‘We’re going to play basketball’; Jordan Poole ready to move on from green row

SAN FRANCISCO – Golden State guard Jordan Poole is calling it a “long” couple of weeks and is ready to chase a repeat championship with Draymond Green after the fourth-year pro took a punch to the face from Green in practice.

Poole was not injured in the fierce battle on 5 October. Green returned to the team after a leave of absence, and he met with Poole in the days before they played together again Friday night against the Nuggets.

“He apologized and we plan to handle ourselves the way we’re going to play basketball,” Poole said Sunday in his first public remarks since the game and after video was leaked of the incident. “Everybody in the locker room and on our team knows what it takes to win a championship and we’re going to do that on the field. That’s really all I have to say on the matter, we’re here to win a championship and keep hanging banners.”

The 23-year-old Poole finalized a four-year, $140 million extension with the defending NBA champions on Sunday, giving the guard something to celebrate and a bit of relief with a ring ceremony just around the corner.

Poole has previously referred to being “brothers” with Green, remarking on Sunday: “If I said it, I meant it.”

“We’re here to play basketball and our teammates and the coaching staff and the organization, everybody knows what it takes to win,” Poole said.

One of the team-mates who will be joining Poole in the near future is Andrew Wiggins, who also signed a four-year contract extension starting for the 2023-2024 campaign. Golden State hosts the Lakers on Tuesday night to open the season.

“Obviously, this is life-changing for Jordan and his family,” coach Steve Kerr said of Poole, who toiled through the G League as a rookie in the pandemic-interrupted 2019-20 season. “Pretty remarkable. You’re right, I never would have guessed. His rookie year, he was honestly lost. Most rookies are.”

Poole said he knew the time immediately after returning from two exhibition wins against the Wizards in Japan would be about getting this deal done.

“No, the Draymond incident had no impact on how we moved through these things, those had been ongoing discussions,” general manager Bob Myers said.

Before the game, Green had said he did not expect his own extension before the season. He and Myers spoke Sunday.

“Draymond’s in a great spot. He’s got a player option. It’s a great position for a player to be in. You control your own destiny,” Myers said. “I think he’s excited about the year and he wants to win another championship. He sees the opportunity in front of him. I talked to him this morning, I don’t sense any problems there or problems with that. I imagine he goes to have a great year, I actually think he’s going to have a good year, he’s got a lot on the line. Usually when Draymond has a lot on the line, he performs.”

Kerr will urge Poole to play better defense with the hope of using him up to 32 minutes a game from the bench.

Poole has proven to be a talented scoring threat. He had 30 and 29 points, respectively, in his first two career playoff games last spring against Denver, just missing a chance to become the first Warriors player ever to score 30 in his first two playoff games.

Poole and Wiggins quickly became close when Wiggins arrived in a trade from the Timberwolves in February 2020. They both knew those big paydays were coming, though Myers wasn’t sure either would make it.

“It wouldn’t have been as special if we didn’t win a championship,” said Poole, who credited his “mental toughness” and belief for overcoming every obstacle that comes his way.

“It’s a blessing, I’m happy for him,” Wiggins said. “It’s a joy… I’m happy here. We have a chance to do something special.”

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