Early last season, Draymond Green was forced to leave a game against the Orlando Magic with an injury to his thumb. Bob Myers accompanied Draymond for an x-ray, and the Warriors general manager told the young forward he hoped everything was going to be okay.
Draymond told him he was going back in the game. Myers asked what if his thumb was broken? Draymond said:
“Doesn’t matter, I’m going back in the game.”
Myers recalled this moment on Thursday at a press conference announcing the official re-signing of Green to a five-year, $82 million dollar deal:
“That’s why you pay guys.”
Myers believes that mentality played a huge part not only in Warriors success this season, but the success of every team Green has been a part of:
“Draymond through his entire life, whatever it has taken, whatever situation he’s been confronted by, has won. And it doesn’t matter where he was, what position he played, his teams won. And that’s not a coincidence.”
Green, 25, has appeared in 240 of the Warriors’ 246 regular-season games since he was drafted 35th overall in 2012. Green started all 79 games he played in last season after starting a combined 13 times in the previous two, mostly as a fill in for injuries.
Green averaged career highs of 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists, was named to the All-NBA Defensive First Team and was the runner-up for Defensive Player of the Year in 2014-15.
The Michigan State alum said he bounced around his hotel room when he got off the phone after hearing Myers contract offer, but said the feeling wasn’t even close to how great it felt to win the organization’s first title in four decades. Nor does Green feel the contract proves anything about him as a player:
“I don’t necessarily feel this deal validates me, ‘cause I don’t play for money. I play basketball, because I love the game of basketball. It’s what I’ve loved since I was two years old. No money is gonna make me feel validated, or like I belong, ‘cause I signed a contract.”
“Don’t tell Bob … I’d play for free.”
The contract once again gives the Warriors five players making eight-figure salaries worth a combined $65 million. Golden State gave themselves a much-needed cushion by moving David Lee’s $15 million contract before the salary cap jumps to a record $70 million for next season.
Green became a restricted free agent this offseason, but wrapped up a deal quickly with the Warriors without receiving an official offer from another team. The re-signing of Green keeps together the entire starting lineup from last season’s NBA champions and ensures that Draymond, along with Klay Thompson, will be with the Warriors when they open their new area in San Francisco, planned for 2018. That’s something Green is happy about:
“This is home for me. I came here three years ago, not really knowing what to expect. Home sick, had never been away from Michigan. I’ve adapted and this has become home for me. At no point did I feel I was ready to leave this organization.”