Draymond Green

Kerr believes Dray knows career is ‘on the line' in suspension return

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Draymond Green has plenty to prove when he returns to the court for the Warriors.

After being reinstated by the NBA from an "indefinite" suspension this past Saturday, the Golden State veteran addressed the media for the first time Tuesday and vowed to control his antics on the floor moving forward. In the wake of Green's fourth suspension since March 2023, coach Steve Kerr believes his star forward truly will make a change this time around -- because he has no choice.

"I think Draymond knows his career is on the line. It really is," Kerr said Tuesday on 95.7 The Game's "Willard and Dibs." "Based on what's happened over the last year, based on the recent suspension, based on everything that's gone on -- I think he recognizes that it is different this time. This wasn't a suspension for getting too many technicals. This wasn't a suspension for one Flagrant foul. This was different.

"This really put him on notice. He's put himself on notice. That's what makes this different. And that's why his response has to be what it's got to be."

Things certainly are different now than when Green served a one-game suspension for surpassing the season-long technical foul limit last March. They're also different from the time he was suspended from Game 3 of the Warriors' opening-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings in April.

Green's five-game suspension in November for placing Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert in a headlock was cause for concern, but striking Phoenix Suns big man Jusuf Nurkić in the face during a Dec. 12 game was the straw that broke the camel's back.

There have been promises from Green before -- for example, after he punched former Warriors guard Jordan Poole in the face during practice before the 2022-23 NBA season. But the fiery star defender has done the work and now is working on himself by going to therapy because, as Kerr said, the stakes are much higher.

Green will be back the court with the Warriors when he's ready, Kerr told reporters Tuesday. And the Warriors forward is thankful for the indefinite nature of his suspension, which lasted 12 games, as it allowed him to partake in the self-reflection necessary to get back on the court.

"A part of the 'indefinite' in returning is being in a better space," Green told reporters Tuesday. "To allow my mind to process what it looks like getting in a better space, I think you're then able to sit with those thoughts ... It allowed me to come to some realizations that I needed and wanted to come to."

It's unclear exactly when Green will play his next game. But the four-time NBA champion and his longtime coach both believe his off-court work will show up on the floor.

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