The NBA announced that Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green was suspended indefinitely after he punched Phoenix Suns player Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a game on Tuesday night.
Green received a flagrant foul 2 for hitting Nurkic and was subsequently ejected for the third time this season. The indefinite suspension “takes into account Green’s repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts,” according to an NBA statement.
The league said he would be required to meet “certain league and team conditions” before returning to play.
Green, Warriors general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Green’s agent Rich Paul are expected to meet Thursday to begin discussing a counseling and assistance path for Green moving forward, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The league did not want to put a specific number on the suspension, but it gave Green the time he needed to deal with the challenges he faces.
Green will be charged $153,941 per game if his suspension is less than 20 games and $202,922 per game if it is more than 20 games.
Green’s three ejections are tied for the most in a single season. His first foul came after he committed two technical fouls against the Cleveland Cavaliers on November 11. The second occurred against the Minnesota Timberwolves on November 14 when he placed Rudy Gobert in a headlock. The NBA suspended Green for five games following the latest incident, with the league citing Green’s history as a repeat offender throughout the duration of the suspension.
Green was ejected with 8:23 left in the third quarter on Tuesday after he swung and hit Nurkic in the head while defending him. At first, with Green’s back turned to Nurkic, he repeatedly turned Nurkic off of him. Eventually, Green turned around and hit Nurkic in the head with his fist. Officials deemed Foul 2 blatant after reviewing the video.
Green said after the match: “I am not one of those people who apologize for the things I intended to do, but I apologize to Youssef because I did not mean to hit him.” “I sell calls with my arm… so I was selling the call… and I swung and unfortunately I hit him.”
The Warriors have made it clear to Green that they need him on the floor. That need is greater now than ever, as Golden State sits at 10-13, with two of its most important players, Klay Thompson and Andrew Wiggins, struggling.
“We need him. We need Draymond. He knows it,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said on Tuesday. “We’ve talked to him. He has to find a way to maintain his balance and be there for his teammates.”
Green acknowledged Kerr’s letter.
“Like I said, if I was going to do this, I would feel bad not being there,” Green said. “But my intentions were only to sell the ticket.”
The Warriors lost leverage in disciplining Green after failing to hold him accountable for punching former teammate Jordan Poole in training camp last year, a source told ESPN last month.
When Green stomped on Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis during the first round of the playoffs last season, the Warriors stood up and stood by him. They did the same after the incident with Gobert in November, though Kerr said his actions were “inexcusable.”
Information from ESPN’s Bobby Marks is included in this report.
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