Draymond Green has been so important to the Warriors’ reign. He’s an elite defender with the necessary versatility for the modern NBA. His passing is integral to Golden State’s offense. Shifting Green to center unlocked something so powerful, it was called the “death lineup.”
But he can also be temperamental and difficult. He just had had his worst season of this Warriors era, missing the All-Star game for the first time in four years. He reportedly told impending free agent Kevin Durant to leave Golden State. A couple months ago, Warriors coach Steve Kerr appeared to say, “I’m so f—ing tired of Draymond’s s—.”
Does any of this jeopardize Green’s future with Golden State?
Warriors owner Joe Lacob, via Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic:
I want Draymond Green to be here forever. He’s as Warrior as they come.
Lacob will likely get tested on that in 2020, when Green hits free agency and will be eligible for a max contract projected to be worth $202 million over five years. Green reportedly plans not to take a discount.
But Green will also be 30 by then. By his own admission, he spent most of this season out of shape. Conditioning will only get more important and more difficult as he ages.
Golden State could also be deep into the repeater tax. Stephen Curry is on a super-max contract. Klay Thompson likely re-signs on a max contract this summer. The Warriors want to keep Kevin Durant, too.
Losing Green would radically transform Golden State’s identity – mostly for the worse. He’s playing excellently in these playoffs. But the Warriors ought to be careful about committing future money for past production.
These are the types of difficult decisions all championship teams face, even if Lacob suggests it’s an easy call.