Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green has begun receiving counseling and is expected to remain sidelined by suspension for at least the next three weeks, league sources said.
The NBA on Wednesday announced an indefinite suspension for Green for punching Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the face during a game the night before. Joe Dumars, the NBA's executive vice president and head of basketball operations, said in a statement that Green's “repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts” was a factor in the decision.
League sources said Green, 33, was expected to receive counseling and work with the Warriors and the NBA while he was suspended. People close to Green and the organization said the four-time NBA champion has been understanding and is prepared to undergo the process necessary to return to the team at full capacity. Those sources did not disclose the details of Green's advice out of respect for his privacy.
A three-week period would mean his suspension would extend for approximately 12 games.
Green's latest incident, the 20th ejection of his career, came in the third quarter of Tuesday's game between the Warriors and the Suns. Green appeared to be struggling for position in the post against Nurkić near the corner, he turned and nailed Nurkić in the face with a wild right arm. Nurkić fell and remained on the ground for about a minute.
Officials stopped the game for a review, which didn't take long. Green was sent off and did not even contest it. He ran straight to the locker room.
After the match, Green apologized to Nurkić. He said it wasn't intentional and that he was trying to sell a foul by waving his arms.
“As you know, I am not one to apologize for the things I wanted to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf. Because I didn't mean to hit him,” Green said. “I sell calls with my arms.”
Green's suspension is the sixth of his NBA career and the second this season. The league also suspended Green for five games in November for his involvement in an altercation against the Minnesota Timberwolves, when Green put Rudy Gobert in a headlock. He served two separate one-game suspensions last season: one for collecting 16 technical fouls and a second in the playoffs for stepping on Sacramento Kings power forward Domantas Sabonis.
A look at Draymond Green's suspensions
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he thought an indefinite suspension for Green made sense to help the 12-year veteran make a change.
“For me, this is more than basketball. It’s about helping Draymond,” Kerr said. “I think it's an opportunity for Draymond to step away and make a change in his approach and his life, and that's not an easy thing to do. That's not something you say, 'Okay, five games and then it'll be fine.'”
The Warriors (12-14) are 2-1 since Green's ejection. They finished 2-3 during their previous five-game suspension.
(Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
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