Draymond proud, but sad to see Warriors' free agents leave


It was a bittersweet week for the Warriors, who saw multiple fan-favorites depart in free agency. 

Juan Toscano-Anderson, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr. and Nemanja Bjelica each all signed elsewhere, ending their tenures with Golden State on the highest note possible, by winning a championship. 

On the latest episode of "The Draymond Green Show," the Warriors forward addressed each one of his former teammates' moves, disappointed to see them leave, but ultimately thrilled for their next opportunities. 

"Number one, I want to say congratulations to Gary Payton II -- GP2," Green said. "Well deserved, man. At 29 years old, a guy that has continued to grind and grind and grind. I was looking at GP's Wikipedia a few days ago and just looking at the teams he's been on ... and never quit. 

"Extremely happy for him. Not happy to see him go, but always happy to see guys get their money ... so to see GP get what he's due, I thought that was absolutely amazing, I'm happy for GP. Congrats. CHAMP."

Porter Jr., who signed a two-year, $12.3 million contract with the Toronto Raptors, will be closer to his wife's family, which Draymond understands and has nothing but love for the veteran forward. 

"I thought that was huge for Otto, I'm very happy for Otto," Green added. "Congratulations, champ. Otto's wife ... being from Toronto, had an opportunity to be in her hometown, I think that's amazing. For Otto to come to the Warriors and re-establish his career the way he did and help us win a championship, we will definitely miss him, his shooting, his length, his competitive nature that he brought to us all year. But get your money, it's all love, congrats my brother. Looking forward to Otto continuing to do great things."

Toscano-Anderson, just like Payton II, will be staying out west. The Oakland native signed a one-year, $1.9 million contract with the Los Angeles Lakers, allowing him to play alongside LeBron James in a city with strong Mexican-American support, something that Draymond believes is something JTA can capitalize on. 

"My brother Juan Toscano-Anderson headed to the Los Angeles Lakers," Green explained. "I think that is an incredible move by him, I think that's an incredible move by his agent and here's why. Number one, I think the Lakers need those types of guys, the Juan-type of guys that will get in, get it out the mud and do all the dirty work. I think that's big for them from that standpoint. On the flipside, Juan as a Mexican-American, as we all know there is a huge Mexican population in Los Angeles, so how can he then capitalize on that front? Juan has done plenty of things in Mexico to help the community, how can he continue to bridge that gap with the Mexican fanbase and the Mexican community in Los Angeles?"

Of all the teammates that left in free agency, Bjelica deciding to leave the Warriors and the NBA and play in Turkey appears to be the move that stung Draymond the most. 

"I'm a little hurt by this one, I had an opportunity to create a really great relationship with Beli and one that, quite frankly, will last further than him or myself playing basketball," Draymond added. "But for Beli, I think this was more of a family move than necessarily a business move. Beli has two young children and to be closer to his family ... it sucks for us, it definitely sucks for us, because I thought his versatility and what he brought to the floor for us, another playmaker on the court and then obviously the way he stretches the floor, I thought that was really good for us. And to lose him, I think that one stung a little bit. Nonetheless, extremely happy for him, he's back closer to his family, which I understand how important that is having a family of my own."

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When the Warriors began their offseason, they wanted to retain as many of their role players as possible. They re-signed center Kevon Looney but ended up losing a lot of valuable talent off the bench. 

First and foremost, Draymond always will be happy for any and all teammates that pursue a more lucrative opportunity, but certainly, each and every one of these departures have to sting a little bit. 

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