Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has been suspended indefinitely by the NBA after striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a game on Tuesday night. The incident occurred late in the second quarter after Nurkic set a hard screen on Green. Green responded by aggressively swinging his arm and making contact with Nurkic’s face, prompting his ejection.
Altercation Led to Indefinite Suspension
The suspension was announced by the league office on Thursday morning. This is Green’s third ejection of the season after two technical fouls this past weekend. The Warriors subsequently announced they supported the NBA’s decision.
“We were extremely disappointed to learn of Draymond Green’s suspension,” the Warriors statement read. “We fully cooperated with the league’s review process regarding this matter and support the decision.”
While the Warriors have remained vague on the length of Green’s suspension, coach Steve Kerr indicated it could be significant.
“He’s going to have to take some time away,” Kerr said. “And how long, we don’t know, but as far as any annoucement, there’s not going to be an announcement. But you have to assume he won’t be back anytime soon.”
Kerr added that he hoped Green would use the time off as a chance for self-reflection.
“The hope is that this is… a chance for him to have a break and get away and come back fresh,” he said.
| Suspension Details |
| ————- |
| Length | Indefinite – “could be significant time away” per Kerr |
| Reason | Striking Jusuf Nurkic in face during game |
| Previous incidents this season | Two technical fouls this past weekend, third ejection of season |
Green declined to speak with reporters after Tuesday’s game. He took to Twitter on Thursday, but did not issue a direct apology. Instead he tweeted, “Don’t let your emotions get the best of you.”
Lead Up to the Incident
Tensions began early in Tuesday’s matchup, as Green was seen jawing with Suns players during the pregame warmups. Less than three minutes into the first quarter, Nurkic set a screen on Green that led to more words being exchanged between the two.
Later in the second quarter, Nurkic set another screen on Green while trying to free guard Devin Booker. As Nurkic turned upcourt, Green swung forcefully, striking Nurkic across the left cheek with an open hand.
After review, officials assessed Green with a Flagrant Foul 2 and ejected him from the game. Kerr was seen pleading with officials not to eject Green, but the call stood. The Warriors were able to hold on and beat the Suns in a matchup of the Western Conference’s top teams, improving their league-best record to 21-4.
This incident comes in the midst of Green’s worst offensive season since his rookie year, averaging career lows in points (7.3), rebounds (6.7), shooting percentage (44.7%) and PER (12.6). His ejection against Phoenix was Green’s second this month. He previously was ejected on December 2nd after receiving back-to-back technical fouls in a win over Houston.
| Draymond Green 2022-23 Stats |
| ————- |————-|
| 7.3 PPG | 6.7 RPG | 5.3 APG |2.9 TOPG | 44.7 FG% |
Reaction from Warriors, Rivals, and Media Personalities
The suspension drew reactions from figures across the NBA landscape.
- Steph Curry declined to discuss the altercation in detail after the game, only saying “we’ve got to hold each other accountable.”
- Coach Kerr said “Draymond understands that his actions were unacceptable…We all need to do better controlling our emotions in the heat of battle.”
- Kevin Durant tweeted that “Somebody need to pull him to the side before he do something really stupid and mess up the future for himself and the Warriors.”
- Gilbert Arenas said on his podcast that “Dray should hit more Europeans…Don’t let it linger too long because hands end careers in America.”
- The Athletic termed it “An indefensible moment” for Green that could alter his legacy, while ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith questioned whether Curry’s leadership contributed to the incident.
The reactions highlight the complex layers to an altercation that now puts Green’s and the Warriors’ seasons at a crossroads.
What Happens Next for Draymond and Warriors?
At 21-4, the defending champion Warriors own the NBA’s best record by a significant margin. However, Curry and the Warriors have downplayed concerns over Green’s erratic behavior affecting their title hopes.
”There is no panic button,” Curry said after the Suns win. ”We’re going to figure it out because we have the opportunity to.”
Still, Kerr’s uncertain comments indicate the team is prepared to be without Green for an extended stretch. The Warriors next face Eastern Conference contenders Milwaukee and Indiana.
While a minimum Green suspension of around 5 games is plausible, an indefinite suspension leaves open the possibility for even longer based on internal team discussions and meetings with the league.
As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes, “Any suspension that includes Draymond Green missing games will cost him $404,738 per game missed.” A 5-game suspension would cost Green over $2 million, with lost earnings accruing further beyond that.
For the 32-year-old Green, the latest incident raises concerns over whether his fiery playing style has crossed over into genuine hostility that hurts the team. Green certainly wouldn’t be the first aging star to decline rapidly. Without a sudden return to Defensive Player of the Year form, TNT’s Charles Barkley even floated that this could be Green’s last season.
On Green’s end, the time off offers a prime chance for introspection over what matters most – personal success, or chasing a fifth championship. How Green proceeds could define his legacy far beyond any single suspension.
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