Two months ago, when the Golden State Warriors were playing the Sacramento Kings in the first round of the playoffs, Draymond Green's future with the franchise was considered up in the air. He could hit free agency after the season was over and his evisceration of Domantas Sabonis' chest made many pundits publicly question whether the Warriors really wanted him back. At that time, we here at The Big Lead pondered where Green might end up should he leave the Warriors.
Golden State would go on to defeat the Kings even after Green got suspended for the stomp but fell to the Los Angeles Lakers in the following round. Now Green has officially opted out of his contract and will become an unrestricted free agent.
That makes it a good time to once again project some free agency destinations for Green. There remains a strong possibility he stays with the Warriors, but here are a few potential alternatives if he does not.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers remain a strong contender for Green. His presence would help Anthony Davis take it easy during the regular season on the defensive end and their pairing would make life hell for the offense when they're both on. Green is notoriously very good friends with LeBron James and as such may be open to taking a slight discount in order to play with his pal in one of the media capitals of the country. This Los Angeles squad probably sits a tier below the Warriors on the contention scale but Green already has a lot of rings. He won't play for a tanking team but it doesn't feel like he wants to take the minimum for an automatic Finals berth, either.
The downsides for the Lakers are pretty bad, though. The spacing was already cramped last season and would get much worse with Green out there. Part of the reason Davis was so good in the playoffs was because he didn't space the court. He dominated in the paint. Conversely, Green was only effective on the offensive end for the Warriors because everyone else spaced the floor. He survived alongside Kevon Looney but they weren't the best minutes. And in order to pay Green enough to convince him to join, the Lakers would need to ditch their deadline acquisitions that helped, in part, to space the floor. So if L.A. wants to go all-in on star power again, this is the only move to make. If not, it would be hard to make it work from a basketball standpoint.
Will Bill Simmons prove prophetic? Back in March he said LeBron James would end up on the Mavericks alongside Luka Doncic, Kyrie Irving, and... Draymond Green! Now, it seems supremely unlikely LeBron ends up in Texas, but the other three could still team up. The most recent news suggests no other team is interested in Irving other than the Mavs and Doncic is in the middle of a supermax deal. As far as trios go, Green-Doncic-Irving is actually pretty good. Green helps cover for the significant defensive shortcomings of his running mates, Irving gets a bucket whenever required, and Doncic is the center of the ecosystem.
It's just going to be hard for Dallas to pull off signing both Green and Irving without some sign-and-trade help. The Warriors are probably going to be hard-pressed to chip in there, but it could happen. If it did, then the Mavs would be forced to compete with the Suns for veteran minimum guys to fill out the roster. The fact that collaboration is required makes this less likely than the Lakers' scenario but one cannot rule Mark Cuban out.
'Undisputed' Across From Skip Bayless
This would be an incredible twist of fate. Green, deciding he's done with basketball, immediately enters the media space after years of trial runs with TNT and the launch of his own podcast. Fox Sports offers him an astounding sum of money. He ends up debating Skip Bayless. I want it. I need it like I need air. I need to see Green blow a gasket at the merest mention of an anti-LeBron comment. I need Skip to face the music for all the Draymond Green segments he's hosted over the years. God, it would be tremendous.
It obviously won't happen, even if Green did suddenly retire and start his second career posthaste. But imagine if it did?
Fifth Chair on 'Inside The NBA'
Now, if Green did hang them up, this is where he'd go. As previously mentioned he's appeared on a few broadcasts in a suit and everything over the last few years. He seems to have good chemistry with the crew, definitely has the propensity for hot takes, and can even be cranky with Shaq and Chuck about the death of the big man. The only issue, of course, is that there's only room for four right now and nobody seems to be on their way out.
The solution-- add a fifth chair. In theory Green could provide more of the analysis Kenny Smith brings to the table while still being able to chop it up with the rest of the gang and create goofy viral moments that make the show famous. Both this and the Undisputed option are probably more fun than watching him step on people again so we're rooting for the media angle.