Green and Poole altercation raises eyebrows ahead of big contract year
"Don't punch people" is generally good manners, but how much does it matter in the NBA?
It’s hard to say how much of this truly matters, but it definitely is not meaningless. For anyone who missed it, Anthony Slater of The Athletic (among others) broke news yesterday that Draymond Green be potentially facing internal discipline after an in-practice “altercation” with Jordan Poole. We’ll start with the basic facts first, from that same Slater article linked above:
When a heated interaction with guard Jordan Poole escalated, Green forcefully struck Poole and needed to be separated swiftly, sources said. Green and Poole came chest-to-chest, with both players pushing and shoving each other prior to Green’s escalation of the physical altercation, those sources said.
More details will emerge, but I would caution everyone to not get too tied up into this. Remember that these are not your average office workers. Though not ideal, there’s no indication that this event will be some sort of hurdle - much less one that derails an upcoming season of chasing a repeat of last year’s championship.
Here’s the rest of the initial report from The Athletic, just so you can get the full download of what went down:
The Warriors stopped practice and tried to settle nerves in the team’s locker room area, but it appears that internal discipline is imminent.
Poole and Green are known to regularly get into verbal arguments, but the team’s management and leadership believes a line was crossed.
The team is at a fulcrum point - or maybe it’s just like this every season, with pressure so high - Green, Poole, and Andrew Wiggins all have looming contract decisions to work through. The chatter is that Poole’s extension is the one most likely to be wrapped up quickly, with earlier reports indicating that the Warriors would be meeting with Poole’s representatives this week to begin ironing out the details. So maybe there’s some deep water here… or maybe it’s just one of those dust ups that happens sometimes?
Ironically, Green’s own words may have foreshadowed this conflict:
Now, feel free to speculate (this is the internet, after all) but I’m not sure that I am buying some conflicting “reports” that Poole was somehow getting too full of himself. I’m putting this here because Haynes is a respected NBA reporter, so we know this is coming from a very real inside source, but I’d again caution readers to be aware that leaks like this are generally made to serve the interests of the leaker. Nonetheless, I do appreciate the sentiment that Green was apologetic - a strikingly different tone than his interaction with Kevin Durant.
The Golden State Warriors are no strangers to intense moments, and coach Steve Kerr has famously said that getting into a fistfight with Michael Jordan helped their relationship:
"I would say it definitely helped our relationship, and that probably sounds really weird," Kerr said. "I wouldn't recommend that to anybody at home. ... For me in that case, Michael was definitely testing me, and I responded. I feel like I kind of passed the test and he trusted me more afterwards."
The NBA is a different place, full of people that literally make a living off having an edge that drives them harder and further than normal people. Work place dustups happen all over the place, though they may not look exactly like they do in the NBA.
It isn’t so much that an event like this doesn’t matter, or that it wasn’t a big deal, but let’s pump the brakes before the speculationmobile runs down the cliff while screaming about irreconcilable differences. Players in a contract year are under a lot of pressure to perform, and having multiple players in Golden State all facing the same considerations while also striving to repeat as champions will lead to some tense moments. It doesn’t mean anything is broken here though.