The Warriors are 2-1 since Draymond Green made his season debut. While the stats might not be overly impressive, Green's presence on the court, his communication, intensity, leadership and connection with Steph Curry have helped the Warriors start to discover who they truly can be this season.
While Green is invaluable to the Warriors, he's also one of the players most likely to get dealt if Golden State falters and chooses to try and lessen the luxury tax bill that comes at season's end. If Green does hit the trading block, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard reportedly has been pushing for the Blazers to acquire the three-time All-Star.
"If we were handicapping Draymond trade destinations if the Warriors decided to blow it up...that's the one. Damian and his group have for the last couple years been campaigning for that," The Athletic's Sam Amick said on The Athletic NBA Show podcast.
Green and Lillard are close friends, and the name of today's NBA game is stars wanting to play with their friends who also are stars. Couple that with the Blazers' need for defensive help in the frontcourt, and a Green trade would make sense for Rip City.
The Warriors' run to five straight NBA Finals might have been the hardest physically on Green, who was tasked with defending the opposing center on most nights.
Green is in the first year of a four-year, $99.6 million extension with the Warriors. After acquiring Kelly Oubre prior to the season, the Warriors' luxury tax bill is expected to be around $147 million as it stands right now. But that bill comes all at once after the season, so if the Warriors' season starts to nosedive, they could look to move off some contracts in order to lessen that bill.
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As for the Blazers, they are in need of a power forward with Zach Collins undergoing a second surgery on his ankle. Green would help them defensively and give them some size up front, where they currently are asking Carmelo Anthony and Robert Covington to shoulder a bulk of the power forward responsibilities.
Now, would Green be the contract the Warriors choose to dump if they want to offload money? Probably not. There's no doubt that owner Joe Lacob and president of basketball operations Bob Myers feel indebted to the championship core and would like Green, Curry and Klay Thompson to retire as Warriors.
But that's not always how things work in the NBA. If the Blazers feel like they are championship contenders and the Warriors fall out of the playoff picture, Green could be headed to the Rose City if the deal is right.