Draymond Green will become a restricted free agent this offseason and a player with his kind of talent is certain to garner much attention. There are reports that the Warriors are hesitant to give Green a higher starting salary than they will give Klay Thompson next season. Thompson won’t receive more than $15.5MM, per his agreement with the team. The maximum salary for the 2015/16 season won’t be known until the offseason since it is a product of the salary cap. There is a chance that the true figure comes in above $15.5MM, which would create a conundrum for the team. However, Golden State had given every indication that they will match any offer sheet presented to the B.J. Armstrong client.
Green is very valuable to the Warriors, as he has become the team’s utility knife. His size and quickness allow him defend basically any opponent. Versatility is an asset in the NBA and having Green on the Warriors allows coach Steve Kerr to get creative and exploit mismatches. Kerr has used Green at different positions in various lineups this season, including one with Green at center surrounded by four shooters, which is virtually impossible to defend. Green has also logged minutes at the both forward positions and has guarded shooting guards, forwards and centers.
While Green’s defense has always been his bread and butter, his improved shooting over the last year and half has been a major factor in his increased role. The 25-year-old’s shooting has risen every year he has been in the league and he is currently shooting 44.0% from the field and 34.2% from three point range this season. Green’s ability to effectively defend the opponents’ big men, coupled with his shooting skills, has turned the Michigan State product into the NBA’s quintessential stretch four. The position is in demand now more than ever and teams are often using underqualified players to play the role.
There will be a plethora of teams interested in the forward’s services this offseason. The Pistons should be considered the favorite, outside of the Warriors, to sign Green as reports have indicated that the Michigan native has “significant interest” in signing an offer sheet with them. Detroit only has $37.6MM on the books for the 2015/16 season, as Eddie Scarito of Hoops Rumors points out on our Pistons Salary Commitment page. That figure doesn’t account for cap holds for players like Greg Monroe and Reggie Jackson. I speculate that Monroe will leave Mo Town, while Jackson stays put for a starting salary between $10-13MM. Such moves would give the Pistons cap space for at least one maximum salary contract. The Lakers and Knicks also should have cap space for at least one max contract and those teams are always a threat to steal an opposing team’s free agent.
Green is a budding young talent and many teams will look to secure a meeting with him once free agency begins. Still, this doesn’t mean a maximum salary contract, which is usually reserved for star players, necessarily awaits him. Green, who hasn’t yet made an all-star team, isn’t quite a star in the league, but he is trending in the right direction.