Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green sounded off about how poorly the NBA treats players compared to the teams involved in potential trades following the Dubs’ 129-98 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night.
The Cavs made the decision to sit out big man Andre Drummond, who’s been the subject of trade rumors. Not only did that throw off the competitive balance of the game, but it also triggered Green to speak on a broader problem in the league.
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Draymond Green goes off on double standard of NBA trade talks
Sitting at the podium, it became evident the whole Drummond situation didn’t sit well with Green, who compared the situation to the narratives surrounding stars who demanded trades such as Anthony Davis and James Harden, per SportsCenter:
There’s just a lot to unpack here. Although Green acknowledged Harden essentially quit on the Houston Rockets before they finally traded him to the Brooklyn Nets, he felt the simple fact that The Beard wanted a fresh start didn’t merit all the attacks Harden came under.
Green’s main point was that teams can come out and publicly say a player is involved in trade discussions, but when someone like Harden or Davis — who was fined for publicly speaking about his trade demand from the New Orleans Pelicans — comes out and speaks on a prospective trade, it creates a media firestorm where the player is vilified.
Does Draymond Green have a point?
The short answer is yes. Maybe this will start a more balanced, logical discourse around the issue of personnel moves in the NBA.
NBA players are more empowered than ever today to choose their destination, so an organization can argue the player must maintain a certain professionalism publicly and not speak to trade demands or rumors while negotiations are going on. If a team is complying with a player’s wishes to be moved, perhaps there should be some tact and courtesy on the player’s part to not discuss those matters publicly.
But when the team itself makes a move to bench someone like Drummond in an effort to preserve his health so that a trade doesn’t potentially go awry, and it’s that blatantly obvious that such a move is being made to those ends, it’s understandable that another player would become incensed by the message that sends.
According to an ESPN.com report, the Cavs view Jarrett Allen, who was acquired as part of that blockbuster Harden trade, as the franchise’s long-term center and are seeking to move Drummond as a result. Drummond began his career in Detroit and is a two-time All Star, but now it seems like he’ll be moving on to a new team.
While it makes sense that Cleveland is looking to move off Drummond since he’s due to be an unrestricted free agent this coming offseason and is not guaranteed to stick around the Cavs, the way the team is going about his trade situation isn’t optically the best it could be. That’s what Green is attempting to point out, and he’s commenting on the larger issue of a team’s superior power over a player when it comes to trade talks.
Players can’t play without a team, but teams can’t exist without players. There’s a symbiotic dynamic in place there, but Green argues the power structure is still very much out of balance despite the fact that — thanks in part to LeBron James’ decision to join the Miami Heat in free agency — player mobility is at an all-time high, and superstars are able to find fresh starts if they so desire.