Draymond Green didn't want to focus on the Golden State Warriors' 30-point demolishing of the Cleveland Cavaliers on Monday night. He instead spent almost all of his postgame news conference sounding off on how the NBA treats its players and the double standard.
Green's comments were unprompted by any questions, but were instead lit by the Cavaliers opting to sit center Andre Drummond while they attempt to trade him. The Cavs reportedly have no plans to play him while they search for a trade partner ahead of the March 25 deadline.
Green called the situation "bulls***" and contrasted it to James Harden asking out of the Houston Rockets organization.
Green: Double standard in player treatment by NBA
"To watch Andre Drummond, before the game, sit on the sidelines, then go to the back, and to come out in street clothes because a team is going to trade him, it's bulls***," said Green, who was seen speaking with Drummond for a few minutes before tip-off. "Because when James Harden asks for a trade and essentially dogged it — ... no one is going to fight back that James was dogging it his last days in Houston — but he was castrated for wanting to go to a different team. And everybody destroyed that man.
"And yet a team can come and say, 'Oh, we want to trade a guy.' And then that guy is to go sit. And if he doesn't stay professional, then he's a cancer. And he's not good in someone's locker room, and he's the issue."
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst reported on Monday that the Cavaliers are keeping Jarrett Allen as their staring center and believe it's unfair to Drummond to limit his minutes. When general manager Koby Altman discussed the move with Drummond and his agent, they decided Drummond would no longer be active.
The Harden situation, as Green noted, is vastly different. Harden requested a trade after years of trying to win a title in Houston. When he wasn't dealt in the offseason, he didn't give his all in training camp or in the first five games of the season. Houston traded him to the Brooklyn Nets in a blockbuster deal last month.
The veteran was criticized for his demands and viewed as "disrespectful."
Green: Give players same respect, rights as teams
Green, 30, went on to note a handful of other instances he viewed negatively in player treatment. In February 2017, DeMarcus Cousins found out he was traded during an interview with reporters after the All-Star Game. A PR rep had to whisper the news in his ear.
In February 2019, the Dallas Mavericks pulled Harrison Barnes out of the fourth quarter of a contest because they had just dealt him to the Sacramento Kings. LeBron James held similar sentiments to Green at the time, writing on Instagram, "So let me guess this is cool cause they had to do what was best for the franchise right??? ... I just want this narrative to start to get REAL/CHANGE."
Green said Monday "we continue to let this happen."
"I got fined for stating my opinion on what should happen with another player, but teams can come out and continue to say, 'Oh we're trading guys; we're not playing you.' And yet we're to stay professional.
"At some point, as players we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights as the team can have. Because as a player you're the worst person in the world when you want a different situation. But a team can say, they're trading you and that man is to stay in shape, he is to stay professional, and if not his career is on the line. At some point this league has to protect the players from embarrassment like that."
Green, who has spent his entire nine-year career with the Warriors, called out the double standard in sides saying the want a trade. Teams can do so without any repercussions, like in the case of Drummond. Yet, Anthony Davis says publicly through his agent he's requesting a trade in January 2019 and he gets fined $50,000.
Mental health aspect of NBA trades
The three-time All-Star closed on comments about the mental health aspect of NBA trades and how players are treated when they're open and honest about their head space.
Nets star Kyrie Irving took time away from the team at the beginning of January and told reporters upon his return he was struggling with his mental health at the time. He was criticized for being away.
Green added that being a part of a trade, and one that is made public before it happens, can also be a drain on mental health and should be treated seriously. Just as the league has said in the past it would do for its players. Not being allowed to say certain things is also draining.
"Do you not think that affects someone mentally? As much as we put into this game to be great, to come out here to be in shape, to produce for fans every single night and most importantly to help your team win, do you think that doesn't affect someone mentally? But as players, we're told to, 'Oh you can't say that, you can't say this.' But teams can? It goes along the same lines of when everyone wants to say, 'Oh that young guy can't figure it out,' but no one wants to say, 'The organization can't figure it out.' At some point the players must be respected in this situations and it's ridiculous and I'm sick of seeing it.
"You all have a great night, I'll see you all tomorrow or Wednesday."
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