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The biggest chunk of offseason business for the Warriors was decided in the opening minutes of free agency. Draymond Green is returning on a four-year, $100 million deal first reported By our Shams Charaniya. The fourth year of the deal is a player option.
Why did this deal happen?
Both sides charged their own pound of flesh. Green was able to push the Warriors from three years to a four-year deal and get a final season as a player option. This is the final victory for him. He will have additional protection for the 2026-27 season, when he turns 37 and Steph Curry, under contract for only the next three seasons, turns 39.
But, in doing so, the Warriors were able to significantly reduce his 2023-24 salary. Green declined a player option for the following season worth $27.6 million. The first year of this four-year extension starts at $22.3 million, per league sources. That $5.3 million cut would actually result in roughly $43 million in tax savings for the Warriors front office and ownership group, who have long been concerned about how high this season’s bill could be.
That aspect was a negotiating victory for new general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. as he tries to steer around the luxury tax land mines heading his way next summer when the second apron penalty begins. Klay Thompson is on an expiring deal worth $43 million. Chris Paul’s $30 million contract next season is non-guaranteed. The Warriors have created a resilience they didn’t have a few weeks ago.
What is its immediate meaning for the warriors?
He still has a realistic path to return to title contention. Steve Kerr said this during his exit interview: No Draymond, no legitimate shot at the championship. Green retains the core of the dynasty in its waning days and strengthens the rotation next season: Curry, Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Green and Kevon Looney starters, Paul leading the second unit, Gary Payton II Wild As for Card, Moses Moody and Jonathan Kuminga are stepping up in more prominent roles. That’s a formidable group of nine individuals.
What will happen next?
They have three more positions to fill and only a minimum offer. Dario Saric is clearly the prime target and the Warriors are after him in the early hours of free agency. The Warriors front office is currently holding meetings in Los Angeles. As of this time, I’m told the Warriors are hopeful of signing Saric, but the deal is far from done. He checked the boxes extensively with the passing skills necessary to fit into Kerr’s motion offense, attempting to duplicate what Otto Porter Jr. had given this team two seasons earlier.
What is the second effect?
The most important person in the organization will be satisfied. Curry was apparently included in discussions last week to replace Paul with Jordan Poole and made it clear that he wanted Green to stay for the duration of Curry’s current contract. Curry even shouted “Three more years!” on the green during his TNT golf match on Thursday night.
Recently on Dunleavy, Currie said: “I’ve loved the conversations I’ve had with him so far, how committed and strong he is to his ideas. Now it’s about going and executing it. It will tell itself over time how we put it together for the bigger picture, chasing the championship now and trying to win now and the decisions that come along the way.
Are there any drawbacks?
It’s fair to wonder how old this green contract will be. It is likely that the Warriors will experience a steep decline over the next few seasons and face a long and difficult rebuild to claw their way back to relevance as they exit the Curry era. But Curry has outgrown his peak so gracefully and sustainably that he’s ultimately decided it’s time to maximize the present, even if it constrains the future more than he’d like.
Green’s return keeps the frontcourt crowded ahead of Kuminga, who will still have a difficult path to substantial playing time behind Green, Looney, Wiggins, Payton and perhaps Saric. But absences and injuries keep happening. Kuminga received a lot of playing time last regular season. His problems emerged in the playoffs, when he fell out of the rotation. The onus will be on Kuminga to show development, but the onus will also be on Kerr to give him more confidence and find better lineup combinations to unleash his talents.
(Top photo of Draymond Green: Jenn Tisca/Digital First Media/East Bay Times via Getty Images)