Joe Dumars cites Draymond Green's history, 'excessive' act as reasons for suspension

ByAdrian Wojnarowski ESPN logo
Wednesday, April 19, 2023

The NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations, Joe Dumars, said Draymond Green's "excessive and over-the-top actions" and his history as a "repeat offender" were instrumental in the league's decision to suspend him for Game 3 of the Golden State Warriors' Western Conference first-round series against the Sacramento Kings.

"Here's what it came down to: excessive and over-the-top actions, conduct detrimental and a repeat offender," Dumars told ESPN in a phone interview Wednesday morning. "That's what separates this where you end up with a suspension."

The NBA suspended Green after he stepped down hard on Domantas Sabonis' chest in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game, an act that earned him an ejection from the Warriors' Game 2 loss.

Green's history -- including 163 career technical fouls, 17 ejections and now four suspensions -- played a significant part in the decision.

Asked about the gravity of the circumstances surrounding the decision -- the Warriors trailing 2-0 in the best-of-seven series to the Kings -- Dumars told ESPN: "You know what the situation is, but you have to set that aside and look at the facts in front of you. ... Repeat offender weighs as heavy as anything."

When asked whether the league would've administered punishment differently had it been a player without Green's history of on-court transgressions, Dumars told ESPN: "It may have been, but the act itself still would have been looked at in a serious way -- stomping on a guy's chest. On the back end of this act, you add repeat offender and that's how you end up getting to a suspension."

Dumars acknowledged that Green's behavior in the aftermath of his ejection -- including a short period of taunting and further riling up the Sacramento fans -- played a factor, but conceded that those actions alone wouldn't have triggered a league office conversation on further punishment. NBA commissioner Adam Silver was courtside for the game and witnessed the entirety of the episode.

"That was some extra onto it that he didn't need to do," Dumars said. "Not helpful."

League investigators interviewed Green and Sabonis, among others, on Tuesday and shared a report with Dumars, who heads the league's disciplinary decision-making.

After Sabonis lost his footing and fell in the painted area, he grabbed Green's right leg. Green first shook free of Sabonis' grip before landing a hard step right on Sabonis' chest. Sabonis stayed down for several minutes, and tests eventually revealed a bruised sternum.

Asked whether Sabonis' apparent injury played a part in the process, Dumars told ESPN: "It plays a part -- you don't ignore that."

Sabonis was called for a technical foul for clutching onto Green's leg, and Green was delivered a flagrant foul 2 that resulted with an automatic ejection.

"Sabonis was penalized in the game with a technical foul, and Golden State gets the free throw," Dumars said. "It wasn't like [Sabonis] didn't get off without any punishment, but we didn't think that rose to the level of excessive and over-the-top, conduct detrimental and repeat offender. That's why you separate those two and deal with one act on the court -- and then another act."

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