NBA Free Agency

Why Dray turned down ‘substantially' richer free agency deals

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Draymond Green entered unfamiliar territory this offseason as he dipped his toes into NBA free agency for the first time in his career.

While he kept an open mind and wanted to explore his options, Green recently revealed his agent Rich Paul is one of the biggest reasons why the four-time champion turned down "substantially" greater offers to re-sign with the Warriors last month.

"Most agents, I think they chase the buck, they chase the most money that they can get," Green told Philadelphia 76ers guard Patrick Beverley on the latest episode of "The Pat Bev Podcast." "And what I can appreciate about Rich was that even as this negotiation came down to it, his number one priority was keeping me there. And he made it very clear to me that that was his number one priority. He had a certain dollar amount that he wanted to get to, that we wanted to get to, that we had spoken about before it all even began. And I had other opportunities that would have paid me more money. And even when I would talk to him about what the benefit could be in those opportunities, he would go silent. And it was more money! Like substantially more money, I'm talking about [$10 million more] a year more money.

"And he would just go radio silent. And I would almost like talk myself into believing it and he would just kind of go silent and let me talk. And then the conversation would kind of just end. ... He made it very clear to me and evident just how important loyalty is, how important the situation that you're in is, and for me, I've been there my entire career. Not to just walk away from that because that dollar amount looks better. That shiny object over there ain't always what it seems like. The way Rich stayed in the pocket and just, the only thing to him, was my legacy, like yeah we're going to get you paid, but your legacy is more important than anything. And that helped me keep focus on not drift too far."

Green, 33, agreed to return to Golden State on a four-year contract worth $100 million, with a player option in Year 4.

Before then, Green hinted at what he expected in his next contract and appears to have cashed out on what he asked for. And while the money was important to Green, Paul made sure his client received what he deserved while reminding him of how special his mark is in the Bay.

After Golden State's 2022-23 season ended with a second-round playoff exit, the veteran forward said he would like to return to the Warriors with the same guys he entered it with -- Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. That will now be a reality for at least one more season as the Warriors' core aims at winning their fifth championship together.

Green also thanked Golden State's front office for its part in the outcome, stating owner Joe Lacob and company helped make his decision a little easier.

"I think for a second it seemed like I would have to explore other teams and do the thing. But what I will say is Golden State made it very clear to me that I was a priority and it made it very clear to me that they wanted to do all that they could for me to still be there and be a part of what we've built, and that I am a Warrior for the rest of my life," Green said. "And I think that was one of the biggest things, Joe said to me, this is not some contract. you are our partner for the rest of our life.

"And that was huge for me. So I'm very thankful to Joe Lacob, the Golden State Warriors, Peter [Guber]. Mike Dunleavy stepped in and did a great job, Kirk Lacob. They not for one second didn't make me feel like I was important, that I was wanted in a major way. And I'm very, very, very thankful for that because it didn't always seem like it was going to be that way."

Now that both sides seemingly got what they wanted, the team can shift its focus to the 2023-24 season and climbing its way back to the top.

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