Golden State Warriors stand by Draymond Green, say he’ll get help during his indefinite suspension

Golden State Warriors stand by Draymond Green, say he’ll get help during his indefinite suspension

The Golden State Warriors believe Draymond Green needs serious help to stop the increasingly frequent outbursts in his long history of unsportsmanlike behavior.

Coach Steve Kerr and general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. are hopeful Green’s indefinite suspension for hitting Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic in the face will provide the time and motivation for their star forward to make real progress on the mental and emotional challenges that led him to this grim point in a decorated career.

“To me, this is about more than basketball,” Kerr said Thursday night before the Warriors’ 121-113 loss to the Clippers. “It’s about helping Draymond. I think it’s an opportunity for Draymond to step away and to make a change in his approach, in his life, and that’s not an easy thing to do.”

“He can’t do what he’s been doing, and he knows that,” said Stephen Curry, Green’s teammate for 13 seasons and four championships. “Everybody has their mountains to climb, and Draymond’s are his, and I’m confident that he can get over the hump, however long it takes for him to get there.”

Dunleavy repeatedly said the Warriors will “help” Green during his absence, but didn’t specify the nature of that aid. Kerr said Green will get counseling from professionals outside the team to identify the reasons behind his escalating series of physical outbursts, including his decision to punch then-teammate Jordan Poole during training camp in October 2022 — an act for which the Warriors fined Green, but didn’t suspend him.

“The whole key for me is what this can do for his life long-term,” Kerr said. “I want him to be happy. I want him to reap the rewards of an incredible career and legacy, and I want him to finish that career in a really wonderful, dignified manner. This guy is one of the great winners of all time, one of the great competitors of all time, but he’s crossed a line. He knows that. He knows he needs help, and he’s going to get that help, and we’re going to help him with it.”

Green will be around the Warriors extensively during his suspension, although he can’t be with the team on game nights. Although Green didn’t travel to Los Angeles, Dunleavy said the Warriors are “not jettisoning the guy off somewhere.”

Dunleavy also unambiguously confirmed the Warriors are committed to the 33-year-old Green, who is in the first season of a four-year, $100 million contract extension. Although Dunleavy pointedly said Golden State’s starting lineup hasn’t played well enough during the team’s 10-13 start, he praised the play of Curry and Green.

“He’s been here for a long time,” Dunleavy said of Green. “He’s hung a ton of banners and means so much to this organization. I think this is about turning this thing into a positive and getting better. I think that happens, and we feel really good. Like I said, his play has been terrific. It’s just his lack of availability that’s not been great, and we want to make that better.”

Dunleavy said Green and the Warriors had discussions with the NBA about the nature of the suspension before it was announced this week, and all parties agreed on a truly indefinite suspension. Dunleavy said there are no guaranteed parameters on the ban’s length.

Dunleavy also said he thinks it’s reasonable to hold Green to a higher standard after his history of misbehavior, including the bizarre headlock he placed on Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert during a skirmish last month, leading to a five-game ban.

The Warriors have dropped 12 of 16 after losing to the surging Clippers, and Dunleavy indicated the team’s next 15 to 20 games will play a major role in deciding whether Golden State needs to make big roster changes for a team that has won four championships in the past nine seasons.

In the current NBA standings, not only would Golden State not be in the playoffs, but the Warriors wouldn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament.

Compounding Green’s woes, the suspension almost certainly means he won’t play in the 65 games usually required for a player to be eligible for postseason awards under the NBA’s new participation policies, which means his annual spot on the all-defensive team is in jeopardy. And it surely will be part of what USA Basketball takes into consideration when deciding whether Green, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, deserves a spot on the team that will go to next year’s Paris Games.

Kerr will coach that Olympic team, and Green has indicated he would like to play. Speaking in his role as a TNT analyst earlier this week, Grant Hill — USA Basketball’s managing director — said Green striking Jurkic was “disappointing.”