SAN FRANCISCO — Warriors forward Draymond Green will rejoin the team Thursday, coach Steve Kerr said after Golden State’s preseason win over the Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday night.
Green has been away from the team since an altercation with teammate Jordan Poole last Wednesday. He has been fined but was not suspended, though it was considered.
“This is the biggest crisis that we’ve had since I’ve been the coach here,” Kerr said. “It’s really serious stuff. We’re not perfect. … But we’re going to lean on the experience that we have together and trust that this is the best decision for our team. We have a lot of work to do. All of us.”
Kerr said he expects Green to play in the Warriors’ final preseason game Friday, and he will also be available for opening night on Oct. 18.
Poole — who was punched by Green in practice — was consulted during the decision-making process, in addition to Stephen Curry and other players. Poole had several meetings with Kerr and the front office and met with Green. Kerr said Poole is “willing to move forward and willing to get back out on the floor with Draymond and go to work.”
Green apologized to Poole and the team before practice Thursday then immediately left the facility and went home.
On Friday, a video was leaked that showed the incident. In the video, which was published by TMZ, Green was seen stepping up to Poole, who reacts by shoving the Warriors veteran. Green then punches Poole, knocking him down, before several people at the practice intervene to break it up. There was no video showing what led up to the incident.
Kerr, general manager Bob Myers and Green have said the altercation did not stem from upcoming and ongoing contract negotiations for the two players.
The video prompted Green and the Warriors to mutually agree he should spend more time away from the team. He offered a public apology Saturday and announced he would step away from the team indefinitely.
“There is no way around it: [Our] culture has been damaged by this incident,” Kerr said. “You have to work to repair that.”
Kerr expressed confidence that Green will be able to mend the bridges he has damaged but admitted there is a new challenge to overcome with the younger players who do not have preexisting relationships with Green. Kerr said that moving forward, he will pay close attention to how the young and new players look at Green and how he is able to mentor them.
“He broke our trust, but I am giving him the benefit of the doubt because I think he’s earned that,” Kerr said.