Bob Myers’ smile, genuine and confident, said more than his words. But he came out and told several hundred thousand people at the championship parade rally that there was no need to worry, because Draymond Green wasn’t going anywhere.
And he isn’t.
Green, 25, reportedly re-upped with the Warriors on a five-year, $82 million deal. So the report from earlier today — that talks had supposedly broken off between Green in the Warriors, while free agents throughout the league were agreeing to huge deals left and right — caused less than a day’s worth of consternation. The “heartbeat” of the Warriors will be with the team throughout the prime of his career, barring a trade.
Green announced the pact and his reasons for re-signing, and thanked everyone along the way, in a sponsored video for Bleacher Report.
It was a no-brainer for both sides, and Green’s restricted status meant the Warriors had some advantages here. Other teams knew the Warriors would probably match any offer, even if they offered a max contract: four years, $69.2 million. The Warriors could always offer another year and more money: a five-year, $93.1 million max.
Whether or not Green was a “max player” bounced around comment sections and Twitter timelines throughout the season, pretty much from the moment everyone realized David Lee wasn’t getting his starting spot back. Green’s new deal comes close, but it’s not quite the max. Also, Green could’ve aimed for a shorter deal to take advantage of what could potentially be a much, much different salary structure with all of the national TV money coming in and team caps rising drastically.
So why did Green end up with an offer that was about $11 million short of that max?
Clearly the Warriors had leverage. Green could play the market, but a lot of teams were focused on unrestricted free agent power forwards like LaMarcus Aldridge and Paul Millsap. David West is still out there, after opting out of his deal with Indiana. West’s reasoning was a bit of an insult to Larry Bird and the Pacers — he said he didn’t believe they were a true championship contender. As Zach Lowe points out, not many championship contenders have the need AND cap space to add West.
Most of the top teams would rather have Green anyway, since he’s younger, a better defender, and more aptly fits the new prototype for NBA power forwards. And the market is INSANE. Marcus Thompson reports that Tristan Thompson’s contract with the Cavs (five years, $80 million) “changed some things.” But the Warriors were offering long-term security to Green, a player who was able to cash out immediately after serving as one of the best players on a championship team. Once Myers and Co. bumped the overall package a couple million higher than Thompson’s (Tristan, not Marcus), “Money” Green was officially back in the fold.
It’s no surprise that this got done relatively quickly. On one side, this Warriors regime has a plan, and it’s both logical and long-term. On the other, Green’s personality and game are both fueled by winning. He wouldn’t fit nearly as well with a team like the one he grew up watching, the Detroit Pistons, who’d need Green to become at least a No. 2 offensive option for a max deal to make sense. And who wants all that extra work, when you can roll with a franchise that’s on top of the world (young core, surging in popularity), with a guy in Stephen Curry who makes everyone’s lives so much easier on offense, and play with guys who allow Green to lead in his own, unique style while sharing his passion for teamwork, selflessness, heart, and defense.
Green isn’t dumb — winning a title creates extra financial opportunities in the form of endorsements that starters on losing teams don’t enjoy. Green already has a Beats commercial, and he mentioned how the Warriors could win a few more championships on that sponsored video mentioned earlier in this story.
Things just keep getting better for the Warriors. First, Green’s deal even gives them a bit of a break early on.
Here are the actual salaries: $14.26M/ $15.33M/ $16.4M/ $17.47M/ $18.54M…. $82M total.
— Tim Kawakami (@timkawakami) July 2, 2015
While the rest of the league looked frantic all day, the Warriors wrapped up their most important bit of business in time for dinner. Now all that’s left is to unload David Lee’s salary to keep their tax payment somewhat reasonable, perhaps add a veteran shooter with the taxpayer mid-level (about $3.4 million per year), and possibly work out an extension with Harrison Barnes if things get slow around the office.
Yes, the Warriors will pay the luxury tax for the first time. But they made about $10 million in gate receipts for each home Finals game. The league takes away half, but imagine how much they made throughout the playoffs (11 home games). There are several advantages to finishing with the league’s best record, it would appear. Green helped get them there, and now he and his employer (and Warriors fans) are reaping the benefits.