The Golden State Warriors are fresh off a championship run in 2021-22, but that hasn’t stopped dysfunction from creeping into the locker room.
Late Wednesday night, reports emerged that guard Jordan Poole and big man Draymond Green engaged in a physical altercation. It all culminated in the latter assaulting the former in a way all parties involved seem to agree was inappropriate.
While the news caught some off guard, others who had been falling the Warriors over the past few months were less surprised.
There have been a number of red flags.
Recently, Anthony Slater of The Athletic wrote about Golden State’s overseas trek to Japan. One anecdote that stood out was a three-point competition between Klay Thompson and Poole.
“The Wizards and Warriors were each told to send a pair of two-player teams out for the 3-point contest. Washington went with Jordan Schakel and Kyle Kuzma, followed by Corey Kispert and Johnny Davis. Both flopped,” Slater wrote.
“The Warriors opened with Moses Moody and Jordan Poole, the biggest competitors to Curry and Thompson. As the first three groups went, an amped-up Thompson stretched near the bench area and wandered around with that anxious muttering vibe he often exudes when he’s trying to get in a zone.
“Somewhat surprisingly — since the night had been low-effort for all involved to that point — you could tell Thompson was really into it. He wanted to perform well in his only on-court event of the weekend. But he’d also later reveal another source of motivation. ‘It was nice to humble Jordan Poole,’ Thompson said.”
Later on, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr commented on possible friction between Poole and the team’s vets.
“It’s healthy,” Kerr said.
“Jordan now is part of the group. You have to earn that by performing in the playoffs. I think that’s where the vets will really embrace you. But at the same time, you gotta back it up every year.
“I think there’s a healthy vibe right now of Jordan feeling like he’s a big part of the group, but the older guys still having fun with him.”
Now let’s fast-forward to what happened on Wednesday. Green and Poole had their little squabble. In the immediate aftermath, damage-control began.
“Draymond Green was apologetic in aftermath of the altercation with Jordan Poole, but there was a buildup stemming from teammates noticing a change in Poole’s behavior throughout camp with the guard on the verge of securing a lucrative extension,” Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports reported.
Let’s also not forget, Green and Poole already had one blow-up. This one took place on the Warriors bench last year:
It’s very clear that something was building here for a while, and it’s not just about Green. Obviously Warriors vets feel some type of way about Poole.
Poole is definitely a unique character. Between his affinity for the ladies and desire to get paid, he is a walking headline-maker. But maybe those same qualities that make him interesting also make him unbearable for his teammates.
— Game 7 (@game7__) October 5, 2022
It will be interesting to see where this situation goes from here. One other NBA team has already expressed a desire to steal Poole from the Warriors.
Will this altercation between Green and Poole push all sides into making some kind of trade?
Time will tell.