SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Calling it a “long” couple of weeks, Golden State guard Jordan Poole is ready to chase a repeat championship alongside Draymond Green after the fourth-year pro took a punch to the face from Green at practice.
Poole wasn’t injured by the violent punch on October 5. Green rejoined the team after a leave of absence, and he met with Poole in the days before they played together again last Friday night against the Nuggets.
“He apologised, and we plan on handling ourselves that way, we’re going to play basketball,” Poole said on Sunday in his first public remarks since the fight and after video leaked from 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 court. 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 finalised a USD140 million, four-year extension with the defending NBA champions on Monday, giving the guard something to celebrate and a bit of relief with a ring ceremony right around the corner.
Poole has previously referred to being “brothers” with Green and noted on Monday, “If I said it I meant it.”
“We’re here to play basketball, and our teammates and the coaching staff and the organisation, everybody, knows what it takes to win,” Poole said.
One of those teammates who will be with Poole for the near future is Andrew Wiggins, who also signed a four-year contract extension beginning for the 2023-24 campaign.
“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 season of 2019-20. “Pretty remarkable. You’re right, I never would have guessed it. His rookie year, he was lost, quite frankly. Most rookies are.”
Poole said he knew the time immediately after returning from two exhibition wins against the Wizards in Japan would be all about getting this deal done.
“No, the Draymond incident didn’t have any impact on how we moved through these things, these had been on-going discussions,” general manager Bob Myers said.
Before the fight, Green had said he didn’t expect his own extension before the season.
“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 issues there or any problems with that. I imagine he’s going to have a fantastic year, I actually think he will have a great year, he’s got a lot on the line.”