Marquese Chriss opens up about emotional Warriors release, NBA future


SACRAMENTO -- Marquese Chriss woke up Tuesday morning in basketball purgatory. In the shadow of Chase Center, he found himself in the unique position of living in his city of employment without a job. 

His current circumstance is the result of the Warriors' decision to waive him less than 12 hours earlier. The choice has little to do with his play, and more to do with Golden State's salary-cap situation. At the moment, the Warriors are hard-capped, and Chriss' non-guaranteed deal needed to be moved to place two-way guard Damion Lee on the roster. 

Four months ago, the former first-round pick came to the Bay Area as a reclamation project, battling a reputation of immaturity. After signing a veteran's minimum deal, he earned the team's final roster spot, becoming a frontcourt contributor for the battered Warriors. 

The location of Monday's decision held significance for Chriss. Golden 1 Center, the home of the Sacramento Kings, sits just 14 miles from the Sacramento suburb Elk Grove, where the forward starred at Pleasant Grove High School. It also marked the same place Chriss stood the last time his career was at a crossroads -- when he was traded from the Houston Rockets to the Cavaliers during a Sacramento road trip -- serving yet another reminder of the business he inhabits. 

"I mean, it sucked," Chriss told NBC Sports Bay Area Tuesday. "It was full circle but I think it makes it a little easier. I was able to see my family and take my mind off it."  

Now, Chriss is back in a similar position he was in summer, waiting for a call about another opportunity. In the meantime, he spoke with NBC Sports Bay Area about his time in Golden State and what's next. 

NBC Sports Bay Area: What are your current emotions at the moment?
Marquese Chriss: "I mean, disappointed. They were put in a tough position. That I understood that they would end up being in. But you know it is the business that we signed up for so things happen. So I'm going to make the most out of any situation I'm in next.

"We had a conversation a few days ago it was a possibility, so I was kind of already aware that it might happen. But like I said, you never really know and I kind of understood they were in a tough predicament and had to make a business decision."

Under the current salary-cap structure, the Warriors can sign you to a 10-day contract. Would you be open to that?
"We've had conversations about certain things to try and make things work but I think that's something that I would try to keep between myself and them, just because I don't know any situation that might come up.

"But who knows? I would like to be here. So eventually, if that happens, I would be all for it."

What was the biggest thing you took from your stint in Golden State?
"I think just being on a team where everybody really cared. I've been in situations where it was hard to go to work and it wasn't very fun. I've been able to enjoy myself and what I get to do again and play basketball for a living.

"And being in a winning organization where they have a goal and have a plan in mind and they're trying to work towards it, and I think it was cool and fun to be a part of."

Draymond Green went to bat for you to get on the team and has had your back for much of the season. What kind of presence was he for you?
"He's a great leader. That's the easiest way to say it. Not even specifically just for me. But I think if anyone was in that situation, I think he would've done the same thing because that's just the type of person he is.

"He sticks up for anybody. He's taught me a lot as far as about myself and about the ins and outs of playing and things like that. Like little gems I can keep and keep moving forward."

Do you think this stint changed the league-wide perception of you?
"Absolutely. I texted Bob [Myers] yesterday and I just told him I appreciated him because pretty much the whole summer, I was on the outside looking in. I had certain opportunities and certain places I could go to try and do the same things I did here, but I felt like coming here was the best opportunity for me and they put me in an opportunity to succeed from day one.

"I think just being here, it created a different narrative for myself."

[RELATED: What we learned about Warriors in fifth straight loss]

What's the biggest thing you learned about yourself?
"I think that I was capable of persevering through a lot of adversity that I don't think I would have considered, and that I was mentally stronger than I could have envisioned. Because the last year has been a hell of a rollercoaster ride. I think the biggest thing for me is searching for some consistency and some stability.

"I think that I started at one point to believe some of the little chitter-chatter that some were saying about me and not believing in myself as much as I should have. So I think being here helped me rewrite the narrative." 

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