The Golden State Warriors have signed the heart and soul of their team, Draymond Green, to a 4-year, $100 million extension, keeping him under contract through 2024.
A shock to some, as Green was eligible for much more were he to hit free agency next offseason, both sides decided they wanted to continue their relationship.
Although Kevin Durant is no longer with the team, the core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, a trio that have been teammates since 2012, are all under contract for at least three more seasons.
It was this core that helped begin a dynasty, as each was a member of the 2015 team that won a championship, and the 2016 team that won an NBA record 73 games. They were there the next 3 seasons as well, each playing a major role in 2 more championship runs, and another team that reached the NBA Finals this past season.
The Warriors will see a lot of change next season without Kevin Durant. They will also be behind the 8-ball due to the injury of Klay Thompson, who suffered a torn ACL during the NBA Finals. Andre Iguodala, another key member of their championship run, is now a member of the Memphis Grizzlies, leaving yet another hole from their dynastic run.
However, all is not lost. The Warriors were able to acquire guard D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade with the Brooklyn Nets, just a small consolation for losing Kevin Durant. Now it is not clear if the team plans to keep Russell long term, but having him next season will make the absence of Klay Thompson somewhat easier to bare.
Then there are the mainstays: Steph Curry and Draymond Green.
Even if it appears as if dynasty is over, the Warriors will still have Steph Curry – a 2-time NBA MVP – and Draymond Green – a former Defensive Player of the Year – on their squad. He may not play a game next season, but in 2020-2021, the team will have Klay Thompson back, the second half of the potent Splash Brothers duo.
The team might take a step back in 2019-2020, but what dynasty hasn’t.
We sometimes forget what retooling looks like since we have become so used to LeBron James being on elite teams year-after-year, or the likes of Kawhi Leonard switching teams and still winning. However, just look back to the San Antonio Spurs.
The team appeared in the NBA Finals 4 times between 1999 and 2007, but did not reach the championship round again until 2013. By 2007, they had a core of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili. Even if it took them 6 years to reach the Finals once more, by 2013, Duncan (37), Parker (31), and Manu (35) were ready to go with a deep roster. Although they lost in 7 games to the Miami Heat, a year later they faced them yet again, and this time they were able to beat them, winning their first title in 7 years, and 5th since 1999.
Who knows how long it will take the Warriors to reach the top of basketball again (if ever), but don’t doubt them. Steph Curry (31), Klay Thompson (29), and Draymond Green (29) have played plenty of winning basketball over the years, and aren’t going away anytime soon.
Who knows, maybe trading D’Angelo Russell next offseason will bring in the next core piece(s) to the Warriors. Maybe it will be a smart draft day trade, similar to how the Spurs moved up to pick Kawhi Leonard 15th overall in 2011. Remember, Green was a second round draft pick, and maybe the Warriors will strike gold again sometime soon.
The Warriors could have decided to trade Draymond Green and looked for his future replacement elsewhere, saving money in the process. This could have given them a chance to pursue a star free agent in the years to come.
But no, the team decided to stay with the group they know, and the players that helped them reach the pinnacle of the NBA three times during the past 5 seasons. With the bet they are placing on Draymond Green, as well as Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, they are hoping this core is around for the franchise’s fourth NBA Championship since 2015.
There’s an old adage: if it’s ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
In Golden State, Steph, Klay and Dray have seemed to be a perfect mix over the past half-decade.
Well, it doesn’t look broke to Golden State just yet.
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