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After A Whole Three Weeks Of Counseling, Draymond Green Returns To The Warriors

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 07: Draymond Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors looks on from the bench during the game against the Toronto Raptors at Chase Center on January 07, 2024 in San Francisco, California. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images)
Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Draymond Green has concluded what was ultimately a 12-game suspension for clipping Jusuf Nurkic in the face in December, and the media rollout has begun. It's a little more calculated than the weird minidoc TNT aired after he punched his teammate. In the first new episode of his podcast since July 2023, Green claimed that NBA commissioner Adam Silver convinced him not to quit playing basketball.

"I told him, 'Adam, this is too much for me. This is too much. It's all becoming too much for me—and I'm going to retire,'" Green said on The Draymond Green Show. "And Adam said, 'You're making a very rash decision and I won't let you do that.'" He continued to gush about how much he respected Silver and the league's officials, and if you find anything cynical about the most suspended man in the league trying to butter up the league office before he once again hurts someone on the court, well, you don't have enough faith in the three weeks of therapy he did.

"We had a long, great conversation—very helpful to me," Green said. "Very thankful to play in a league with a commissioner like Adam who's more about helping you than hurting you, helping you than punishing you. He's more about the players."

Green is coming back to the Warriors at a really funny moment. Through three quarters of last week's Nuggets-Warriors matchup, it seemed like Golden State has started to turn a corner. Brandin Podziemski was flying around and hitting threes, while Jonathan Kuminga put together the most normal two-week stretch of his career and Trayce Jackson-Davis showed how much better the Warriors' offense could be with a skilled center in the mix. Meanwhile, Klay Thompson was finally saying the right things about accepting the last phase of his career. As the fourth quarter began, it felt like head coach Steve Kerr had finally aligned his misshapen team. The only question was how Green could help.

Instead, it turned out to be the most heinous collapse in a season defined by heinous collapses. The Warriors scored four points in the final seven minutes, with Steph Curry throwing a completely inexplicable pass to set up that ridiculous Nikola Jokic buzzer-beater. The next day, Kuminga's people put the word out to Shams Charania that he was fed up with his usage, or, in the original Shamsese, "an erosion of trust from player to coach is apparent, a decaying partnership for two men in Kuminga and Kerr whom Golden State needs to co-exist for the future." Moses Moody joined the zoomer revolt and made his frustrations known after two straight DNPs. Though the Warriors squeaked by the atrocity that is the Detroit Pistons, Chris Paul broke his hand again.

This past Saturday, the NBA announced that Green had been reinstated. As the team went 7-5 in the 12 games he missed, Green participated in Zoom sessions with his agent, Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr., and people from the NBA. Apparently, the conclusion was that he was normal again. As the league put it, Green "demonstrated his commitment to conforming his conduct to standards expected of NBA players." He returned to the Warriors bench on Sunday, right on time to watch Curry go 0-for-9 from three as home fans booed their soggy team in a 133-118 loss to the Toronto Raptors.

The Warriors are 17-19 and 11th in the West. Gary Payton II, the team's most competent defender, is hurt again. Andrew Wiggins continues to look bad and lost. No matter how deeply Green and Steve Kerr bonded while supposedly weeping in Green's yard last month, the coach is flailing for solutions and alienating his younger players in the process. It's difficult to see how Green's return fixes any of this; it's easier to imagine how he'll make it worse.

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