Since coming into the NBA as a second-round pick in 2012, Draymond Green has imposed his toughness and personality on the Warriors, perhaps more than any other player. He forced his way into the starting five by his third season and has been a fixture in Golden State since. Lately, he has taken to trading barbs with another sharp-tongued forward, Charles Barkley.
Green even signed a contract extension with the Warriors last summer, a four-year deal worth $100 million that seemed to indicate he will be with the Ws for the bulk of his remaining productive seasons. Green turned 30 last month.
Yet, chatter has arisen around the NBA that Green could be a candidate to be traded whenever the NBA’s offseason comes around, or perhaps at next year’s trading deadline.
A report from Bleacher Report’s Ric Bucher noted that at least one other league executive said the Warriors should at least examine the possibility of the Warriors swapping Green for Utah center Rudy Gobert, who could be on the outs with the Jazz because of what The Athletic termed a relationship with star guard Donovan Mitchell that is, “not salvageable.”
Warriors Did Not Talk Draymond Trade This Year
Even the extension that Green signed in August was seen as a harbinger of a potential Green trade by some. Green signed the deal on August 3 and, under NBA rules, a veteran who signs an extension is not eligible to be traded until six months after that extension becomes official.
That six months was up on February 3, three days before the NBA’s trade deadline—something the Warriors did intentionally in case they did, in fact, want to trade Green. The deal made him eligible to be traded just three days ahead of the February 6 deadline.
According to league sources, though, the Warriors never came close to trading Green this season. He was the lone stalwart in what mostly has been a lost season for Golden State. Klay Thompson did not play at all as he recovered from an ACL injury and Steph Curry played only a handful of games as he dealt with a broken bone in his hand.
The Warriors did deal away point guard D’Angelo Russell, acquired last summer in a sign-and-trade for Kevin Durant, in February as part of a package that brought back forward Andrew Wiggins.
Is Draymond Green Still Effective?
Moving Green, even for an obvious (and younger) talent like Gobert, would be a major shift for the Warriors.
While Green has ruffled feathers in the organization with his outspokenness, that outspokenness has been one of the keys to the toughness, approach and defensive success of the Warriors. But one executive told Bucher that the key to Green’s effectiveness—his versatility and ability to defend five positions, allowing the Warriors to switch defensively on all screen—has been mimicked by opponents and effectively figured out by the rest of the league.
With mostly young players unfamiliar with the Warriors’ system, Golden State ranks 26th in defensive efficiency this year. But even last year, they dropped to 11th for the second consecutive year. They ranked 1st, 6th and 2nd in Steve Kerr’s first year as coach.
“The Draymond Green trick is over,” the executive told Bucher.
That may be. But it likely will be a while yet before Green’s time with the Warriors is over, too.