Kendra AndrewsESPN5 minutes of reading
SAN FRANCISCO — Mike Dunleavy Jr. is thrown into the fire as he takes on a new role as general manager.
The NBA draft is four days away. Free agency follows close behind.
But at the top of Dunleavy’s to-do list this summer is bringing back Green, who declined his $27.6 million player option Monday morning and will enter unrestricted free agency, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
“We really want Draymond back,” Dunleavy said at his introductory news conference Monday. “What he means to this organization and this team, to win at the highest level, we feel we have to have him.
It was expected that Green would opt out; now he can talk to the Warriors as well as explore sign-and-trade and free agency.
“We will continue to talk to Golden State and explore all options,” Paul told ESPN.
After the Warriors were eliminated by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs, Green told Andscape’s Marc Spears that Myers’ decision — whether to return as president and general manager or leave — would have some weight in his contract decision. However, it would not be the only decisive factor.
Green acknowledged the unique relationship Myers had with players, as well as head coach Steve Kerr, and how very few league managers have that quality. This is something Dunleavy will now try to take over.
“Did I interview other people? No, not really. We didn’t go outside,” Warriors owner and CEO Joe Lacob said of the hiring of Dunleavy. “We believe in continuity. We believe that we have a really well-oiled machine, a well-run organization. Mike gets along fabulously with all parties inside.”
When it comes to roster construction or rebuilding, Dunleavy said he doesn’t believe there are many decisions to be made, but rather “things to consider.”
Second, finding a new deal for Green is to add some “connections.”
“The rest of the roster going down the line is a group that probably needs to be better at playing together and connecting, so that’s something we’ll look to address for this offseason,” Dunleavy said. “By the way, it’s not just external, it’s internal through working together and doing all that.”
He continued: “You look at the championship team with the Nuggets. Those guys were dialed in together. [In] 2022, that’s how we were. We can get back to that feeling, that point of view, I think, given our talent, it will give us a chance to compete for a title.”
Much of the disconnect through the Warriors last season stemmed from the training camp feud between Green and Jordan Poole, which Kerr at the time called the franchise’s biggest crisis of his tenure and later said left a cloud over the season.
Green admitted the altercation affected his ability to be the vocal, and sometimes abrasive, leader who has energized Golden State in the past. He said he felt this prevented the team from being able to perform to their full potential.
But with the Warriors struggling to find a new contract for Green, there is a strong belief that all parties would be able to move forward and have both Green and Poole on the team next season.
“We plan to have [Poole] at least four more years,” Dunleavy said.
If the Warriors look outside to address their needs, their first crack at acquiring new personnel will be at Thursday’s draft.
There is a question of whether the Warriors want to bring in another young player while still trying to figure out the development plans for Poole, Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody, in addition to 2022 draft picks Patrick Baldwin Jr. and Ryan Rollins.
But it’s something Dunleavy said the team would take stock of after the draft. After that, the Warriors will seek free agency to restructure the roster.
In addition to Green, Donte DiVincenzo has a $4.7 million player option that he must either pick up or decline by June 28. JaMychal Green and Andre Iguodala are both unrestricted free agents, though Iguodala said last season would be his last.
Anthony Lamb and two-way players Ty Jerome and Lester Quinones are restricted free agents.
“I think a lot can be made of all the challenges that come our way, whether it’s an aging roster, the new CBA with some of the limitations there, anything else you can bring up,” Dunleavy said. “We’re aware of all those things, but we also feel we’re in a great place because we have a competitive owner who’s willing to spend, a group that’s tied in, has good synergy, good processes, good, sound decision-making. We feel confident that we can navigate that.”