Draymond Green is one of the most accomplished players in the NBA, having won 4 NBA championships with the Golden State Warriors. A player that is often underrated due to his inconsistent offensive game and a rather unattractive style of play, Green has a Hall of Fame resume that includes 4 All-Star appearances, 7 All-Defensive Team appearances, and a Defensive Player of the Year award. While Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and even Kevin Durant get the most credit for Golden State’s successes, Green deserves just as much credit because, without him, the team would not have won 4 titles.
Green’s versatility as a defender and leadership for the team proved to be invaluable because when the forward has played, the Warriors have looked unstoppable. On the flip side, when Green did not play, as seen in the 2016 NBA Finals when he was suspended for a pivotal Game 5, the Warriors have been a shell of themselves. Not having Green on the floor ultimately meant the Warriors lost Game 5 in the 2016 Finas and would lose the series despite being up 3-1. No doubt, Draymond is one of the most pivotal players in Golden State’s history because his presence has ultimately given the franchise 4 more championships since 2015. But the future Hall of Fame forward is in the news after he reportedly wants a max deal or a contract close to a max deal. Even if Green is 32 years old and clearly declining, he feels he can still produce at an All-Star level, particularly defensively.
The Warriors are also in a tight position because they won’t be able to hand out a max contract to every key player on the roster, including Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole, and Draymond Green. Assuming Golden State wants to go younger and dedicate their future to Wiggins and/or Poole while letting Green go, the 4-time NBA champion could be looking for greener pastures (in the form of major money). It is likely Golden State would prefer to not pay Green a max contract because he averaged 7.5 PPG in only 44 games in the regular season and only 8.0 PPG in the postseason. He is still an elite defender with championship success, but it is obvious the player is slowly on the decline. If Green does leave the Warriors, there are some teams that he would fit right in with. Without further ado, here are the five best destinations for 4-time NBA champion Draymond Green, where he can reject a player option and sign a max (or close to max) deal to solidify his financial future once and for all.
The Dallas Mavericks improved with Christian Wood coming on board, but should they stop there? The answer is no. In fact, adding Draymond Green to the frontcourt would make Dallas particularly scary because the Mavericks would have one of the best duos in the frontcourt alongside superstar Luka Doncic. Luka is not known for his defense, and he could use some help in that sense. Surrounding Luka with a tough-minded defender and vocal leader could do wonders for the Mavericks’ future, as they can start building an identity beyond being a one-man team. Considering Luka is only 23 years old, he could sure use some championship experience around him after making the Western Conference Finals last year. Draymond won’t be needed to score a lot of points, but he will be useful when it comes to playing defense and even acting as a playmaker.
Dallas is onto something with Luka, Wood, Dinwiddie, and Finney-Smith proving to be valuable pieces, but they also have a ton of dead weight. Tim Hardaway Jr. is making over $16 million a season until the 2025 season and so is Davis Bertans (player option in 2025). It is likely Dallas will re-sign Christian Wood and if they can move on from Hardaway and/or Bertans, they will have plenty of room to sign Green to a max deal. A Big Three of Doncic, Wood, and Green with Dinwiddie and Finney-Smith playing roles could take Dallas to one of the top-3 seeds in the Western Conference consistently.
Dallas finished 4th in the West with Doncic and Jalen Brunson leading the way, so imagine what they can do with a 4-time NBA champion. The Slovenian has been thrust into a leadership role at a young age, and he could use some help to prevent him from undergoing burnout. Doncic is one of the best offensive players in the game, and Draymond’s presence can take him to the next level. Draymond won’t mind playing with a contender as well, especially if it means teaming up with another top-5 player in the game.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers need help wherever they can get it. Perhaps most of all, they need defenders because they could not defend even the worst teams in the NBA last year. The Lakers finished with a ridiculous 33-49 record. Nobody could have foreseen such terrible play at the beginning of the year, especially with the 11th seed in the West. Not to mention, the Lakers were ranked 21st in defensive rating and 28th in OPPG, which is evidence that they were unable to defend the perimeter and the post. One of the most versatile defenders of all time, Green, would be a massive addition to a title-contending Lakers team.
How would a team with LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Draymond Green fare on the court? Quite well. Green and Davis would be very difficult to score on, even if the former is aging, and the latter is often injured. With LeBron pulling the strings alongside two All-Star players and benefitting from more leadership presence, Los Angeles would start scaring teams once again. Obviously, the Lakers cannot simply add Draymond Green because LeBron and Davis are making max money already. But they can get creative, making everyone tradeable including Russell Westbrook, two first-round picks, and anyone else.
The Lakers will have a ton of cap space in 2024 because Westbrook will be off the books and nearly everyone except LeBron and Davis are on one-year contracts. They can engage in a trade with other teams to move on from Westbrook to make room for Green in a sign-and-trade, or wait until free agency to make a move for LeBron’s former rival and current friend. Seeing James team up with Draymond would be amazing to watch, mainly because they had major issues on the court which resulted in the Warriors’ star being suspended in Game 5 of the 2016 NBA Finals. But LeBron is not one to hold grudges, and having Draymond by his side could work to his benefit.
Miami came close to making the 2022 NBA Finals, yet people seem to write them off next season. They were a Jimmy Butler three-point shot away from making the Finals for the second time in Butler’s era, in what would have been an amazing accomplishment. But their core is well intact again next year, with Butler leading the charge alongside Bam Adebayo, Tyler Herro, and Kyle Lowry under head coach Erik Spoelstra. But imagine that core would be changed a bit to welcome in a 4-time NBA champion? Draymond might be what the Heat always needed to reach the next level.
Bam Adebayo is a tremendous defensive player at 6’9” and 255 lbs, but he is slightly undersized and often needs help to fortify the paint. Green is not a big man per se, but he is capable of defending the rim and bothering opposing players on the court and will form the best defensive frontcourt duo in the league. Draymond can also lead the charge on offense in terms of playmaking, making others around him better. Miami will need to get creative, moving on from Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson to make room for Green.
A trio of Butler, Adebayo, and Green would be amazing to watch together because it will be very hard to score against them. Not to mention, Draymond fits perfectly in Miami’s system because he plays hard, has aggression, and takes a no-nonsense approach to win championships. With Tyler Herro likely remaining with the franchise full-time, Miami could have a Big Four if they create enough cap space. The Heat made the Finals in 2020 and came close in 2022, so Draymond Green would do nothing but take the team to another level.
New York Knicks
The New York Knicks need star players, and they got somewhat close to signing Jalen Brunson to a long-term deal worth $100 million. Brunson is not an All-Star, but he is a good starting point for a franchise that needs more talent. RJ Barrett can become an All-Star one day if he continues his improvement, and Julius Randle was only two years removed from an All-NBA selection. If the Knicks can keep Brunson, Barrett, and Randle while adding Draymond Green, the Knicks will finally look intimidating.
The Knicks can get creative with their cap space by moving Evan Fournier, a player who is making at least $18 million per year until the 2024 season. He has a team option in 2025, and the Knicks won’t be interested in picking that up if he is on the roster that long. Otherwise, New York can move on from Mitchell Robinson to make room for Draymond, and potentially include youngsters in Immanuel Quickley and Obi Toppin in any deals. No matter what the deal is, New York needs to acquire a star, and a proven winner in Draymond Green is the perfect player.
Jalen Brunson alone won’t be enough to make the Knicks a contender, because the team needs more experienced winners to help the likes of Barrett and Randle also reach new levels. Draymond Green would become one of the team’s best playmakers and easily the best defender on the team and would assume the same role as he had with the Golden State Warriors in terms of being a vocal leader. The Knicks love toughness and no-nonsense players, and Green could appease fans just enough for the team to continue building championship status.
Out of all the teams most likely to acquire Draymond Green, the Detroit Pistons stand out most. The Pistons are an intriguing team in the Eastern Conference because they have a former No. 1 overall pick in Cade Cunningham in the ranks who is coming into his own as an excellent all-around player. Perhaps most importantly, Green seems to be interested in the Detroit Pistons as a franchise. NBA insider Sean Deveney stated clearly how Green is very fond of the Pistons franchise:
“Draymond has always wanted to go there, he has always wanted to play for the Pistons. And they’ll have the cap space. It’s hard to see Draymond playing anywhere else outside Golden State but if it going to happen anywhere, Detroit would be a good bet,” the executive told Deveney.
According to Deveney, The Pistons reciprocate the same interest because they wanted Draymond Green all the way back in the 2012 NBA Draft:
“Detroit has always wanted Draymond on that team, (owner Tom) Gores has always wished they had gotten him in that (2012) draft in the second round (Green was gone when the Pistons picked, and they took Khris Middleton),” the executive explained to Deveney. Gores is a Michigan State guy, and they wanted to give Draymond an offer sheet when he was a free agent (in 2015), but by then, the Warriors were going to match any offer. So they just have not had the chance. If they can show some improvement this year with their young guys, they could get themselves in the mix.”
Young players like Cade Cunningham, Saddiq Bey, Killian Hayes, and others who are prepared to make a splash in the NBA make up the Pistons' intriguing core for the future. It's possible that Green can help them advance, but it's too soon to determine whether the player would consider leaving the Warriors for a team that is in clear rebuilding mode. But Green might want a different challenge while also playing for a franchise that the player is particularly fond of. That challenge could come in leading a pack of youngsters to a higher level and potentially into the playoffs. Winning rings is most important to Green, but leading a young squad into the postseason could be just as fulfilling.
Overall, the fact that there are rumors of Green joining the Pistons with the franchise interested in the 4-time NBA champion is enough to place Detroit on top of the list of destinations. Again, we do not know for sure if Green would ever consider joining the Pistons for more money rather than staying with a competitive Golden State Warriors team, but stranger things have happened in the NBA in recent years. If the Pistons want to develop their young core and make strides forward, acquiring Draymond Green would be a step in the right direction while the player takes on a different challenge to solidify his Hall of Fame status.