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Draymond Green is not the reason Jordan Poole was traded to the Washington Wizards.
Golden State Warriors majority governor Joe Lacob appeared on Tim Kawakami’s TK Show podcast and said while the relationship between Green and Poole was a potential concern—Green infamously punched Poole at a practice before last season—it wasn’t the primary reason for the trade (h/t Alex Espinoza of 95.7 The Game):
“I think it’s fair to say that there was some level of concern going forward, whether that was going to be something that would work out. To be honest with you, I think it would have worked out and could have worked out. But I think it is fair to say that in order to make the team work next year, to make the numbers work and so on, someone probably was gonna be the odd man out. It just turned out—and it wasn’t planned—that it was Jordan.”
Money was always going to become an issue for the Warriors, and the trio of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Green weren’t going anywhere.
Starting next season, Poole would have had a cap hit of $30.1 million, a figure that would have risen by about $2 million in each of the final two years in his deal. Curry, meanwhile, will have a $55 million cap hit in the 2024-25 campaign, Thompson will almost assuredly sign a lucrative, potentially max extension, Green will be owed $24.1 million and Andrew Wiggins will earn $26.2 million.
The benefit of dealing Poole in the trade that brought Chris Paul to San Francisco was that the veteran point guard’s $30 million salary for next season is completely non-guaranteed, meaning he can be released without penalty.
Given the astronomical payroll the team is facing once Thompson re-signs—and the NBA’s harsher penalties for teams that continuously exceed the tax apron—making a move to alleviate some financial commitments made sense.
Poole also didn’t put his best foot forward in the 2022-23 campaign. While he averaged a career-high in scoring (20.4 percent), his efficiency on the offensive end (43 percent from the field, 33.6 percent from three) was worse than his breakout season in 2021-22 (44.8 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from three).
His defense also left something to be desired. Add in the awkward nature of his relationship with Green after the punch—and the Warriors were always going to bring Green back, given his importance as the defensive lynchpin and as an offensive playmaker—and he was the logical candidate to be moved.