We’re still a few weeks away from the Golden State Warriors being able to make any move involving outside free agents. But you can bet that they’re hard at work dealing with one of their own players: Draymond Green.
When the season ended, all of the Warriors focus shifted to president and general manager Bob Myers, whose future was undecided. Now that he has chosen to step away from the team, all of the focus turns to Green.
By now we all know the situation: Green has a player option for the final year of his deal. He can opt in and get paid $27.6 million to stay on the Warriors, or he can enter free agency. Or, as I’m sure the sides are currently discussing, he can do something else before the June 29 deadline for his option.
There are six potential outcomes for Green’s contract. I’ve decided to rank them in order of most likely to happen to least likely to happen. Please use the comment section to let me know how wrong I am.
Most likely: Opt out and re-sign
All year long, a cloud of rumors and reports hung over Green’s head. Some said he would leave the Warriors if he didn’t get a maximum contract offer. Others said he would leave the Warriors regardless, to team up with his pal LeBron James. There was talk that the Warriors wouldn’t want him back after he punched Jordan Poole, and talk that they simply wouldn’t want him back at a price point that others could match.
That all seemed to dissipate when the season ended. By the time the Warriors were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers, it was evident that Green is still the Warriors second-best player after Steph Curry. Within minutes of their Game 6 loss, The Athletic published a report that “Green and the Warriors appear intent on discussing an extension to their partnership.” A few days later, coach Steve Kerr said that the Warriors cannot win a championship next year if they don’t retain Green.
Myers was one of Green’s strongest advocates, but his departure doesn’t change anything. The Warriors two most important employees — Curry and Kerr — are staunch and vocal Green supporters. The braintrust remains a big fan, and the next GM will likely come from that braintrust. Green reiterated after the playoffs that he intends to re-sign, repeatedly referring to next year’s Warriors team as “we.”
I don’t anticipate that Green will take a discount for the Warriors after watching not only Curry and Klay Thompson, but also Poole and Andrew Wiggins sign larger contracts than his. But he does understand that the Warriors are in a financial pickle, and that opting out to spread an extension out over a few years would be mutually beneficial.
2nd-most likely: Opt in and extend
A contract that keeps Green in the Bay Area for the next three or four years is far and away the most likely scenario, but Green doesn’t have to opt out and restructure a deal. He could just opt in and negotiate an extension that would begin during the 2024-25 season.
There are a few reasons to do this instead of opting out. Perhaps they just don’t get the details hammered out by the deadline date. Perhaps Green doesn’t want to defer any money. Or perhaps the Warriors would prefer to get the largest year of his contract out of the way now, making the books a tougher pill to swallow in 2023-24, but then lighter in subsequent years.
3rd-most likely: Opt in
While I expect both sides to be motivated to get a deal done, that doesn’t always happen. If they can’t agree to terms, will Green chase a long-term deal elsewhere? Or will he give it another run with Curry, Thompson, and Kerr, and hope they can figure out things this time next year?
This option doesn’t need to be one that comes with bad blood. Perhaps Green is just optimistic that he can have the type of year that increases his value, or maybe he wants to see what the Warriors look like this season before deciding on his future.
4th-most likely: Explore the market
Tampering may technically be forbidden, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. It’s probably safe to say that Klutch Sports knows exactly what Green’s market is right now, but if they’re unsure — or if he’s unsure — he could opt out and explore what other teams are willing to offer.
If he does this, I’m guessing he still ends up on the Warriors. He’s more valuable to them than to other teams, and many of the organizations that really want him — namely the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers — don’t have much money to offer.
5th-most likely: Sign elsewhere
This was the rumor for a long time, and Green has all but shut it down. But crazier things have happened than this, and there’s still plenty of time for things to go sideways. Green could always opt out, and find a new team to call home.
Least likely: A trade
A lot of fans are clamoring for this option. It won’t happen. But it’s technically an option.