I probably don’t need to tell you what the overwhelming discourse surrounding the Golden State Warriors has been. It’s been, ironically, about a player who isn’t even employed by the team: Jordan Poole.
Nearly all of the offseason content, discussion, arguments, and stories have been connected to Poole.
Jordan Poole traded for Chris Paul
Warriors never moved past Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole
Jordan Poole’s contract might be the worst or the best in the league
The chemistry in the locker room was irreparably damaged by Jordan Poole’s attitude
Mike Dunleavy Jr. thinks trading Jordan Poole was for the best
Are the Warriors better without Jordan Poole?
And so on and so forth and so on some more.
We’ll probably never access an entirely transparent history of Poole’s time with the Dubs, but we do know some facts. Facts such as:
- Green inexcusably-punching Poole played a massive role in the team’s struggles last year.
- Poole’s attitude was an obstacle the Warriors felt would take some work to overcome.
- If he plays like he did in 2021-22, Poole is on an amazing contract, and if he plays like he did in 2022-23, he’s on a pretty bad one.
- Saying “Jordan Poole” elicits a lot of reactions from Warriors fans.
But if you’re willing to dig beyond the catchy headlines, there’s been another big narrative this offseason: NBA players are people, too. They have feelings and emotions that are complex and, as a result, comfortingly simple and relatable. And while we always want to blow things out of proportion and assume that players on rival teams hate each other, reality is usually a bit more refreshing.
We’ve been reminded of this in the past. Green may have taken shots — both physical and verbal — at LeBron James in the past, but they’re now extremely close friends. Green and Kevin Durant had a public spat when they were teammates, but it’s clearly all love between the two now. Curry might mock every opponent that dares lace up their sneakers and go against him, but he remains beloved by his peers.
We’ve been especially reminded of it this offseason. Green has spoken candidly about not liking Paul, and how that doesn’t matter because they’re professionals who will go to work together and figure things out. Curry and Steve Kerr have said much milder versions of the same thing.
And now we have perhaps our strongest reminder yet: a quiet social media post by Steph’s brother Seth on Wednesday, showing the Curry brothers and Klay Thompson working out at a high school gym ... with Poole.
Steph and Klay may not be as demonstrative or aggressive as Green, but you can bet that the reports of tension between Poole and the veterans included the Splash Brothers. Curry’s speech before Game 7 against the Sacramento Kings was reportedly targeted at Poole and Jonathan Kuminga, and Thompson’s feelings about Poole’s shot selection and turnovers was transparent in his body language for much of the year.
Yet here they are, at a gym together, prepping for the upcoming NBA season ... one where they all have statements to make. And joined by No. 3 overall pick Scoot Henderson, just for good measure.
It’s an important reminder that relationships in the NBA are just like relationships outside of the NBA. They’re human, fluid, complex, and usually not defined by one incident. Are Curry and Thompson friends with Poole? Who knows. Are they happy that he’s off the team? Quite possibly. Will they ride and side with Green over Poole, even if they disagree with the violent act committed? Unquestionably.
But do they want to spend the start of August in an empty gym alongside their former teammate, challenging each other, having shooting competitions, and prepping for the grind of yet another NBA season?