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Report: NBA won’t force Draymond Green to miss celebration if Warriors win

2015 NBA Finals - Game Six

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 16: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors celebrates their win over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game Six of the 2015 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 16, 2015 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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Draymond Green is looking for a way to attend Game 5 tonight despite being suspended.

The NBA is seeking something similar.

Ken Berger of

The relevant rule:
If a player, coach or assistant coach is suspended from a game or games, he shall not at any time before, during or after such game or games appear in any part of the arena or stands where his team is playing. A player, coach or assistant coach who is ejected may only remain in the dressing room of his team during the remainder of the game, or leave the building. A violation of this rule shall call for an automatic fine of $2000.

Other rules could come into play, though. What if Green attends the game planning to pay the $2,000 fine? Would the NBA just allow him to sit on the bench for the entire game, or might the league tell him to leave? And if he’s told to leave, would he breaking another rule and subject to more punishment?

c. Any club personnel not seated on the bench must conduct themselves in a manner that would reflect favorably on the dignity of the game and the officials. Violations by any of the personnel indicated shall require a written report to the League Office for subsequent action.

d. The bench shall be occupied only by a league-approved head coach, a maximum of three assistant coaches, players and trainer.

If he’s not on the bench, C would apply. A player explicitly banned from the arena going to the arena probably isn’t conducting himself in a manner that would reflect favorably on the dignity of the game and the officials.

If he’s on the bench, D would apply. “League-approved” is a dangling modifier, but if refers to players, Green certainly isn’t league-approved tonight.

So, if he breaks the rules by attending and an official ejects him, then what?

A player, coach or assistant coach, upon being notified by an official that he has been ejected from the game, must leave the playing area IMMEDIATELY and remain in the dressing room of his team during such suspension until completion of the game or leave the building. Violation of this rule shall call for an automatic fine. A fine not to exceed $50,000 and possible forfeiture of the game may be imposed for any violation of this rule.

The larger fine becomes more problematic, but “forfeiture” is the big word. The Warriors obviously don’t want to mess around with that.

My three-step plan for how the NBA should handle this:

1. Quietly encourage Green to attend the game.

Assure him he wouldn’t be asked to leave or face additional punishment beyond a $2,000 fine. Avoid the awkwardness of a potential Finals MVP missing the ceremony, and don’t rob a player of the opportunity to celebrate a championship.

2. Fine Green $2,000.

It’d be good for his image – especially if the Warriors win. He sells himself as Golden State’s emotional leader, and he can contribute without playing. He’s also developing an image as someone who pushes the line. This is all marketable. He can sell himself as too passionate for the NBA’s sensibilities the same way the league fining Michael Jordan for wearing banned Air Jordans boosted his popularity.

The league shouldn’t give Green any special treatment, and it’d be better for both sides to avoid it. I don’t know when “after” a game ends, but I’m confident that a suspended player entering the locker room before his teammates left after a game – let alone going on the court before it’s vacated – would violate this rule in the regular season. Don’t excuse Green just because Golden State won a championship. The rule isn’t dependent on game importance.

3. Re-write the rule with more clarity this offseason.

Define what “after” means. Include any desired exceptions. Maybe even lift the ban on suspending players being at the arena all together. Is it really harmful for suspended players to cheer on their teammates in person?