Golden State Warriors, NBA Trade Rumors

Warriors might consider trading Draymond Green

Draymond Green has been an integral part of the Warriors for this entire era. Now NBA trade rumors are hinting they might consider trading him.

Can you imagine an NBA world without Draymond Green playing for the Golden State Warriors? It will happen eventually and that moment might be getting closer.

According to Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports, there is a “pretty strong” chance Green will be departing Golden State as he opts out of his contract this summer. The logic of one anonymous Western Conference executive, per Deveney, is that if the “writing is on the wall” as Green has been quoted as saying, perhaps moving him before he departs for nothing in free agency is the correct move.

Green is playing solid basketball for the Warriors this season, yet he still has pretty specific flaws. He remains an elite creator of offense among NBA bigs (97th and 100th percentiles in assist percentage and assist-to-usage ratio, respectively) but his turnover rate is an abysmal 21.9 percent. His rebounding has regressed compared to last season, but the Warriors’ defense is still significantly better (8.3 points per 100 possessions better) with him than without him.

That’s his best defensive rating since the 2015-16 season — the year when he finished second in Defensive Player of the Year voting to Kawhi Leonard.

Green continues to impact winning … but at what cost is that sustainable? Golden State seems to have already made their choice in this area — Jordan Poole received a large contract extension, not Green. Golden State has Kevon Looney, Jonathan Kuminga, and the theoretical James Wiseman in the wings to maintain the frontcourt for the Warriors at a lower cost, and if they choose to go small a Steph Curry/Jordan Poole/Klay Thompson/Andrew Wiggins/Looney starting five possesses a lot of offensive potential.

Those first four and Green have a plus-6 efficiency rating in 316 possessions played. While Looney of course is a different player, perhaps the logic behind a theoretical trade is that rating likely could be maintained with Kevon in — having a strong season in a larger role for the Warriors — and Draymond out.

The Curry/Thompson/Wiggins/Green/Looney lineup is among the best in the NBA at a whopping plus019.6 in 666 possessions together, so there is clearly a drop-off when the Warriors go small. But how much of that has to do with Green at the 5 as opposed to the 4? Is Jordan Poole to blame for those issues?

Whether it’s because of age or internal views of the matter, the Poole extension essentially answers who Golden State chooses … at least beyond this season.

What could the Warriors get for Draymond Green in a trade?

And yet, the question remains — does a Draymond deal now make sense? Is there a world where Draymond heads to Brooklyn to help old friend Kevin Durant win a title? Patty Mills, Joe Harris, and a first-round pick or two second-rounders perhaps get that deal done … and all of a sudden you have a Kyrie Irving/Ben Simmons/Kevin Durant/Draymond Green/Nic Claxton defensive monster, with the ability to rely less on Simmons or Claxton in late game situations if they start getting fouled due to poor free throw shooting.

Or do the Wizards make a surprise splash and add Green in exchange for the underperforming Will Barton and Monte Morris (plus a future first)? Washington is playing well of late, and has clear hopes of building around a Bradley Beal/Kyle Kuzma/Kristaps Porzingis “Big Three”. Adding Draymond to that mix at the 4 while Kuzma still can play on the perimeter as a 3, alongside Beal and an underrated Delon Wright in the backcourt, may make a run through the play-in in the Eastern Conference.

There are theoretical options — ones that don’t necessarily net Golden State tremendous upgrades, but some helpful veteran perimeter depth while also adding future draft capital. That would be greater than losing Green in free agency. But the fact remains that Draymond has been a significant part of the Warriors dynasty, and starting that run before absolutely necessary — or in the offseason when games aren’t being played — is a tremendous risk.

Draymond Green will likely remain a Warriors player for that reason, for now. But for the right price, the Draymond/Golden State relationship may end earlier than anticipated.

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