Draymond Green’s contract option a problem for Warriors

The Warriors' quartet of four-time champs.
The Warriors’ quartet of four-time champs. Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

While Draymond Green’s haymaker to Jordan Poole’s face has obvious immediate ramifications, the longer-term consequences could be even more dire for the Golden State Warriors. With extension discussions all but certainly out the window, Green seems like a lock to opt-in to his $27.5 million option for the 2023-24 season, extending what by then could be an even more tenuous relationship and limiting the Warriors’ ability to contend going forward.

ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski suggested this week that Golden State needs to prepare for the reality that Green will utilize his player option. His contract situation is just one of several negotiations the Dubs have to deal with, balancing the huge already-existing deals for Steph Curry and Klay Thompson alongside a potential extension for Andrew Wiggins and the heavily rumored extension on tap for Poole himself.

Prior to the fight, Green’s contract negotiation was already a delicate situation, given that his production and availability have become more of a question mark as he’s entered his 30s. That Poole was being targeted for an extension ahead of the season while Green and the Warriors had been unable to strike a deal was rumored to be a source of conflict — though that rumor was disputed by Green and the team, for whatever that’s worth.

In the end, the Warriors opted for a fine and absence from a few preseason activities for Green in lieu of a regular season suspension. Wojnarowski reported that the organization “put a significant amount of weight on the fact that opening night was ring night” when debating the punishment for Green.

With the short-term consequences now squared away, the long-term effects can come into clearer focus. It’s almost impossible to envision the organization working out an extension with Green at this point. Moreover, the incident may have jeopardized Green’s ability to capitalize on his looming free agency, in which case his $27.5 million player option for the 2023-24 season would be highly appealing. That means he and the Warriors might be stuck in an awfully awkward marriage for money.

A healthy Green is still a stellar player, and he is saying all the right things. But even that may not be enough. In his solo press conference last weekend, he noted that “Jordan’s feelings are the most important, and to be honest I’m not sure how he feels.” If things aren’t as hunky-dory as the Warriors claim them to be, then it could be not merely a long year, but a few uncomfortable seasons ahead at the Chase Center.

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