LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Golden State Warriors believe Draymond Green needs help to curb his long history of rough play, and general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. is hopeful an indefinite suspension provides enough time for their star forward to make real progress.
Dunleavy said Thursday that the team is satisfied with the NBA’s latest punishment for Green, the four-time NBA champion who was indefinitely banned Wednesday after hitting Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic in the face. The suspension was the sixth of Green’s career and his fourth in 2023.
“I think this is something that a lot of people may see as a problem, but we’re looking to turn it into a positive,” Dunleavy said on the UCLA campus during the Warriors’ morning shootaround before their game against the Clippers.
“(Green is at) a point in his career and his life where we want to get some things straightened out, and maybe sometimes you need a jolt like that. But I think it’s been very positive, very open, and (we’re) extremely optimistic that we can get to where we need to go.”
Dunleavy repeatedly said the Warriors will “help” Green during his absence, but didn’t specify the nature of that aid. Green will be around the Warriors extensively during his suspension, although he can’t be with the team on game nights.
“The thought process is there’s a lot of ways you can go about this, but for now, we think the healthiest thing is for him to be around,” Dunleavy said. “It may not be every single day, but we’re not jettisoning the guy off somewhere.”
Dunleavy also unambiguously confirmed the Warriors are committed to the 33-year-old Green, who is in the first season of a four-year, $100 million contract extension. Although Dunleavy pointedly said Golden State’s starting lineup hasn’t played well enough during the team’s 10-13 start, he praised the play of Stephen Curry and Green.
“He’s been here for a long time,” Dunleavy said of Green. “He’s hung a ton of banners and means so much to this organization. I think this is about turning this thing into a positive and getting better. I think that happens, and we feel really good. Like I said, his play has been terrific. It’s just his lack of availability that’s not been great, and we want to make that better.”
Dunleavy said Green and the Warriors had discussions with the NBA about the nature of the suspension before it was announced this week, and all parties agreed on a truly indefinite suspension. Dunleavy said there are no guaranteed parameters on the ban’s length.
Dunleavy also said he thinks it’s reasonable to hold Green to a higher standard after his history of misbehavior, including the bizarre headlock he placed on Minnesota’s Rudy Gobert during a skirmish last month, leading to a five-game ban.
The Warriors have lost 11 of 15 heading into their meeting with the surging Clippers, and Dunleavy indicated that the team’s next 15 to 20 games will play a major role in deciding whether Golden State needs to make big roster moves.
Entering Thursday, not only would Golden State — a winner of four NBA titles in the last nine years and a team that was widely expected to contend for one this season — not be in the playoffs, but the Warriors wouldn’t even qualify for the play-in tournament.
“We’re going to try to fill that gap up until he returns,” said Warriors forward Jonathan Kuminga, whose minutes are likely to rise in Green’s absence. “But throughout this time, we’re all supporting Draymond. We’re all communicating. We’re all helping him. We’re just going through this moment. Whatever is going to happen is going to happen, but we’re always going to stay professional and just try our best to help our team win in the meantime waiting for Draymond to be back.”
AP Basketball Writer Tim Reynolds contributed to this report.
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