agree to a contract that will keep him from going on the market, multiple sources told Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson II on Monday night. On the eve of NBA free agency, Green’s agent expressed confidence in the Warriors, who have promised to re-sign the “heartbeat” of their championship team. “We have every reason to believe in management and Joe (Lacob) and his leadership and Bob Myers and all the people there that things will get worked out,” agent B.J. Armstrong said. “And we will continue to go through the process.

Hawks and Rockets interested in Draymond Green

Despite the expected interest from Golden State and Detroit, Green told Yahoo Sports he would do his due diligence with all suitors when free agency arrives Wednesday. The Atlanta Hawks and Houston Rockets are also expected to be among the teams interested in Green, a source said. The 2015 first all-NBA defensive team selection said he is open to face-to-face team visits with any serious free-agent opportunity, too.
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