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Everybody loves Draymond: Grizzlies also pursuing Warriors forward

Draymond Green is the Warriors every team loves to hate. And then pursue in free agency.

2022 NBA Playoffs - Golden State Warriors v Memphis Grizzlies
There is almost no chance this Draymond Green shot went in.
Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Every team in the NBA hates Draymond Green. The trash talking, the precision passing, the hard fouls, the pick-and-roll with Steph Curry, the constant fear of an ill-timed kick or stomp, the clutch defensive plays, the fear of podcast shaming - all of those have haunted Western Conference rivals since the Golden State Warriors drafted Green 11 years ago.

But now that he’s a free agent, all these teams are interested in Green. The Blazers, who Green has beaten ten games in a row in the playoffs, and 12 out of 13 playoff games overall, want to pair Green with Damian Lillard. Or they’re gaslighting Lillard about their interest until he gets frustrated and demands a trade. The Sacramento Kings hated Draymond when he was bullying Domantas Sabonis, but they gave up a first-round pick to clear cap space that could go to Green.

And now even the Memphis Grizzlies dynasty is interested in their old enemy.

To be clear, NBA insider Marc Stein doesn’t expect Draymond to leave the Warriors, but he reported that Memphis “had strong interest in Green and were plotting to make some sort of run at him.” That’s despite Green’s war of words with Dillon Brooks, flipping the double bird to Grizzlies fans, and his ejection in the 2022 playoffs where he taunted the entire arena.

To be fair, it does seem like Green and new Grizzly Marcus Smart could find common ground on a lot of things aside from hair dye, and Draymond does appear to be very familiar with the song “Whoop That Trick.”

But the Grizzlies have only the mid-level exception to give Green, which is not something he’s going to sign for after opting out of a $27.6 million salary for next season.

The Sacramento Kings are more intriguing, simply because they cleared enough space - over $33 million in cap room - to make a credible offer to Green. If they did make an offer to Green, that would likely mean they’d say goodbye to former Warrior Harrison Barnes, the second time that Green would be responsible for pushing Barnes off a California team.

Green claims that Barnes hadn’t spoken to him since the Warriors signed Kevin Durant, since Barnes blamed Draymond for recruiting Durant and getting him traded to Dallas. According to Green, he was the only Warrior not invited to Barnes’ wedding.

It would also fit a pattern of owner Vivek Ranadive bringing in player and coaches from the Warriors, where Ranadive was formerly a member of the ownership group. Longtime Warriors assistant Mike Brown is the head coach, while Ranadive has previously hired former Warriors coaches Michael Malone, Luke Walton, Alvin Gentry, and even George Karl to lead his team. He’s also brought in Barnes, and in a nod to Joe Lacob, he hired his own child as GM of the Kings’ G League team.

Despite this interest, it’s likely that Green returns to the Warriors. But it must warm his heart that some of his biggest haters have shown him so much love.

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