SAN FRANCISCO — As news of Draymond Green’s suspension for stepping on Domantas Sabonis spread through the Golden State Warriors organization, the sense of surprise was overwhelming.
However, there is also a consensus that there is no reason – or time – to comment on the league’s decision.
“We’ve been here before,” Warriors general manager Bob Myers said at a news conference on Wednesday. “Once these decisions are made, there is no appeals court. It’s over. You can react however you want but it doesn’t change the fact that he’s not playing and we have a game tomorrow night…it doesn’t matter what I think.”
Myers was notified of Green’s suspension Tuesday night, just before the NBA officially announced its decision. Myers spoke to Green, Stephen Curry, owner Joe Lacob and trainer Steve Kerr before the news broke.
Myers made it clear to Green: Take a day to digest the decision before responding, especially since Green’s initial reaction played a role in the league’s decision to suspend him.
NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that Green’s “excessive and over-the-top actions” on the court after the Sabonis incident and his post-game tone were instrumental in the suspension decision.
“He’s the ultimate competitor… and everyone knows that occasionally he’ll tip over the edge and let his emotions get the best of him. That’s part of it,” Kerr said on Wednesday. “There’s no stopping him. You won’t be able to put your arm around him and say, OK, let’s move on. It doesn’t work that way.”
Kerr continued, saying, “There’s no time to worry or think about it or complain about it.”
Green attended practice on Wednesday and addressed the team. The Warriors didn’t disclose what was discussed, but Myers said he wanted to make sure Green wasn’t about him and instead about a team win in his absence.
“Winning is messy if you want to be honest. … There’s a certain edginess to it,” Myers said. “There are tensions. Certainly he exceeded that limit, but he was punished for it. … Draymond is not perfect. But I haven’t met anyone who’s perfect… he’s been a big part of a lot of wins.
Myers continued, “His mistakes are out there for the world…every time he makes a mistake I hope he learns from it. He was punished. So for the people who are asking, ‘Well, when is it going to stop?’ Those people might think that’s a positive, I suppose.”
This is the second time Green has been suspended during the playoffs. The other time came in the 2016 NBA Finals after he racked up too many flagrant fouls, culminating in Green hitting LeBron James in the groin in Game 4. Early in that playoff, Green was ejected for kicking Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams in the groin.
Both Kerr and Myers said they did not look back on Green’s suspension in 2016.
Green was also ejected in Game 1 of Golden State’s second-round series in 2022 against the Memphis Grizzlies after a hard foul on Brandon Clarke and a fan fascination.
“It’s not something we can control,” Kerr said. “Draymond is incredibly passionate and competitive and fiery and he’s helped us win more championships, I’ve said it many times – we don’t have a single championship without Draymond Green. That’s the truth. He’s crossed the line over the years, but that’s part of the game. We will fight for Draymond.”
In 2018, the Warriors suspended Green for a game without pay for “team-damaging conduct” after an altercation with then-teammate Kevin Durant. Earlier this season, Green spent some time off the team after beating Warriors guard Jordan Poole in practice.
“The guy is a force. He is unique. He’s a leader,” Myers said. “He’ll tell you he made mistakes. You can’t hide from them, they are out there for everyone to see. He has a good heart, I know that. But that doesn’t mean he’s flawless.”
“He made a mistake with a teammate – I had never seen him do that with a teammate. If you want to talk about what he did for the organization, that’s not up for debate. We didn’t do a championship without him, but he’s a complicated guy.”