The Golden State Warriors should keep Draymond Green – no matter what

NBA defensive rankings: Draymond Green, Warriors
February 27, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) argues with NBA official Tyler Ford (left) against the Los Angeles Lakers during the second quarter at Chase Center. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Golden State Warriors’ dynasty was built on good draft picks, smart free-agent signings and trades. More than anything, if the Warriors didn’t draft Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson or Draymond Green, there’s no way they win three championships in five years.

The big picture: Although it might seem enticing for the Warriors to trade Green for younger pieces, cap relief and picks, they should keep him, regardless of what happens.

Draymond Green’s Contract

For better or worse, Green’s contract is one of the main reasons the Warriors should keep him in the Bay Area. Green agreed to a four-year, $100 million contract extension last offseason that’s set to kick in this coming season. Had he not, Green would have been a free agent next offseason.

It’s also interesting to note that Green’s contract has a 15% trade kicker once the 2020-21 season begins. If he’s traded, the Warriors would pay the 15% and would be spread out across his contract. This makes it difficult to potentially match salaries, especially since the salary cap situation is in flux.

As it stands, Green would be the 48th highest-earning player in 2020-21. Among the 29 players whose contracts are guaranteed – discounting those with player or team options – past 2020-21, almost all of them average more points, rebounds or assists than Green. Defensively, Thompson, Jimmy Butler, Khris Middleton, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Pascal Siakam and Al Horford provide similar value with more offense.

That’s not a knock on Green – it’s an observation of his skillset compared to other players making similar money. That said, for a player that just turned 30, it will be hard to find a suitor that wants to pay Green during the end of his deal. Considering Green is already limited on the offensive end of the court, that makes the Warriors the best place for him moving forward.

Draymond Green’s fit with the Warriors

Another important aspect to think about when potentially trading Green is his fit on other teams. Because teams already know he’s an offensive liability, it’s more difficult to know where he can potentially go. Also he’s not the easiest player to get along with – look no further than his spats with Kevin Durant – and it would take a lot patience to get used to Green.

With head coach Steve Kerr playing Green as a point-forward, he’s the jack-of-all-trades piece the Warriors need. During his time in Golden State, Green has been great.

  • He’s averaging 9.0 points, 6.9 rebounds and 5.0 assists, on 43.5%/32%/75.9% from the field, three-point line and free-throw line.
  • Green is a five-time All-Defensive Team selection and the 2017 Defensive Player of the Year.
  • Green knows his role on the squad, doing his work on the defensive end.

That said, it’s hard to see him enjoying the same amount success on another team. For all his defensive accolades, Curry, Thompson, Durant and others masked Green’s offensive deficiencies. That’s not possible on other teams, unless they have offensive players that demand as much respect as Curry and Thompson.

The bottom line: The Warriors need to keep Green

All in all, it would be in the Warriors’ best interest to keep Green. Even if a team absorbed Green’s contract, there’s no telling what the Warriors would get back in a trade.

If anything, it would probably be a combination of aging veterans, expiring contracts, young prospects or mid-to-late 1st round picks. With a young squad surrounding a healthy Curry, Thompson and Green, the Warriors don’t need to think about trading anyone just yet. Instead, they should focus on shoring up the defense and signing impact free agents.

By keeping Green, the Warriors have at least two more years of playoff contention and potentially, an NBA Finals appearance.