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Draymond Green reportedly declines option with Warriors, enters free agency

SAN FRANCISCO – After winning four NBA titles with the Golden State Warriors, Draymond Green appears to be headed to the free agency market.

Rich Paul, Green's agent, told Shams Charania of The Athletic that the power forward will decline the team's $27.5 million player option for the upcoming season and become an unrestricted free agent.

Meanwhile, Paul reportedly told ESPN that a return to the Warriors was not out of the question, saying, "We will continue to talk to Golden State and explore all options."

At his introductory news conference on Monday, new general manager Mike Dunleavy Jr. addressed the report.

"I saw the report, too. Until we get the paperwork and the filing we can't really comment or say much," Dunleavy said. "I will say it, I think Steve (Kerr) has said it, I'll reiterate, we really want Draymond back. What he means to this organization and this team in terms of trying to win at the highest level, we feel like we have to have him. So that's very important."  

Dunleavy and owner Joe Lacob know there's much to do better this summer with the expectations that the Warriors will contend for another championship next season.

And, they hope, with Green a part of that core of players along with Steph Curry and Klay Thompson that has won four titles together.

"Look, he's been a spectacular player for us. We would not have these championships without his involvement, no question," Lacob said of Green.

"I think everyone understands that in this room. He's meant a lot to this franchise. He's a bit of a controversial player perhaps in some corners around the league, certain things that have happened over the years. He knows that. We know that. But the good overwhelms the bad is what I would say.

"... He's meant a lot. I think if he does come back that he will be very important to our success certainly going forward in the next few years."

Known for his defense and his leadership on the court, Green played a crucial role in the team's dynasty of six NBA finals appearances and four championships during his 11 seasons with the Warriors.

Even without accounting for Green, the Warriors are already above the NBA's projected $179.5 million second apron figure. This new addition to the collective bargaining agreement was designed specifically to curb the spending of teams like Golden State, and it severely restricts what tools those teams can use to build their rosters.

Just as pressing for the Warriors is the sheer financial cost of keeping this team together. Had the Warriors retained him at his option price, they would have had an estimated payroll of roughly $440 million including luxury taxes before the rest of their offseason was accounted for.

After the Warriors lost to the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the playoffs, head coach Steve Kerr appeared to question the team's chances of a fifth title in 10 seasons without Green on the roster.

"If Draymond's not back, we're not a championship contender. We know that. He's that important to winning and to who we are. So I absolutely want him back. He's a competitor, he's an incredible defensive player, we can check all of those boxes, and he and I have built a really special relationship that has run the gamut over the years," Kerr said on May 16.

CBS Sports contributed to this report.

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