Draymond Green

Dumars explains NBA's decision to indefinitely suspend Draymond

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The NBA announced Wednesday that Warriors forward Draymond Green would be suspended indefinitely for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić across the face in the previous night's game.

On Thursday morning, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations Joe Dumars joined ESPN's "First Take" to explain why the league came to that decision and to share other details about the suspension.

"A lot of times, people get caught up in the number, like 'What's the number?' We didn't want to do that," Dumars said. "What we wanted to do was, we knew there would be some level of punishment, but we didn't want that to be the focus. We wanted the focus to be on how can we help Draymond as well. We thought indefinite was the best way to do that so people don't get caught up on, 'The number, is it too low? Is it too high?'

"Indefinite means get yourself right. We want to see you at your best, and the best way for you to do that is to get yourself mentally and emotionally back to where you need to be."

Green was ejected in the third quarter of Golden State's 119-116 loss to Phoenix after officials assessed him with a Flagrant 2 foul for swinging at Nurkić and striking him across the face during an inbounds play.

Green later emphasized that he didn't intend to hit Nurkić, but rather he was trying to sell a foul call. However, his on-court altercation history and reputation over his 11-year NBA career spoke louder than his words.

Green said Tuesday night that he apologized to Nurkić and reiterated he's "not one to apologize" for things he meant to do. But Dumars said Green's words had "very little" to do with the punishment.

Smith asked Dumars if he believes an indefinite suspension should have been enforced earlier to prevent things from going this far.

"No," Dumars said. "We do what we think is best in the moment. Decisions that we've made over the last 18 months or so, every one of them was deeply discussed internally here. These weren't just quick-snap decisions. You come out with the best decision you can make at that time. So, we really don't go back and look on it."

Green's former teammate, Andre Iguodala, who's now the acting executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, was a part of the decision-making process on the indefinite suspension.

"Andre Iguodala has been exceptional since he stepped into the role" Dumars said. "He was on board with us with this because when I talked to Andre yesterday, it was about Draymond getting better and what we can do together. What we can agree on together. What's best for Draymond at this time, what's best for the Golden State Warriors, what's best for the league office is for him to get better.

"And Andre was on board with that."

Like Iguodala, the Warriors also were on board with the decision. The league spoke to coach Steve Kerr and general manager Mike Dunleavy, and Dumars stated "every single entity" agreed that the indefinite suspension was the right thing to do.

After Tuesday night's game at Footprint Center, Nurkić commented on the incident and sent a stern message to Green.

"What's going on with him? I don't know," Nurkić said. "That brother needs help. I'm glad he didn't try and choke me. But at the same time, it had nothing to do with basketball. I'm just out there trying to play basketball and they're out there swinging.

"I think we saw that often. I hope whatever he got in his life, it gets better."

The next day, Nurkić clarified that he still has a lot of respect for Green and has no "hate" or "bad feelings" toward the four-time NBA champion.

Nurkić's Suns teammate, Kevin Durant, who spent four seasons with Green and the Warriors, also weighed in on Tuesday night's events and said he hopes Green gets the help he needs.

"When we see guys say stuff like that, yeah, we see it," Dumars said on Durant and Nurkić's comments. "You look at it, and it kind of confirms what we're saying internally anyway. But it doesn't sway any part of the decision. It's just another factor that we look at.

"This is a fraternity, man. These guys, yeah, they're going to compete, they may get into it, but at the end of the day, this is a fraternity, and these guys want to see the best for other guys."

When asked what Green must do to return to the court, Dumars shared an open-ended response.

"We just want him to go through the process of getting better," Dumars said. "There's no specific, 'Hey, you have to check this box and everything's good.' We want to see him make progress, come back and be the great player that he's been for such a long time with Golden State. And that's where we'll leave it. We're not going to get here and there's a box he has to check, and once he checks that, he's back and everything is good. Take your time and get better.

"We'll be ready when he's ready. I think it will work out. I think this is the best route to take for him. I think the best thing we could have done is not put a number on it."

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