The Warriors will be without forward Draymond Green for the next five games after he was suspended by the NBA following an on-court altercation during Tuesday's 104-101 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves. Rudy Gobert grabbed Klay Thompson, prompting Green to wrap his arm around Gobert's neck, placing him in a headlock that lasted for several seconds.
Gobert was initially ruled a peacemaker and received no punishment from officials during the game, but he was fined $25,000 -- as were Thompson and Timberwolves forward Jaden McDaniels -- for his role in the incident. Green's punishment was by far the most severe, and his "history of unsportsmanlike acts" was cited in the league's ruling, as it was when he received a one-game suspension for stomping on the chest of Domantas Sabonis during Golden State's first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings this past April.
Ahead of Thursday's matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder -- the first game of Green's suspension -- Warriors head coach Steve Kerr offered his thoughts on the ruling, saying that Green "took it too far" with his actions and that the punishment is "deserved."
"Draymond has to find a way to not cross the line," Kerr said before the game. "I'm not talking about getting an ejection or getting a technical. I'm talking about a physical act of violence. That's inexcusable. So we have to do everything we can to give him the help and the assistance that he needs to be able to draw that distinction between being an incredible competitor, which he's always been -- it's why he's in the position he is, it's why he's the player he is. But, he can't cross that line. And he crossed it the other night, for sure."
Following Tuesday's game, Kerr said that he felt Green was responding to Gobert having his hands on Thompson's neck, which provoked the headlock. With a couple of days to review the incident and get some perspective, it appears Kerr has slightly changed his tune.
"I didn't have a problem with [Green] getting Rudy off of Klay, because the rule of thumb is you don't put your hands on a player on the other team," Kerr said. "You get your own guy. So I thought Rudy was wrong for putting his arms on Klay, regardless of his intentions. So I had no problem with Draymond getting him off of him.
"But, he's got to let go, and he hung on for six-seven seconds. It was a terrible visual for the league, for Draymond, for everybody. Draymond was wrong. He knows that. It's a bad look. The five games is deserved, and we move forward."
It hasn't been a good run for Green, who has been involved in three major physical altercations in little more than a year. Tuesday's incident and the stomp on Sabonis were preceded by Green punching then-teammate Jordan Poole in the face during training camp last October. For the punch, Green received an unofficial suspension of one week away from the team and a fine of an undisclosed amount. He did not miss any games.
In addition to two upcoming matchups with Oklahoma City on Thursday and Saturday, Green will miss games against the Rockets, Suns and Spurs while serving his suspension. He will be eligible to return for Golden State's Nov. 28 matchup, the Warriors' final In-Season Tournament contest, against the Kings in Sacramento.