Lakers Rumors: Stephen A. Smith Says Draymond Green Wants To Join L.A. If He Leaves Warriors Next Summer
(Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

Since the Los Angeles Lakers are expected to have a sizable amount of money saved for the 2023 offseason, rumors will link player after player with a move to L.A. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has been the latest NBA star mentioned as a potential free agency target for L.A. next year, particularly after his infamous altercation with Jordan Poole.

Green’s future with the Warriors looked murky even before the Poole incident due to the former Defensive Player of the Year’s expectations of signing a max contract extension — which Golden State looked unwilling to offer. The 32-year-old forward’s current deal expires in 2024, although he has a player option for next season.

But after a video of Green punching Poole in the face during practice emerged, the four-time NBA champion’s departure seems even more likely. ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith has said the Warriors star now understands he will have to leave Golden State after over a decade with the team — and that L.A. will be his favorite destination if he hits free agency next summer, via ClutchPoints:

“Golden State has got to re-sign two people. Three people [are] looking to get re-signed. The three people looking to get re-signed is Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, and Draymond Green. I can tell you right now, Wiggins and Poole are a priority. I can tell you right now that Draymond Green is expecting this to be his last year in Golden State. Now he wants to be a Laker. He ain’t tell anybody that but don’t think I don’t know. He’d prefer to be a Laker if he got to leave Golden State. But he’s looking for a payday, going to get 25 million this year, he’s got a player option for [$27 million] next year. The Warriors are probably hoping he don’t opt in because they’d have to pay him on top of the cash that they know they got to pay in Poole and Wiggins. So because of that, this year, I think is, very, very salvageable. Because I think that Draymond Green, who wants his money, knows — especially since [the altercation with Poole] happened — that he’s got to go out there, he’s got to be on his best behavior, and he’s got to bring the game of his life if he wants a new extended contract from somebody else other than the Warriors. Because I think this is his last year as a Golden State Warrior.”

The Lakers should have over $30 million in cap space next year, enough to potentially accommodate Green’s contract — even on a max deal with a salary of about $31 million in over the first year. But the forward’s value should plummet in the aftermath of his altercation with Poole, potentially offering the Lakers an opportunity to sign the Warriors star on a cut-price deal.

Smith isn’t the only person to speculate Green could soon wear Purple and Gold. Atlanta Hawks All-Star Trae Young recently joked Golden State’s legend attacked Poole to fast-track his move to L.A.

Patrick Beverley surprised by Green-Poole incident

Patrick Beverley couldn’t resist the opportunity to comment on the Green-Poole incident in the premiere episode of his new NBA podcast. The Lakers guard said he was surprised to see a serious fight occur between two teammates.

“That should never happen,” Beverley said.

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