Golden State Warriors veteran Draymond Green is declining his $27.5 million player option for the 2023-24 season and will enter unrestricted free agency, according to a report from The Athletic's Shams Charania.
"We will continue to talk to Golden State and explore all options," Green's agent, Rich Paul said via ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 33-year-old has spent his entire 11-season career with the Warriors. While this development signifies the potential for that to change, the team expected it and is extending every effort to sign Green on a new deal, according to Wojnarowski and a report from ESPN's Marc Spears on "NBA Today."
This past season was a tumultuous one for the forward, who averaged 8.5 points, 7.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists over 73 games. He shot 52.7% from the field and 30.5% from 3.
Issues started early when Green punched teammate Jordan Poole and subsequently took a break from the team to allow them time to "heal." After the team finished sixth in the Western Conference with a 44-38 record and was eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference semifinals, head coach Steve Kerr admitted the altercation hindered the Warriors' season.
Green was also suspended one game during the team's first-round playoff series with the Sacramento Kings, a decision that was "based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts," according to the league.
That said, Kerr was clear about his hopes for Green's future after the season ended.
“If Draymond’s not back, we’re not a championship contender,” Kerr said of the four-time All-Star. “We know that. He’s that important to winning, to who we are. I absolutely want him back.”
Kerr’s endorsement came shortly after Green addressed his opt-out clause and expressed his desire to remain a part of the team with which he has won four titles.
“I’ve told you guys for years, I want to be a Warrior for the rest of my life. I wanna ride out with the same dudes I rode in with,” he told reporters after the team's Game 6 loss. “And I think we’ve put the work in to make that happen, and here we are with our worst season as a whole since 2014, and yet, we had a chance to make another run. It’s never as bad as it seems. It’s never as good as it seems.”
Green and Kerr's desires are seemingly aligned. The coach even joined Green's podcast two weeks ago. During that appearance, Kerr spoke about what it takes to build a championship team.
For the Warriors, president and general manager Bob Myers was a big part of that effort. After Myers stepped down last month, he was replaced by team executive Mike Dunleavy Jr.
Dunleavy is now tasked with navigating the specifics of Green's contract, something that has come up in the past. The new GM addressed the Green report on Monday with reporters in his pre-scheduled introductory news conference.
“I saw the report, too. Until we get the paperwork and the filing we can’t really comment or say much,” Dunleavy said, via The Associated Press. “I will say it, I think Steve [Kerr] has said it, I’ll reiterate, we really want Draymond back. What he means to this organization and this team in terms of trying to win at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him. So that’s very important.”
Last offseason, Green reportedly believed he deserved the maximum extension that would pay him $164.2 million over the next five seasons. He made $25.8 million in 2022-23, and it seems likely he could push for the deal he initially hoped to get.
With Green serving as just one variable for the Warriors this summer, Dunleavy will have plenty to focus on as he settles into his new role.