SAN FRANCISCO (AP)Calling it a ”long” couple of weeks, Golden State guard Jordan Poole is ready to chase a repeat championship alongside Draymond Green after the fourth-year pro took a punch to the face from Green at practice.
Poole wasn’t injured by the violent punch Oct. 5. Green rejoined the team after a leave of absence, and he met with Poole in the days before they played together again Friday night against the Nuggets.
”He apologized, and we plan on handling ourselves that way, we’re going to play basketball,” Poole said Sunday in his first public remarks since the fight and after video leaked from the incident. ”Everybody in the locker room and on our team knows what it takes to win a championship and we’re going to do that on the court. That’s really all I have to say on the matter, we’re here to win a championship and keep hanging banners.”
The 23-year-old Poole finalized a $140 million, four-year extension with the defending NBA champions on Sunday, giving the guard something to celebrate and a bit of relief with a ring ceremony right around the corner.
Poole has previously referred to being ”brothers” with Green and noted Sunday, ”If I said it I meant it.”
”We’re here to play basketball, and our teammates and the coaching staff and the organization, everybody, knows what it takes to win,” Poole said.
One of those teammates who will be with Poole for the near future is Andrew Wiggins, who also signed a four-year contract extension beginning for the 2023-24 campaign. Golden State hosts the Lakers on Tuesday night to open the season.
”Obviously this is life-changing for Jordan and his family,” coach Steve Kerr said of Poole, who toiled through the G League as a rookie in the pandemic-interrupted season of 2019-20. ”Pretty remarkable. You’re right, I never would have guessed it. His rookie year, he was lost, quite frankly. Most rookies are.”
Poole said he knew the time immediately after returning from two exhibition wins against the Wizards in Japan would be all about getting this deal done.
”No, the Draymond incident didn’t have any impact on how we moved through these things, these had been on-going discussions,” general manager Bob Myers said.
Before the fight, Green had said he didn’t expect his own extension before the season. He and Myers spoke Sunday.
”Draymond’s in a great spot. He’s got a player option. It’s a great position for a player to be in. You control your own destiny,” Myers said. ”I think he’s excited about the year and he wants to win another championship. He sees the opportunity in front of him. I talked to him this morning, I don’t sense any issues there or any problems with that. I imagine he’s going to have a fantastic year, I actually think he will have a great year, he’s got a lot on the line. Usually when Draymond has a lot on the line he performs.”
Kerr will call on Poole to play better defense with the hopes of using him up to 32 minutes a game off the bench.
Poole has emerged as a talented scoring threat. He had 30 and 29 points, respectively, in his first two career playoff games last spring against Denver, just missing a chance to become the first Warriors player ever to score 30 in his first two playoff games.
Poole and Wiggins quickly became close once Wiggins arrived in a trade from the Timberwolves in February 2020. They both knew these big paydays were coming, even if Myers wasn’t sure they’d both get done.
”It wouldn’t have been as special if we didn’t win a championship,” said Poole, who credited his ”mental toughness” and faith for overcoming any obstacle that comes his way.
”It’s a blessing, I’m happy for him,” Wiggins said. ”It’s a joy. … I’m happy here. We have a chance to do something special.”
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