OAKLAND -- The Draymond Green World Tour reached the Bay Area on Thursday with the featured performer vowing that a championship and a lucrative contract won’t require a larger hat for his ego.
That he’s still hungry, only now he’s also wealthy beyond his dreams.
“I’ll play for free,” Green said minutes after signing a five-year contract worth $82 million.
General manager Bob Myers had a witty response, suggesting there is no need for the contract while reminding Green that the ink had not yet dried.
The contract is going nowhere. And neither is Green. The man who made $915,000 last season, his third in the NBA, will average $16.4 million over the next five.
The Warriors consider him worth the money, and he certainly is if contracts signed around the league on Thursday are any indication. After MVP Stephen Curry, no member of the Warriors would be harder to replace.
Green last season averaged 11.4 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists. Those numbers in the postseason bumped to 13.4, 10.1 and 5.2. He was the team’s leading rebounder in both the regular season and the playoffs.
He finished third among Warriors scorers, second in the NBA Defensive Player of the Year voting and No. 1 on the list of unofficial reasons why the Warriors last season improved from 51 wins to 67.
Moreover, Green established himself as someone with the ability to defend all five positions while being a comprehensive threat on offense -- all with his signature blue-collar work ethic.
“My style of play is who I am.” Green said. “So it’s not like I’m going to go out and not go for a rebound. It’s just who I am. It’s not like I’m not going to dive for a loose ball or take a charge. That’s never been me.”
The Warriors understand that. They view Green as more important than the sum of his statistics. He’s the stitching that binds the team’s fabric.
“Draymond, through his entire life, whatever he’s taken and whatever situation he’s been confronted by, has won,” Myers said. “And it doesn’t matter where he was or what position he played. His teams won. And that’s not a coincidence. We want as many of those guys as we can. But he separates himself as an elite winner.”
Green conceded his life has changed dramatically in the three weeks since the Warriors won the NBA Finals. Between his basketball exploits and his advertisements, Green’s recognition factor has gone through the roof. Airports have become mob scenes.
He’s now officially A-list, and illustrated by his itinerary.
There was the championship parade in Oakland, followed by the team trip to Las Vegas, followed by another parade in his hometown of Saginaw, Mich., followed by another trip to the Bay Area, followed by a stop in Los Angeles (for contract negotiations), rest and recreation in Miami and elsewhere before returning to the Bay Area Wednesday night.
Yet Green insists he has not “gone Hollywood.” And his mother, Mary Babers-Green, says even if she detected the slightest hint of that, she’d shut it down.
“He’s just authentic,” Babers-Green said. “He has to be humble. Because if he isn’t, it takes away from who he is. I don’t have to change him. He’s still Draymond. If he gets the big head, things start crumbling for him.
“We text just about every day. There have been times when I could see maybe he was getting carried away. And I’ll text him ‘reality awaits you.’ I could see how it happens, but he’s a level-headed guy.”
The Warriors believe in Green, who believes in himself and listens to his mother. That is, in this instance, a good thing for all.