Should Portland Gamble in the Draymond Green Sweepstakes?


Although the NBA season just ended, free agency season in the NBA about to begin, and one of the hottest free agents on the market just helped his team win an NBA Championship. Of course, we’re talking about Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors’ do-everything big man, who is a restricted free agent this summer.

There’s no doubt in my mind Green is worth a max contract, which would be close to a four-year, $66 million deal from any team other than the Warriors. This season, Green averaged 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. All were career-highs for Green, who was in his third year out of Michigan State.

While the numbers don’t exactly jump off the page, anyone who watched Golden State this season could tell how important Green was to their success. He’s a tone-setter and a defensive stalwart, but more importantly, he’s one of the most versatile players in the league. And, he just proved it at the highest level: the NBA Finals.

As of now, all reports indicate Golden State will match any offer to Green, but as we know with past restricted free agents, this is the stance they always take and the stance ownership has to take. Of course, Golden State has to do what they can to keep other teams from going after Green. That’s just how it is.

Even if Green wants to stay with the Warriors and the Warriors want to keep Green, teams are going to call Green’s agent, BJ Armstrong, and make a run at him. Should Portland be among those teams?

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At this point, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey would be silly not to. If it works, Portland gets Green, which has to be considered a win in free agency. If it doesn’t work and Green stays with Golden State, Portland forces the Warriors to eat up a lot of cap space, which hurts the backend of their roster. It’s what we’d call a minimal win-win in the event of a major loss: LaMarcus Aldridge.

The Trail Blazers are in a very weird spot this offseason with so many free agents, including crucial players, Aldridge, Wesley Matthews, and Robin Lopez.

If Portland is going to make a run at Green, though, a couple things have to happen. Most importantly, Aldridge has to sign with another team or tell Portland he’s not coming back early in free agency. Obviously, we want Aldridge to stay, but he could really hurt Portland by keeping Olshey in the dark while he makes up his mind.

If Aldridge pulls a LeBron and forces the Trail Blazers to wait in free agency, this offseason could be very bad for Portland. A number of good free agents could be gone if Aldridge drags out the process and decides not to re-sign. That’s probably the worst case scenario for Portland, honestly. The timing is going to pivotal in all of this, and Portland is going to have to catch a big break.

If Aldridge comes back, Portland, likely, won’t have enough cap space to make a run at Green and field a full 15-man roster. Not under the $67 million salary cap anyway.

Jun 16, 2015; Cleveland, OH, USA; Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green (23) celebrates with Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob and the Larry O

Green is worth the money, and in the right scenario, he could be better than he was for the Warriors this season. Portland is one of those spots where Green’s talents could be utilized to the fullest.

If the Warriors renege their boundless commitment and Green is willing to leave Golden State for a max deal elsewhere, Portland would likely fall near the bottom of his list of desirable destinations, as a relatively small market with a relatively small role to offer him on the court. However, a young core that is poised for real contention has its draws for a player fresh off of winning a championship.

Bringing Green to Portland is very unlikely, but depending on how this summer goes for Portland, it could be worth taking the long-shot if Aldridge walks. Is there really anything to lose from the inquiry in that case?

Olshey needs to have moves and counter-moves ready to keep Portland moving in a positive direction and build off two straight trips to the playoffs. Throwing a max-offer sheet at Green, if Aldridge walks early, could be beneficial to Portland (and the rest of the league) even if Green doesn’t end up in a Trail Blazers jersey.

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