Draymond Green has been fined but won’t be suspended by the Golden State Warriors for punching his teammate Jordan Poole in the face last week.
Coach Steve Kerr said after Tuesday’s preseason win against Portland that Green will return to practice on Thursday, then play for the defending NBA champions against Denver on Friday night and again in the season opener on Tuesday against the Lakers. Kerr described the incident as the “biggest crisis we’ve ever had since I’ve been coach here”.
Kerr, Warriors general manager Bob Myers and players have met to decide how to best proceed. That process included Green and Poole talking to each other about the incident.
“We feel like we have a great feel for our team. We’ve got a lot of continuity on this team, so Bob and I know our players extremely well,” Kerr said. “We feel like this is the best way after assessing everything for us to move forward. It’s never easy no matter what decision you make in a situation like this. It’s not going to be perfect. This is the biggest crisis that we’ve ever had since I’ve been coach here. It’s really serious stuff.”
Green and Poole met in recent days to talk about the fight and everyone involved has taken part in exhaustive discussions since the incident last Wednesday in practice, Kerr said. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry has led some of those talks.
“We have spent the last week in deep discussions with all of our key figures in the organization, including Jordan and Draymond of course, Steph, all of our players, Bob, myself, and I can tell you there have been a lot of conversations, individual, one-on-one discussions, players-only discussions,” Kerr said. “Everything that you can think of, all the different combinations that are possible to have in a conversation, we’ve had them. It’s been an exhaustive process.”
Green has been away from the team since the altercation and has been working out on his own. Neither player was injured in the fight. The fiery Green has been a key veteran presence, defensive leader and part of Golden State’s four championships in eight seasons.
“Any criticism that we face here is fair,” Kerr added about the team’s decisions, noting “everything was on the table” regarding punishment.
“I support their decision,” second-year guard Moses Moody said, ready to welcome Green back.
Video of the punch, which was leaked to TMZ, was published on Friday. The footage shows Green approaching Poole and the players coming chest to chest. Poole uses both hands to push Green away, then Green punches Poole in the face.
“He broke our trust with this incident but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he’s earned that, and I think our team feels the same way,” Kerr said.
He added that an investigation is ongoing into the leak.