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Report: Warriors' Draymond Green Has 'Always Wanted to Play' for Pistons

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVAugust 11, 2022

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The idea of Draymond Green playing for a team other than the Golden State Warriors may not be that outlandish.

Heavy.com's Sean Deveney reported Wednesday that Green has "always wanted to play" for the Detroit Pistons.

"Draymond has always wanted to go there, he has always wanted to play for the Pistons," an executive said to Deveney. "And they’ll have the cap space. It’s hard to see Draymond playing anywhere else outside Golden State but if it going to happen anywhere, Detroit would be a good bet."

Green is a native of Saginaw, Michigan, and spent four years at Michigan State.

This isn't the first time the four-time All-Star has been linked with a move back to his home state. Adrian Wojnarowski reported for Yahoo Sports in February 2015 that Green, who was due to be a restricted free agent, "has a significant interest with pursuing an offer sheet with his hometown Detroit Pistons."

A lot has changed since then to make the partnership more plausible this time around.

Green is now a four-time champion with the Warriors, and their most recent title is the kind of legacy-defining achievement that could leave him wanting a new challenge. Helping the Pistons return to relevancy would be just that.

The 32-year-old can be a free agent in 2023 as well—he has a $27.6 million player option for 2023-24—and he may not have the appetite to take a pay cut in order to facilitate a return to Golden State.

The Athletic's Anthony Slater and Marcus Thompson II reported on July 27 the team has "no plans to offer Green a maximum extension," which would total $164.2 million over five years. Slater and Thompson added the 6'8" forward "is said to be willing to explore his outside options to get the kind of contract he wants."

The Pistons have a bright future with Cade Cunningham, Jaden Ivey and Saddiq Bey. Green would not only add a wealth of experience to a young roster, but he might help generate excitement among the fanbase.

Detroit ranked 20th in average attendance (16,184) but had the second-lowest home attendance percentage (79.6) in the NBA in 2021-22, per ESPN.com.

If the Pistons were to aggressively pursue Green in free agency, parallels to the Blake Griffin trade in January 2018 will be inevitable.

The franchise wanted to make a big splash to get the fans interested with Little Caesars Arena having recently opened. The positivity was fleeting as Detroit made the playoffs in 2019 but quickly returned to mediocrity. The Pistons eventually bought Griffin out of his contract in March 2021.

The Warriors' stance on a contract for Green seems to point to the general concerns about how his game will evolve as he ages.

The long-term risk could far outweigh the short-term benefits, especially if he lands on a team like Detroit that isn't typically a destination for marquee free agents. The Pistons can't afford to swing and miss on a max deal.

But as much as Green might be intrigued by the idea of heading to the Motor City, there's still a lot of time between now and when he can hit the open market.

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