Draymond Green, the fiery star of the Golden State Warriors, has made headlines again. After opting out of the final year of his contract, the four-time NBA champion will become an unrestricted free agent. This move has sparked speculation about where Green will end up and what his motivations are.
At 33 years old, Green has spent his entire 11-year career with the Warriors. His options are now to negotiate a new deal with the Warriors, negotiate a sign-and-trade deal to go to another team, or sign with a new team altogether. Green’s agent, Rich Paul, stated that they will continue to talk with Golden State and explore all options.
Green’s decision to opt-out is a business move to secure more than the $27.5 million he would have made next season. His negotiating leverage could weaken if he were to test free agency after next season. So, what could a return to Golden State look like for Green? His biggest motivation in a new deal could be returning to win a fifth ring with the Warriors. However, he will have to repair his biggest transgression last season.
At the end of the Warriors’ playoff run against the Los Angeles Lakers, Green and coach Steve Kerr both acknowledged how Golden State simply wasn’t the same after Green punched guard Jordan Poole in October. Kerr stated that Green knows he “compromised things by what happened back in October.” Part of Green coming back next year has to be about rebuilding some of that trust and respect that he’s earned here for a long period of time.
Green’s market could be limited, based on other team’s motivations and incoming salary cap restrictions after this offseason. Outside of returning to Golden State, one team stands out as an obvious choice for speculation: the Lakers. Although Green has gone toe-to-toe with LeBron James many times during his career, a move to Los Angeles could be a fresh start for the veteran.
In the end, Green’s decision will be based on his goals and motivations. Does he want to remain with the Warriors and chase another championship ring? Or does he want a fresh start and a new challenge with another team? Whatever his decision may be, it will certainly be interesting to see where Green lands and how it will impact the NBA landscape.