December 2, 2022

For the first time since being punched in the face by Draymond Green during training camp, Golden State Warriors guard Jordan Poole took questions from the media and addressed the situation which has put the defending champions front and center for all the wrong reasons. 

“[Draymond] apologized,” Poole said. “[It was] professional, and we plan on handling ourselves that way. We’re here to play basketball and everybody in the locker room and on the team knows what it takes to win a championship and we’re gonna do that on the court. That’s really all I have to say on the matter. We’re here to win a championship and keep hanging banners.”

Earlier this month, reports broke that Green and Poole had been involved in an incident during practice. Soon, the video was released that showed it was more serious the anyone outside the organization knew. After Green got in Poole’s face along the sideline, the young guard pushed him away and Green responded with a ferocious punch. Somehow, Poole was not seriously injured. 

Still, the violence of the incident, the discrepancy in age, size, team role and the contractual drama made this a serious situation the Warriors had to figure out on the fly. Green took a leave of absence during camp and was ultimately fined but not suspended for any regular season games. 

“We feel like this is the best way, after assessing everything, for us to move forward,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said on Tuesday. “It’s never easy. No matter what decision you make in a situation like this, it’s not gonna be perfect. This is the biggest crisis that we’ve ever had, since I’ve been coach here — really serious stuff.

” … We take great pride in what we’ve built here — the continuity, the culture — and there’s no way around it, that culture has been damaged by this incident. And so you have to work to repair that. You have to find that vibe again, every day.”

” … Draymond and I have been together for eight years. We’ve had plenty of run-ins. We’ve won championships together, we’ve lost championships together. We’ve been through an awful lot together. I trust him. He broke our trust with this incident, but I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he’s earned that — and I think our team feels the same way. So he knows he needs to regain that.”

Green apologized to the team and had a personal conversation with Poole, which the latter acknowledged on Sunday. 

“I’m going to take a few days, or, I don’t know how many days,” Green said upon stepping away from the team. “But just take some time to myself, allow our team to start their healing process, but take some time to myself, get deep in my thoughts and do things that I have to do to continue to work on me.

“I’m going to continue to stay away, as I’ve been away. And, you know, continue to do work on myself, as I always like to do. But also just to give guys space. It’s a big deal. It’s not like you just kind of keep on pushing. The reality is there is no right or wrong time. … But in saying that, I do want to give my team their space, I want to give Jordan some space. But also just take a few days, or whatever that is, and just continue to work on myself and think about the things I need to think about, and really just take some time to let everything breathe.”

The Warriors have tried to display a united front to the public in recent days, and only they will know just how much damage has been done behind the scenes. We will get a chance to see for ourselves how it does or does not impact their play on Tuesday when they face the Los Angeles Lakers on opening night. 

As for Poole, he’ll be ready to go and boosted by a brand new contract extension worth $140 million over four years. The Warriors made the deal official on Sunday, completing a whirlwind three years for Poole who went from a “lost” rookie according to Kerr to a $100M man. 

“First I wanted to get the deal done,” Poole said. “I love it here in the Bay and just really exciting. Great organization, great group. We won a championship too; it would be pretty crazy to want to leave a team that won a championship. We got our guys coming back and we’re excited, we want to do it all over again.” 

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