OAKLAND – Draymond Green's value to the Warriors is as evident when he's in the game as it is when he's on the bench. He's like WD-40, greatly reliable in times of need and deeply missed when not available.
That he is such a commodity – and knows it – surely provides a measure of serenity for Green, now confronting the often-stressful conditions of playing in the final year of his contract.
"I'm not going to go into this season worried about what's going to happen on July 1st in 2015," said Green, projecting the date when he can become a restricted free agent. "It's too far away from now. And there's really no point in worrying about it. The only thing you can do is go out and play. I've got to do that anyway."
Green will make $915,000 this season but he and the Warriors realize he has outperformed the $1.15 million qualifying offer that awaits him next summer.
The 6-foot-7 forward is worth about four times that much and probably will be looking for something along those lines in a multiyear deal.
Green, a second-round pick in 2012, has gotten comfortable with the Warriors. He's one of their top defenders, a legitimate scoring threat and a voice of reason beyond his years.
Focus has never been an issue, and Green doesn't expect that to change.
"Human nature, it's going to be on your mind," Green said of his contract status. "But at the end of the day, you're not going out thinking 'Aw, this may be my last year with Golden State.' Or, 'Aw man, it's a contract year. I've got to do this, I've got to do that.'
"I play basketball for the love of the game. Obviously, in the NBA, money is going to always become a factor. That's just the nature of this game, the nature of the business. But I'm not going into it saying 'I've got to do this, I've got to do that,' because it's my contract year. Once you do that, you're selling yourself short. I'm going to continue to do the same thing I've always done, go out and play my game. Everything else will take care of itself.''
Green, 24, was a favorite of former coach Mark Jackson. Insofar Green is what NBA folks call a "glue guy," except he binds at an extraordinary level, it's hard to imagine he won't win over new coach Steve Kerr.
There is, after all, plenty of additional incentive for a guy that doesn't really need it.