The NBA announced an indefinite suspension for Green on Wednesday for striking Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkić in the face during a game one night earlier. Joe Dumars, NBA executive vice president and head of basketball operations, said in a statement that Green’s “repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts” was a factor in the decision.
League sources said Green, 33, was expected to receive counseling and work with the Warriors and NBA while suspended. People around Green and the organization said the four-time NBA champion has been understanding and prepared to undergo the process required to return to the team in a full capacity. Those sources would not reveal the specifics of Green’s counseling out of respect for his privacy.
A three-week timeframe would mean his suspension stretches approximately 12 games.
Green’s latest incident — his 20th career ejection — came in the third quarter of Tuesday’s game between the Warriors and Suns. Green appeared to be grappling for post positioning against Nurkić near the corner, swung around and nailed Nurkić in the face with a wild right arm. Nurkić fell and stayed down for about a minute.
Officials stopped the game for a review, which did not take long. Green was ejected and didn’t even dispute it. He ran straight to the locker room.
Following the game, Green apologized to Nurkić. He said it was unintentional and he was trying to sell a foul by flailing his arms.
“As you know, I’m not one to apologize for things I meant to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf. Because I didn’t intend to hit him,” Green said. “I sell calls with my arms.”
Green’s suspension is the sixth of his NBA career and his second this season. The league also suspended Green for five games in November for his involvement in an altercation against the Minnesota Timberwolves, when Green put Rudy Gobert in a headlock. He served two separate one-game suspensions last season — once for accumulating 16 technical fouls, and a second in the playoffs for stepping on Sacramento Kings power forward Domantas Sabonis.
A look at Draymond Green’s suspensions
Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he thought an indefinite suspension for Green made sense to help the 12th-year veteran make a change.
“To me, this is about more than basketball. It’s about helping Draymond,” Kerr said. “I think it’s an opportunity for Draymond to step away and to make a change in his approach and his life and that’s not an easy thing to do. That’s not something you say, ‘OK, five games and then he’s going to be fine.’”
The Warriors (12-14) are 2-1 since Green’s ejection. They went 2-3 during his earlier five-game suspension.
(Photo: Meg Oliphant / Getty Images)