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The NBA is Making Draymond Green’s Incidents its Business Now

As the video clip of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face played repeatedly on phones and televisions, it was easy to miss one of the more disappointing aspects of the incident.

Green, in his own words, described Tuesday’s flagrant foul 2 and third ejection in 15 games this season as an accident and even chalked it up to “bad luck” as he tried to “sell” the foul that Green believed Nurkic had committed by holding his hip. But with Nurkic face down on the court, Green didn’t appear to express a hint of remorse.

As the NBA league office grappled with how to handle the emotional response to the latest Green incident, that cold reaction can’t be ignored. In the wake of his five-game suspension for grabbing Minnesota Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert by the neck last month, Green said, “I don’t live my life with regrets.”

That Green is racking up ejections and suspensions is problematic, of course. The NBA’s decision to make this suspension indefinite and combine it with a process that will involve counseling shows the concern is less about punishment and more about trying to focus on the cause.

“Am I collecting the lesson that I need to collect from this?” Green said on Nov. 26 when his first suspension this season ended. “The reality is that the lesson people think you need is never the right one because they don’t know anything about you.

“The message and the lesson is 100 percent no one’s business.”

The NBA is making it its business.

Nurkic did eventually get a tepid apology from Green postgame. That is more than was offered to Gobert. Or to Sacramento Kings forward Domantas Sabonis when Green was suspended one game for stomping on Sabonis’ chest in April during the playoffs, as Green explained then: “I got to land my foot somewhere.”

For the Warriors, an entire apology operation has been in place for years for Green’s behavior. Green will do something offensive, large or small, and the Warriors fall into a routine. Coach Steve Kerr will apologize for him. Former general manager Bob Myers would apologize for him. The public relations staff will do so.

It’s not so much about the perfunctory nature of the gesture. It’s that for all these incidents, technical fouls, fines and suspensions over the years, Green’s behavior has not varied that much. His continued actions don’t indicate he’s very sorry for much of anything.

This is what the NBA is trying to address with this latest suspension announcement process that they’ve intentionally left vague. Whether it will work, that’s another matter.

At the very least, it will mute the news cycle that was ready to react with whatever number of games Green received had it been a traditional suspension. But it’s also an admission that simply ramping up penalties isn’t working.

“It’s something we are working hard on behind the scenes. Draymond has to find a way to not cross the line. And I’m not talking about getting an ejection or getting a technical, I’m talking about a physical act of violence. That’s inexcusable. We have to do everything we can to give him the help and assistance he needs to draw that distinction.”

Kerr said this on Nov. 16. But this quote could’ve been from any number of times in the past decade. The Warriors gave Green a $100 million deal in July, making it clear the concerns on the matter have their limits.

Last year, after Green punched teammate Jordan Poole in a preseason practice, Green announced he was taking some time away to “continue to work on myself.” Green was back in time for ring night.

He has now been suspended four times since.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and executive vice president Joe Dumars — the so-called discipline czar and one of the most well-respected men in the league office — are trying to get Green to examine ways he can break this cycle.

They’ve come up with this unusual penalty to try to force change. They’re trying to help the Warriors develop a way to manage Green’s issues, whether the team wanted the assistance or not. They’re trying to make this the last suspension of Green’s likely Hall of Fame career.

Good luck.

Source : ESPN