It was high drama at the time, and it continued, if only as a backdrop, throughout the season. The context was important. Prior to the season, Poole was up for a contract extension, and with Green potentially in the final year of his own deal (he had a player option for 2023-24), and thus an impending free agent, there was a distinct possibility that the financially-capped Warriors would not commit long-term money to both.
You start messing with anyone's money and there's usually going to be a problem. Obviously Green would feel disrespected that Poole would get paid over his being arguably the second-most important player on at least two championship teams and the third-most important, at worst, on two more. But Poole was the hot young player at the time. And a pretty brash one at that. It was not hard to imagine him saying something that would push the hot-tempered Green over the edge.
So, what did Poole say?
On Friday, longtime and credible reporter Pablo Torre, while speaking on his podcast Pablo Torre Finds Out with Academy Award winning documentary filmmaker Ezra Edelman (O.J. Made in America), revealed that Poole said to Green: "You're an expensive backpack for 30." Which is to say, Green, who cost the Warriors north of $25 million last season, was being carried by Stephen Curry (No. 30).
What did Jordan Poole REALLY tell Draymond Green, before the punch seen 'round the world?— Pablo Torre Finds Out (@pablofindsout) September 29, 2023
"You're an expensive backpack for 30," aka Steph Curry, according to @PabloFindsOut sources.
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So, yeah. Edelman receives a text message from someone in the know revealing what Poole said to Green. Torre is with Edelman at dinner and sees the text message. Perhaps that could feel a bit gossipy.
But then Torre, as you'll hear if you go to the 29-minute mark of the full interview below, had a separate Warriors official, as a second source, "independently confirm" that "this phrase has in fact been floating around the [Warriors] organization as the tipping point, the thing that set off Draymond."
Importantly, the official, as Torre goes on to say, didn't confirm that this was what was said, as he didn't hear it personally; only that this was the talk around the organization. So at the very least, this is what is believed inside the Warriors' walls to be the thing that Poole said to Green.
First off, if this is what Poole said, what a monster line. It's a ridiculous assertion, mind you. The Warriors don't win a single championship without Green. But this has long been enough of a talking point -- that Green has disproportionately benefited from his position on the Warriors -- that you can understand how touchy Green would be to hearing such nonsense from a guy like Poole.
So then this happened.
Poole, of course, has since been traded to the Washington Wizards while Green just signed a four-year, $100M deal with the Warriors. Who knows how much the punch had to do with Golden State moving off Poole. Surely there was still bad blood. That was evident all season. If one of them had to go, Poole was the one who was, who is, an abysmal defender and, at times, actively harmful postseason player. I am of the belief that Golden State chose wisely.
Either way, the basketball stuff is neither here nor there with regard to this revelation. The blatant disrespect of Poole saying this to Green (if indeed this was what he said) is both unbelievable and hilarious. You almost have to respect the guy's gall. Almost. But in the end, it landed him a haymaker to the grill and a one-way ticket to one of the worst teams in the league.