Why NBA suspended Warriors’ Draymond Green indefinitely, per Joe Dumars – NBC Sports Bay Area & California


The NBA announced Wednesday that Warriors forward Draymond Green would be suspended indefinitely for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić across the face Tuesday night.

On Thursday morning, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars joined ESPN’s “First Take” to explain why the league came to that decision and other details about the suspension.

“A lot of times people get caught up in the number, like ‘What’s the number?’ We didn’t want to do that,” Dumars said. “What we wanted to do was, we knew there would be some level of punishment, but we didn’t want that to be the focus. We wanted the focus to be on how can we help Draymond as well. We thought indefinite was the best way to do that so people don’t get caught up on, ‘The number, is it too low? Is it too high?’

“Indefinite means get yourself right. We want to see you at your best and the best way for you to do that is to get yourself mentally and emotionally back to where you need to be.”

Green was ejected in the third quarter of Golden State’s 119-116 loss to Phoenix after officials assessed him with a Flagrant 2 foul for swinging at Nurkić and striking him across the face during an inbounds play.

The Warriors forward later emphasized that it wasn’t his intent to ever hit Nurkić, but rather that he was trying to sell a foul call. However, Green’s reputation and history with on-court altercations over his 11-year NBA career spoke louder than his words.

“You want to see guys grow, man,” Dumars said. “And you want to do what’s best for them. There’s a role to play here. And the role is when someone crosses the line, we really have to step in and also be human in this, too. How can we help this guy? Because clearly something is going on, clearly he’s crossed a line and we have to deal with it.

“But there’s human elements, Stephen. And the human element part of this for me is how can we help [Green] get better. Yes, we have a job to do, but also we can be humans to help these guys get better and grow.”

Green isn’t one to shy away from saying what’s on his mind, he made that clear after the game Tuesday night.

The outspoken veteran leader said he had apologized to Nurkić and reiterated that he’s “not one to apologize” for things he meant to do. After his previous incident with Rudy Gobert, when Green held the Minnesota Timberwolves center in a headlock and served a five-game suspension, Green said he didn’t regret his actions.

But Dumars said Green’s words had “very little” to do with the punishment, and it solely came down to the actions.

Since last season in particular, Green has taken over headlines for reasons beyond his play on the hardwood. From punching his former Warriors teammate Jordan Poole to stepping on the chest of Kings center Domantas Sabonis in the playoffs to the handful of altercations this season — Smith asked Dumars if he believes an indefinite suspension is something that should have been enforced earlier for Green to prevent things from going this far now.

“No,” Dumars responded. “We do what we think is best in the moment. Decisions that we’ve made over the last 18 months or so, every one of them was deeply discussed internally here. These weren’t just quick snap decisions. You come out with the best decision you can make at that time. So we really don’t go back and look on it.”

While there are several questions about what “indefinitely” means exactly, Dumars made it clear that NBA commissioner Adam Silver and league officials didn’t want to attach a number to the punishment because Green getting the help he needs to get better is what’s most important.

A person who was a part of the decision-making was Green’s former teammate and NBA champion Andre Iguodala, who now is the acting executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA).

“Andre Iguodala has been exceptional since he stepped into the role. He was on board with us with this because when I talked to Andre yesterday, it was about Draymond getting better, and what we can do together,” Dumars said. “What we can agree on together. What’s best for Draymond at this time, what’s best for the Golden State Warriors, what’s best for the league office is for him to get better.

“And Andre was on board with that.”

Like Iguodala, the Warriors, too, were on board with the decision.

The league spoke to Warriors coach Steve Kerr and general manager Mike Dunleavy, and Dumars stated “every single entity” was in agreement that the indefinite suspension was the right thing to do.

After Tuesday night’s game at Footprint Center, Nurkić commented on the incident and sent a stern message to Green.

“What’s going on with him? I don’t know,” Nurkić said. “That brother needs help. I’m glad he didn’t try and choke me. But at the same time, it had nothing to do with basketball. I’m just out there trying to play basketball and they’re out there swinging.

“I think we saw that often. I hope whatever he got in his life, it gets better.”

The next day, Nurkić clarified that he still has a lot of respect for Green and that there are no “hate” or “bad feelings” toward the four-time champion.

Nurkić’s Suns teammate Kevin Durant, who spent four seasons with Green and the Warriors, also weighed in on Tuesday night’s events and said he hopes Green gets the help he needs.

“When we see guys say stuff like that, yeah we see it,” Dumars said on Durant and Nurkić’s comments. “You look at it and it kind of confirms what we’re saying internally anyway. But it doesn’t sway any part of the decision. It’s just another factor that we look at.

“This is a fraternity, man. These guys, yeah they’re going to compete, they may get into it, but at the end of the day, this is a fraternity and these guys want to see the best for other guys.”

Dumars and league officials will speak to Green on Thursday, conversations Dumars said are “always respectful.”

When asked what Green must do to return to the court for the Warriors, Dumars shared an open-ended response.

“We just want him to go through the process of getting better,” Dumars maintained. “There’s no specific, ‘Hey you have to check this box and everything’s good.’ We want to see him make progress, come back and be the great player that he’s been for such a long time with Golden State. And that’s where we’ll leave it. We’re not going to get here and there’s a box he has to check, and once he checks that he’s back and everything is good. Take your time and get better.

“We’ll be ready when he’s ready. I think it will work out. I think this is the best route to take for him. I think the best thing we could have done is not put a number on it.”

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