Lakers Considered ‘Potential Suitor’ for $155 Million All-Star & 4-Time Champion

Draymond Green and Klay Thompson

Getty Draymond Green and Klay Thompson

The Los Angeles Lakers are considered a potential suitor for a four-time NBA champion.

In a March 10 column called “Top 2023 NBA Free Agents Who Could Realistically Change Teams,” Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale listed the Lakers as a possible suitor for Golden State Warriors power forward Draymond Green. The four-time All-Star can become an unrestricted free agent this summer if he declines his 2023-24 player option worth $27.6 million.

“Green just turned 33. Ditto for Klay Thompson, who will be entering the final year of his deal next season. Steph turns 35 on March 14,” Favale wrote. “The Warriors have also already recommitted to Poole and Andrew Wiggins. They might be flush, but are they flush enough to carry $24-plus million salaries for five players? Maybe the Warriors gut it out for another year and confront the awkward and tough questions later. Perhaps Green re-signs for cheaper than we think. More likely, maybe Thompson is the one accepting a hometown discount in his next deal. Collateral damage still feels inevitable. That could come in the form of a Poole trade over the summer. But it could—it might—manifest with Green shopping around for more lucrative opportunities than Golden State is prepared to offer. Potential suitors to watch: Houston, Indiana, Lakers.”

Green signed a four-year, $99.7 million extension with the Warriors in August 2019. He has the same agent (Rich Paul of Klutch Sports Group) as Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Green punched Jordan Poole in the face before the season started, so his future in Golden State is murky. The swingman will have made more than $155 million in his career if he becomes a free agent in July.

Everyone Assumes Draymond Green Is Going to the Lakers

A Western Conference executive told Heavy Sports senior insider Sean Deveney that “everyone assumes” Green will leave the Warriors and sign with the Lakers this offseason. Green has a very close relationship with James.

“Hard to say what you could get for Draymond at this point because he can be a free agent, and everyone assumes he’s going to the Lakers next summer,” the executive told Deveney. “You’d probably have to take back a bad contract to move him, and they’re not going to see that as being worth it, so he’s not going anywhere. But it is a big shadow over that team. They’ve had injuries and some bad personnel decisions, but the Draymond thing is still there.”

The Lakers will be interested in signing Green if he becomes a free agent, sources told Heavy Sports. The 33-year-old has career averages of 8.7 points, 7.0 rebounds and 5.6 assists.

“Pretty strong,” another Western Conference executive told Deveney about Green’s chances of leaving the Warriors. “If they win a championship again this year, there will be pressure to keep things together, but the stuff with the punch [on Jordan Poole] in the preseason, that probably put the nail in it. There was already a good chance he would go just because his production is not what it was and he is getting older. It would be hard to justify paying him $20-something-million a year.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith: Draymond Green Wants to Play for the Lakers

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith said in October that Green wants to play for the Lakers. The former Defensive Player of the Year grew up in the same city as Los Angeles head coach Darvin Ham.

“I can tell you right now that Draymond Green is expecting this to be his last year in Golden State,” Smith said. “Now he wanna be a Laker. He ain’t gonna tell anybody that, but don’t think I don’t know. He’d prefer to be a Laker if he gotta leave Golden State.”

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