The Golden State Warriors dynasty is not dead. Not by a long shot. It just might look a lot different two years from now than it does today.
There’s the very real possibility that Kevin Durant will walk at the end of this season but Klay Thompson is expected to re-sign. But could the Warriors pivot toward a future that includes both DeMarcus Cousins and his former Pelicans teammate Anthony Davis? The Davis to the Warriors chatter is still out there, but Golden State would need to start shuffling the chairs on the deck now. That would include trading Draymond Green soon. Green is putting up his worst numbers since 2014 this season and had his much-publicized spat with Durant a few months back.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Joe House discussed Green’s dramatic drop-off and his future recently.
Simmons: This is not a slump and this is not an effort thing. The guy can’t shoot anymore. He can’t shoot and it started last year. Teams were like, please shoot the 3 and he made a couple in the playoffs. That was part of Houston’s strategy playing Golden State. Please shoot Draymond. And now it’s to the point that they’re playing 4-on-5 offensively He’s $17.5, next year $18.5.
He had the huge thing with Kevin Durant that was really bad. If Durant ends up leaving [partly because of that situation] I wouldn’t be surprised. It went well beyond the typical teammates stuff and this is a marriage stuff. It seemed a little darker than that. I don’t know what kind of trade value he would have.
House: He’s the defensive quarterback. He’s a defensive specialist now. How does that translate come playoff time? He only really needs to be a medium-level threat from 3 offensively. He needs to be able to stand at the free throw line and pass the ball and knock down maybe 1-of-3 three-pointers.
Simmons: But he can’t do that anymore.
House: Well that’s the difference if Golden State wins the championship again. But the defensive part is what distinguishes him and whether or not he’s healthy.
A change in scenery might be what Green needs most at this stage of his career. He’s just 28-years-old and he should be entering his prime. But injuries and some bumps in the road while adapting to the style of play Durant uses has given him some hiccups of late.
Green would benefit any playoff team looking to take the next step in their championship journey.
The Celtics are a team that immediately comes to mind as Boston is looking like a team that needs new energy in its locker room. Kyrie Irving has openly voiced a need for another veteran presence in the Celtics locker room and Green would give them more championship-level experience. Despite Green’s feud with Durant this season, he has been the straw that stirs the Warriors’ unique drink these past few years.
While the Nuggets are already power forward heavy with Paul Millsap, Juan Hernangomez and Mason Plumlee running alongside Nikola Jokic – adding Green would give them a much-needed toughness and energy that they could use when going up against the West’s big boys (including Golden State).
The Sixers are another team that could use Green to propel them into a bon a fide NBA title contender. With Jimmy Butler and Green, the Sixers would be viewed as one of the tougher teams in the league. The Warriors are also interested in reclamation projects (think Shaun Livingston) and a trade involving Markelle Fultz would make some sense from the Golden State point of view.
The risk that the Warriors run here is that they would be trading Green to places that could come back to burn them immediately. But make no mistake, these are the teams that will be in the mix for Green’s services as teams in the bottom half of the league would not want to take on Green’s contract for the next two years. He’s very much a Robert Horry, “last piece of the puzzle” player that will be seen on contending teams for the rest of his career.