Minutes after Thursday morning’s shootaround, minutes before Draymond Green wandered over to reporters, the outspoken Warriors forward had an impromptu on-court conference with general manager Bob Myers and coach Steve Kerr.
On Wednesday afternoon, the NBA announced its new labor deal with the player’s union. It came with almost unanimous praise. But Green voiced displeasure, sending out a string of tweets questioning the agreement.
Were Myers and Kerr trying to help explain some of the nuances of the new CBA? Were they trying to get a better feeling of what Green was ticked about? Were they trying to convince him to tame his upcoming stance about it with reporters?
We’ll never know. But Green — big shocker here — didn’t hold back in his public stance. For 10-plus minutes, Green basically railed against one issue again and again: the treatment of minimum, lower-tier NBA players.
Details of the new agreement have surfaced over the past 24 hours. It includes a higher minimum salary, higher exceptions and a pair of additional “two-way” roster spots, allowing fringe guys to flip back and forth between the D-League. So some help has come. But to Green, who admittedly said he hasn’t mastered the nuances of the new agreement, it’s not enough.
Here is the unfiltered QA with Green explaining his stance.
Sounded like you weren’t pleased with the new labor deal?
“I’m not. For several reasons. It’s not about me. I am by no means mad about my salary. I’m blessed. I get to play the game I love for a living and make a lot of money doing it. So to sit here and act like I’m mad at what I make, it’s not about me. That’s not what I’m mad about. When I look at these things, I look at a guy like Ian Clark or a James Michael McAdoo, the other guys and yet we’re all fortunate. At the minimum, we’re making, what, $600,000 to play basketball. I’m not going to sit here and act like I’m pissed off that anyone is making that because that’s less than 2 percent of America making that. We’re all blessed. But when you sit and look at the circumstances about how much money is involved in this league, in terms of that, I’m upset. It’s not about, like I said, where my status is at as an All-Star. You’ll be taken care of. As a superstar in this league, you’ll be taken care of. It’s not about us, it’s more so about the guys who aren’t on that level. When I look at my career, I didn’t expect to be at this level I’m at now. I kind of identify with those guys who haven’t made it to the level I’ve been fortunate enough to make it to. So when I think of contract negotiations in the CBA, I think about them, how can we help them. How can we help the guys who aren’t making as much make more? I left money on the table. So it’s not a matter of me making money. If I can’t live the rest of my life off my contract, that’s my fault. That’s nobody else’s fault. It’s not about me being mad for me. It’s about me being frustrated for other guys. When we go in these negotiations, guys are overlooked. I think it’s more about helping these guys be in better standing than what it is for an All-Star or top two or three guys on a team. Those guys will always be taken care of.”
They did raise a lot of the minimum salaries, gone up about 50 percent, raised some of the other exceptions. What is it you would’ve liked to see?
“I’m not going to go into specifics. I just got all these details last night. I spent a lot of yesterday evening going over these things, breaking down the memo I was sent of these changes. And things are going up. But they’re going up based on money that the league is making. They’re not going up on money the league is making, they’re not going up based on let’s take better care of these guys.”
So you’d like to see, for example, a higher minimum salary?
“It’s not even necessarily that it’s a higher minimum salary. There could be different structure to have not as many minimum players. Right now, there’s like a max and a minimum and a couple in between. I think there could be different structures to help those minimum guys make more and not be a minimum player. But like I said, there’s a lot of things that I’m still going over that I can’t really speak to every specific right now. I’m still reading over these things. Because there’s a lot. I want to be informed on everything that’s going on. I want to try to help guys who aren’t an All-Star, who aren’t a top-15 player in the league. How do we help 100 to 200 top players in the league? That’s more my focus, my frustration that I expressed. Everyone will probably say, oh, Draymond probably think he should make more money. I am doing just fine. It’s about everything else. How do you help the next guy up? How do you help put someone else in a better situation?”
Steph (Curry) and Andre (Iguodala) are in the executive committee. Is that something down the road you’d like to get involved in down the road to have a better say?
“Yeah I do. That is definitely something I want to do. Because like I said, I stand in the category of, if I wanted to take a max deal on my last deal, I could’ve got a max deal. So I stand in the category of maybe a max guy but I don’t have that mindset. I have the mindset of a mid-level guy or a minimum guy. My path here wasn’t expected, my path wasn’t that I was going to the NBA and making $16 million a year. So I identify more with those guys and I want to be a voice for them. I want to help them elevate their status in the league. That’s my goal. Help these younger guys in this league. You got guys that come in and stay in this league two years. How do you help that two years be better for them? Those are some of my concerns. But there’s a lot of stuff to still go over. There are some vague definitions in there. Got to still dissect those and figure out what they are. So to speak to every little detail right now, I honestly couldn’t. I can’t. Because it’s a lot. And it’s impossible to have every detail after 14 hours of looking at it.”
The (basketball related income) split. Is that something
I could really care less about the BRI. That stuff will get figured out, has nothing to do with me. It’s not really something I dive into, say, man, we should get more percent. That’s water under the bridge to me. Like I said, my focus is always trying to help everyone else, trying to better someone else’s life. And let me restate, everybody in the NBA, if you’re in the NBA, you’re making a good living. But at the same time, if you can help some guys do better, why not help them? That’s my whole vision on it. That’s where I stand on it. That’s where I’m at. No one can talk me out of it. No one can change my mind on it. Because without all 15 guys, yeah, you can be an All-Star, you can be a nice player. But without these guys, you can’t practice, you can’t get a sub, you can’t go through 82 games playing 48 minutes a game. If you get hurt, nobody’s there to step in for you. Every guy matters and I think every guy should be taken care of in the grand scheme of things. I think there’s a fine line between Draymond’s complaining about someone making a great living and actually understanding how much money is actually involved. My complaint is not one of everybody is not making a good living. It’s that there is a good living in this for everyone, but for some it can be better. How do we help elevate those guys who are on the lower end of the totem pole? I think that should always be a focus. That’s my argument. It’s not to come off as everybody is not living good. No. You’re living pretty good if you’re in the NBA. I don’t want someone to look at me and say that I am inconsiderate about everyone else’s life outside the NBA. I grew up in a household where my mom made $16,000 a year. I know the struggle. I know how to keep those things in perspective and I do keep it into perspective. But I do look at things in a business standpoint and I do understand how much money is going around the NBA on a year to year basis. Within that realm of how much money is going around, you can elevate those guys.”
What do you do from here as your role as far as ratification in the next month or so?
“I’m not sure. I have to figure out a few more details that I want to hone in on that I want to focus on, get more awareness about. I don’t want to be this guy that tries to raise this awareness that makes us go into a lockout and makes fans miss a game. I don’t think that’s always necessary either. At the same time, I think some guys in this league can be better taken care of. I want to be a voice for them. To help them be better taken care of. I’ve never been a guy who has said OK about stuff. That’s not me. That’s not my personality. If I think something’s wrong, I express that. I’m willing to do whatever I can to try to help better that. I think everyone should be pushed to make better decisions. If I make a bad play, Steve Kerr going to call me on it. Period. My teammates are going to call me on it. Period. Everyone should be held accountable. In these situations, a lot of times people aren’t held accountable and you end up with the same old story. It’s time for someone to step up and help guys out. That’s my main goal, that’s my main focus. Does that happen with this CBA? No. Probably not. Maybe. But at some point, who is going to step up and try to help out everyone else as opposed to everyone always being there for themselves.”
You had a chance to talke to James Michael McAdoo
I don’t need to talk to James Michael McAdoo or Patrick McCaw. They’re blessed to be in the NBA. No one’s going to run around complaining. I’d be an idiot to run around complaining about my pay. I’d look really stupid. They’re not going to run around saying, ‘Oh, I don’t make enough money.’ I have my own perspective and my own views. I don’t need to say, ‘Hey, Mac, you think you making enough money?’ No one’s greedy. Nobody’s feeling like, ‘This is some bull!’ We’re blessed to be in this situation. We’re not going to run around complaining, no matter if you are James Michael McAdoo or Steph Curry.”
Draymond Green on the labor deal: “I’m not (pleased)” pic.twitter.com/k9xpbqAOSN
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 15, 2016
More Draymond Green on the labor deal. Says it’s not necessarily about BRI split, but about helping minimum players pic.twitter.com/Q2WIKReBx1
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 15, 2016
Draymond Green: “When we go in these negotiations, guys are overlooked” pic.twitter.com/8gPgl5lmW4
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) December 15, 2016