Draymond Green’s audition for an inevitable post-career TV job took a controversial turn on Friday. Green, spending time with TNT’s Inside the NBA crew as his Golden State Warriors have long since been eliminated, openly campaigned for Suns star Devin Booker to force his way out of Phoenix despite the surprising success they’ve found in the Disney bubble.
“It’s great to see Book playing well and Phoenix playing well, but get my man out of Phoenix,” Green said. “It’s not good for him, it’s not good for his career. Sorry Chuck, but they’ve gotta get Book out of Phoenix. I need my man to go somewhere that he can play great basketball all of the time and win, because he’s that kind of player.”
This is hardly an isolated incident. Green has been dropping bombs on the Suns for quite some time. Before this season, he blasted them for their handling of former lottery pick Marquese Chriss, who went on to have a career year with the Warriors this season. “He’s been in some pretty tough situations,” Green said after a preseason game. “No one ever blames the situation, though. It’s always the kid. No one ever blames these s—ty franchises. They always want to blame the kid. It’s not always the kid’s fault.”
“Let’s be frank about it,” Green continued. “When he was there, the organization was terrible. Everything was going wrong. But he get blamed, like he’s the problem. When he left, ain’t nothing go right. That’s my take on it.”
Ernie Johnson followed Green’s argument with an important question: was he tampering? Green laughed and responded “maybe.” His history with the Suns suggests that he truly does just believe that Phoenix is a bad organization that doesn’t deserve a player of Booker’s caliber, but he has a pretty notable track record of tampering himself. He reportedly called Kevin Durant from his car after Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals. Durant signed with Golden State two weeks later. The Warriors are expected to pursue high-level veterans on the trade market and have both their own high lottery pick this year and Minnesota’s valuable choice next year to dangle in a trade package.
In all likelihood, that doesn’t matter. The Suns are 4-0 in Orlando and pursuing a playoff spot. This is the best basketball that they have played in years. You can argue with their process all you want. Dumping T.J. Warren was a terrible decision. So were drafting Chriss, Dragan Bender and Josh Jackson, and giving up DeAnthony Melton just to dump Jackson on Memphis. They’ve made plenty of bad decisions in recent years, but the end result is a very promising young team that has no intention of trading Booker so early in their developmental cycle. He still has four years left on the max contract he signed in 2018. The Suns are in no rush. They’re trending in the right direction.
In a few years, Booker might still ultimately decide to leave. If he does, Phoenix’s miserable recent track record will likely be at least a part of why he does so. But right now? Booker has no great need to leave a Suns team that is on the rise. If Green was just looking to stir the pot in the name of proving his worth as a future broadcaster, he’s successfully done so. But if he was actively trying to recruit Booker to Golden State, unfortunately, in all likelihood, his Warriors will probably have to look elsewhere for a fourth star.