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Draymond Green opts out, but it doesn’t really mean anything

Nothing has changed.

Draymond Green sitting at a press conference table with a microphone Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

We’re still a little ways away from the official start of the NBA free agency period, but the Golden State Warriors have already had their first domino fall. Kind of.

Four-time All-Star, four-time champion, two-time All-NBA selection, eight-time All-Defense selection, and former Defensive Player of the Year Draymond Green has opted out of the final year of his contract which, for the most part, was expected.

Your gut reaction was probably worry, fear, or sadness. And that’s understandable. If Green is to play for a different team next year, he almost certainly needed to opt out. This is the first step towards that, and it’s fair to feel, as the kids say, some type of way about it.

But at the same time, it doesn’t really mean anything. Green was always likely to opt out, and it shouldn’t change the odds of what happens next.

There’s no indication that Green wants to play elsewhere. All the reports have said his clear preference is to return, and he spent his entire press conference after the Warriors season-ending loss to the Los Angeles Lakers referring to next year’s Dubs team as “we.”

And there’s no indication that the Warriors want Green to be anywhere but back in the bay for a 12th season. Steve Kerr publicly said the Warriors can’t win a title next season without Green, and while new GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. stopped just short of putting it in those blatant terms, he put a bow on the exact same sentiment, saying, “to win at the highest level, we feel we have to have him.”

That’s not just talk. The Warriors very clearly are prioritizing bringing Green back.

And him opting out changes nothing. Ultimately, there are three reasons for Green to opt out.

  1. He wants to play elsewhere.
  2. He wants to get some offers from other teams to use as leverage when re-signing with the Warriors.
  3. He realizes that it’s in everyone’s best interest to opt out and spread out the extension over the life of the contract, starting with this year, when the Warriors will presumably be in their worst financial situation for the foreseeable future.

In all likelihood, Green opted out for both the second and third reasons. He wants to make money in what will likely be his last large contract, and having a big offer from another team is the best way to do that. And he surely knows that, assuming he signs an extension that averages less per year than the $27.6 million that he just opted out of, it’s for the best if he restructures by opting out (example: if he and the Warriors want to sign a three-year, $50 million extension, it’s better to opt out and sign a four-year, $77.6 million deal than tack on the three-year extension to next year’s $27.6 contract).

So in other words, while “Draymond Green opts out” isn’t exactly a headline anyone wanted to read, it probably doesn’t mean anything at all, let alone anything bad.

But gear up. Free agency is only just beginning.

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