The 2022 NBA season is just about upon, with media day happening earlier this week and the first preseason games scheduled for the weekend featuring the defending champion, Golden State Warriors, and the Washington Wizards in Japan. As for Warriors’ All-Star forward Draymond Green, he’s got plenty of other things on his mind besides the start of a new season.
It was announced Wednesday morning that Green and Kevin Love have joined forces in conjunction with LeBron James and Maverick Carter’s LRMR Ventures to purchase a Major League Pickleball team. Other parts of this conglomerate include investment firm SC Holdings, The SpringHill Company CMO Paul Rivera, and Relevant Sports Group co-owner and CEO Daniel Sillman.
Green has branched out to a few off-court ventures over the past couple of years. He’s got his second full-time career already waiting for him in broadcasting, signing a deal with Turner Sports earlier this year and starting his podcast, “The Draymond Green Show,” on The Volume. Now the 32-year-old Saginaw, MI native is taking a stab at owning part of a professional franchise.
I know what many of you are saying: It’s pickleball. True, but the sport has recently gained much popularity across the country. Now different superstar athletes are joining in on the fun. Not as players but in ownership roles. Aside from Green, James, and Love, future NFL Hall of Famer Drew Brees recently joined an ownership group in purchasing Austin, TX-based Mad Drops Pickleball club that includes Lakers co-owner, Jim Buss.
Maybe pickleball on a national level is just a hot fad, but right now, the MLP is getting more eyes on their league because of big-time sports figures’ involvement. For Green, more specifically, it’s probably even more important to diversify his portfolio based on the current status of his Warriors deal and the contract extension Green feels he deserves.
Draymond is entering a contract year with a player option for next season. He’s scheduled to make $25.8 million this season and $27.6 million if he picks up his option for the 2023-24 campaign. Obviously, Green would love another extension, which would likely mean he’ll end his career in the bay area. He’s been outspoken (as usual) about wanting a max extension, but it looks like he’s realized that it probably won’t happen.
“I don’t think it will happen, and so for me, I’m just focused on this season and being as great as I can be, and as I know, I’m capable of being and winning another championship and reaching my individual goals that I have as well,” Green said.
Where the exact figures are concerned for Green’s extension, he’ll be eligible for a four-year deal worth up to $138 million. Warriors’ ownership isn’t paying that amount for a player who’s just about at the end of his prime. At this point, Green will be lucky to get $100 million over four years.
While Green was a significant factor for the Warriors last season, he did get benched by head coach Steve Kerr in the NBA Finals due to his ineffectiveness on the court. That happened on the biggest stage in basketball. That’s an ever-lasting memory for fans and those covering the sport.
Golden State will likely get an extension figured out for Green, but I doubt it’ll be anywhere near that $138 million he’ll be up for. He’d be 33 when that new money kicks in, and the last two, possibly three years of that deal, would probably be a waste in the minds of Warriors management. So, Green was just keeping it real when he said, “I don’t think it will happen.”
One thing we know that’s happening is Dray becoming part owner of a Major League Pickleball club. That’s a real thing, and it’s actually kind of awesome. Maybe we’ll get an exhibition at some point where Green, James, Love, and Brees take part in a match. If they want to get more eyes on the sport, something showcasing these big names would certainly help.