On the heels of an NBA title in June, the Warriors have had a training camp so tumultuous that it should draw comparisons to the Kobe-Shaq Lakers. Insults and fists have flown with Draymond Green being the primary guilty party after punching teammate Jordan Poole during a practice.
The fallout saw Green apologize to the Poole, his family and the team before addressing the media and announcing his intention to step away from the team indefinitely. Naturally, given the nature of the incident and Green’s contract status as an expiring deal, his future with the Warriors has become the topic of much discussion, internally and externally around the franchise.
For example, on Monday, Stephen A. Smith of ESPN (kind of?) reported that Draymond was eyeing the Lakers as a potential landing spot should he be forced out of Golden State.
"Draymond Green is expecting this to be his last year in Golden State. Now, he wanna be a Laker. He ain't gonna tell anybody that, but don't think I don't know. He'd prefer to be a Laker if he gotta leave Golden State."— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) October 10, 2022
Outside of SAS’s “Trust me, bro” reporting, here, there are plenty of connections that could make this a realistic possibility. Draymond is both a Klutch client and friends with LeBron James, Rich Paul and Anthony Davis, three of the most powerful people around the Lakers.
The Lakers also have an albatross of a contract in Russell Westbrook’s that could easily be moved for Draymond’s $25 million deal. It wouldn’t be a move that would work straight up because the Warriors would have no interest in Russ as either a player or a salary on the books. However, would a deal centered around someone like Gordon Hayward or Julius Randle, two high-priced players, intrigue Golden State more in a 3-team deal?
Even if the Lakers and Warriors couldn’t work out a trade, Green has a player option for next season and is likely going to opt out. The possibility exists that the Lakers simply do nothing with Russ this season and head into the summer with some cap space to sign Draymond outright.
Draymond’s situation in Golden State was already going to be a precarious one. His value to their franchise was far greater than that of any other franchise. But given this incident now with Poole, his value even within the Warriors has taken a drastic hit. Could this be the end of his time in Golden State? Even if he’s dealt elsewhere, are his eyes going to be set on Los Angeles?
Do the Lakers have their eyes set on Green? He would make sense in a number of ways for a LeBron-AD team. He could slot into the frontcourt along the pairing seamlessly. He could be a ball-handler that LeBron always wants so he can play off the ball. While Green is physically diminishing, his IQ will always remain elite, allowing him to remain competitive.
For now, all of this is simply conjecture and guessing until something more concrete comes about. But it’s not hard to connect dots if they start appearing that end with Draymond Green in purple and gold.