Over the last few years, the Warriors have signed players such as Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston to lucrative multi-year contracts, which allowed the franchise to retain their services down the road. That hasn’t been the case with Draymond Green, who has become one of the most versatile and durable players in the league. Even though he is now arguably the NBA’s best defender, he is still only 27 years old and should have several years left in the tank. What would it take to bring him back to the Bay Area and give the Warriors a chance at another big splash?
It’s been a wild ride since Draymond Green last suited up for the Golden State Warriors: The All-Star forward has dealt with a suspension, a trade demand, and a newly discovered condition. But now, after leading the rest of the Warriors to an NBA Finals victory against the Cleveland Cavaliers, Green could help bring another former All-Star to the Bay Area. According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Warriors could make a push to bring in Kevin Durant next summer. In the meantime, they may have another way to entice Durant. As Stein points out, Draymond Green could become a free agent next summer. The Warriors could offer Green a deal that would be worth $20 million annually, and Green could use that money toDraymond Green and the Golden State Warriors no longer play in the NBA Finals year after year, but this summer Green is still playing for a championship, an Olympic gold medal.
But while Green tries to keep up with guys like Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and other Team USA stars, he might use his time at the Olympics to bring another former All-Star to the Warriors: Kevin Love.
Love joined the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2014 to form the Big Three along with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. That led to four NBA Finals and a championship, but Irving and James left for other teams while Love has remained in Cleveland ever since.
Love signed a four-year, $120 million contract with the Cavs in 2018, the same summer that James left for the Lakers. However, he has barely been on the field since he signed and has missed 116 games over the past three seasons, Cleveland.com reports. Love appeared in just 25 games in the 2020-21 season and had the worst season of his career, averaging 12.2 points and fewer than 7.4 rebounds.
At this point, no one can accuse the Cavs of wanting to trade Love, but he has about $60 million left on his contract with two years to go. No team will want to take that contract, given his lack of productivity last season.
However, according to Rusty Simmons of the San Francisco Chronicle, there is a growing opinion in the league that the Cavs and Love will reach an agreement on an end to their contract. It is also reported that Love could join the suitors by signing a veteran minimum contract.
Of the teams thought to be options for Love? Warriors.
Draymond Green applauds after defeating Serbia at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics on 21. August 2016. | Elsa/Getty Images
Simmons said Golden State has shown interest in Love for years. Now Green, who has been successfully recruited by the team in the past, could try to bring Love to the Warriors as he heads to the Tokyo Olympics.
Love, who once played for the Warriors and played in four consecutive NBA Finals against the Cavs, seems to like the idea of playing with Green.
Obviously, Draymond and I have a love-hate relationship, but we’ve become pretty good friends in recent years, Love said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. I love the way he competes, his intelligence, his intrinsic qualities and the way he manages the game offensively. He passes the ball, defends, and always seems to be in the right place.
Love continued: He’s one of the best defenders out there and he wasn’t named defender of the year for nothing, so I think we can improve each other’s game.
Of course, Love is talking about Team USA. The NBA would probably punish him if he talked specifically about the Warriors. But that sounds like a guy who wants to play with Green, and the fact that he spends so much time with Love could give Green a chance to lure the five-time All-Star to the Bay Area. Both players used their time on the U.S. team at last year’s Olympics to discuss the possibility of working together, so it’s reasonable to think Green could do the same.
But the Warriors star could have some competition. Simmons said Kevin Durant and Love will be roommates during the Olympics. Brian Lewis of the New York Post also reported that Love could be a top target for the Brooklyn Nets if the Cavs buy out his contract. So it’s likely that Durant is having the same conversations with Love.
But if he joins Golden State, Love could give the Warriors what they need to reach the NBA Finals again.
The Warriors lost a play-in game and didn’t make the playoffs in 2020-21, but they should have Klay Thompson back next year and could be the favorites to win the Western Conference crown, especially with a guy like Love.
Love will provide the Warriors with a great rebounder; he ranks sixth among active career players with 8,130 rebounds. Last season, Golden State ranked 22nd in the league in rebounds per game, averaging 43.0, and only one player grabbed seven or more rebounds, and that was Green. Therefore, Love’s ball handling skills are welcome.
Love would also fit into their schedule. He’s a big man who can stretch the floor and make three-pointers, as his career percentage for three-pointers is 37%. His three-point shooting, along with that of Thompson and Stephen Curry, could be a threat to opposing teams.
As long as Thompson is healthy, many are already expecting the Warriors to be contenders next year. Love can solidify that position, and he may also know better ways to beat LeBron James, assuming the Los Angeles Lakers remain a contender in the Western Conference next season.
Draymond Green could leave Tokyo with a gold medal this summer. But he can come back with much more.
Statistics provided by Basketball Reference
COMPARED TO: Draymond Green called some of his biggest critics stupid in atirade
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