Is the dynasty of the Golden State Warriors over? The Dubs won just 44 games this past regular season and were ousted in the second round of the playoff by the Los Angeles Lakers. Future Hall of Famers Steph Curry and Klay Thompson will be back next season, but what about the third member of that HOF trio in Draymond Green? He is an unrestricted free agent. The Dubs may also have to trade Jordan Poole for salary cap reasons.
NBA Rumors: Warriors Want Draymond Green Back, Could Trade Jordan Poole
Green has declined his $27.6 million player option for the 2023-24 season, which was expected. The possibilities for a new deal, Green leaving for a new destination or even a sign-and-trade are all on the table now. Green, a former Defensive Player of the Year and eight-time NBA All-Defensive team honoree, has been one of the core components to the Warriors’ four championships over the past decade.
This past season was a tumultuous one for the Green, though. During training camp, Green was caught on film punching Poole during a practice and subsequently took a break from the team. After the team was eliminated by the Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, head coach Steve Kerr admitted the altercation hindered the Warriors’ season. Green averaged 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists over 73 games. He shot 52.7% from the field and 30.5% from 3.
Green is searching for longer-term security. He’s 33 and this could be the last big-money deal of his career. He’s coming off a great defensive season, again proving his on-court value. It’s clear that the coaches and veterans want Green back. Kerr was blunt about it a month ago, saying the Warriors will no longer be contenders if they lose Green. But the new CBA is very punitive for teams who reach the second apron of the luxury tax, which the Dubs surely would do if they sign Green and keep Poole.
The team has a new GM in Mike Dunleavy Jr., who has said he wants Green back. The player option that Green turned down was worth $27.6 million but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’ll be pushing for a larger 2023-24 salary in a new contract. He and the Warriors could negotiate a multiyear deal that reduces his cap hit for next season but gives him a more significant overall guarantee.
“We really want Draymond back,” Dunleavy said. “What he means to this organization, this team, in terms of trying to win at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him. That’s very important.”
With the Lakers eliminating the Warriors in the 2023 Western Conference Semifinals, the Warriors’ NBA-record streak of series victories against the West came to an end. The Warriors had won their last 19 playoff series against Western Conference teams (2015-2023), the longest such streak since the NBA instituted conferences in 1970-71.
Meanwhile, Poole completely disappeared in this year’s playoffs. He shot 34 percent overall and 25 percent from 3 after shooting 51 percent overall and 39 percent from 3 on a high volume in 22 playoff games for the eventual champs in 2022. Poole’s big-money contract is set to kick in next season that will pay him $27.4 million, so the Warriors might be forced to trade him for tax reasons as their payroll would climb north of $400 million.
Dunleavy is a fan of Poole’s and was a scout before the 2019 draft. He saw Poole at Michigan and was a proponent of taking him 28th, adding some playmaking, skill and creation to a roster that needs it around Curry. Poole might not morph back into the star-level guard who led the NBA with 85 made 3s in March and April of the previous regular season. That’s when he averaged 24.7 points on 47.3 percent shooting overall and 41.9 percent from 3 while Steph Curry recovered from a foot injury.
If not Poole, Jonathan Kuminga could be a goner for salary reasons. Kuminga finished his second season in the NBA strong down the stretch run. When Andrew Wiggins missed two months last season tending to a family matter, Kuminga averaged 13.4 points on 56.3 percent shooting and 44.4 percent from 3-point range, playing 24.1 minutes per game. However, the 2021 first round pick fell out of Kerr’s rotation in the postseason. Despite averaging double-figure scoring numbers over his last 13 regular-season games, Kuminga 3.4 points in 6.1 minutes per game in the playoffs.
The 2023-24 NBA schedule will be released in August. The Warriors are currently +1200 to win the 2024 NBA title. They are not good enough as currently constructed.
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