Green likes Warriors, but Pistons might tug at heartstrings

By Diamond Leung, San Jose Mercury News
Draymond Green averaged 11.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 3.7 assists in the regular season for the Warriors.

Oakland, Calif. -- Draymond Green is scheduled to meet with the Warriors at 9:01 p.m. Tuesday night, Pacific time, when free agents can begin negotiating, and the two sides hope to agree to a contract that will keep him from going on the market, multiple sources told Bay Area News Group columnist Marcus Thompson II on Monday night.

On the eve of NBA free agency, Green's agent expressed confidence in the Warriors, who have promised to re-sign the "heartbeat" of their championship team.

"We have every reason to believe in management ... and all the people there that things will get worked out," agent B.J. Armstrong said. "And we will continue to go through the process.

"This is an incredible opportunity for everyone because this is a young team. They have a great nucleus, a great coaching staff. Draymond is so thankful to be part of the Warriors organization. He understands that. The Warriors organization understands that. Let's focus on the 'we' of the situation."

Green, the former Michigan State star, still could be able to at least explore the possibility of signing a contract elsewhere for near or at the maximum salary. A restricted free agent, Green can force the Warriors' hand by signing an offer sheet for more than $15 million per season. The Warriors can match any offer sheet Green might sign.

Or if all goes well at the meeting, Green could simply re-sign with Golden State, the team that drafted him in the second round in 2012 and saw the 6-foot-7 forward emerge into a Defensive Player of the Year runner-up who notched a triple-double in the clinching win of the NBA Finals.

In the euphoria of the Warriors' championship rally, Green launched into a freestyle rap and declared, "We're going to do it again for the Bay."

Bob Myers, the Warriors' general manager, then went on stage and said to fans, "We will bring him back." Six times, he told them not to worry about Green leaving.

Draymond Green was drafted by the Warriors in the second round in 2012 out of Michigan State.

Green, 25, was businesslike in an interview with Yahoo Sports on Sunday, saying that he was open to visiting other teams with serious interest in signing him.

"They said they wanted to keep me, but we will see what happens," Green said, referring to the Warriors.

"It was fun. I built relationships that will last a lifetime. They're a first-class organization. I had a great experience, but that probably won't change."

One decision Green will have to make is whether to sign a long-term contract or a shorter deal that allows him to potentially capitalize on an NBA salary cap that is expected to significantly rise next year. Either way, the Warriors have long indicated they would be willing to exceed the luxury tax threshold to retain him.

Another question is if the Pistons will make an offer to Green, a native of Saginaw, in a bid to help turn around their franchise.

"It'll be interesting to know they have interest," Green told ESPN's "NBA Lockdown" on Sunday. "It would be cool if the team that was closest to me growing up, the team that was on local TV when I was growing up, you know?

"I'm not really sure who all's going to call. But we'll see. I'm looking forward to it."

Armstrong, who played for three losing seasons with the Warriors in the 1990s, said the championship run was "phenomenal, phenomenal, phenomenal" and that he and Green were excited about the direction of the organization. At the same time, they will go into free agency with open minds.

"We're not coming in with any expectations," Armstrong said. "We want to be good listeners. We have complete confidence in the organization and what they're doing."