Beard: Draymond Green makes good point, but narrative doesn’t fit Blake Griffin, Pistons

Detroit News

Rod Beard | The Detroit News

Draymond Green never has had any problems with expressing his opinions, especially on topics that he feels strongly about.

Green, a former All-America forward at Michigan State, made headlines this week after his postgame rant about what he perceived as unfair treatment for NBA players in situations where the team is pursuing a trade and the player is sitting out.

Two notable examples were announced this week, with Pistons forward Blake Griffin and former Pistons center Andre Drummond, who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last season, and looks to be on the move again.

Green noted that Drummond had to sit out of the game against the Warriors as the Cavs looked to find a trade destination. The disparity, he noted, is that teams can announce that they plan to trade a player, but players can’t do the same or voice their displeasure with a team — as James Harden did in demanding a trade from the Rockets — without fear of being fined.

“No one is going to fight back that (Harden) was dogging it his last days in Houston. He was castrated for wanting to go to a different team, and everybody destroyed that man,” Green said. “A team can come out and say, ‘We want to trade a guy,’ and that guy is to go sit — and if he doesn’t stay professional, then he’s a cancer and he’s not good in someone’s locker room and he’s the issue.”

In trying to draw a parallel between Harden’s situation, there’s a big distinction: Griffin’s and Drummond’s agents reached a mutual decision with the teams to sit out until an acceptable trade partner was found.

That’s a big difference. Green isn’t wrong, though.

The NBA hands out hefty fines when players step out of line on some topics, and teams don’t always get the same consequences.

That wasn’t lost on Green, either.

“I got fined for stating my opinion of what I thought should happen with another player, but teams can come out and continue to say (they’re) trading guys and not playing you, yet we’re to stay professional.” Green said. “At some point, as players we need to be treated with the same respect and have the same rights that the team can have. As a player, you’re the worst person in the world when you want a different situation, but a team can say they’re trading you — and that man is to stay in shape and stay professional, and if not, his career is on the line.”

In the past few years, there have been more instances of players and teams agreeing to sit out as they work on a trade. It’s a delicate situation, because the player is essentially being paid to stay at home while the rest of the team still competes. As Green points out, it’s a tough spot to be in, because the player still is expected to stay in shape and be ready to play when he reaches the new team.

In Griffin’s case, he’ll still have access to the Pistons’ facilities and can be around the team, but he won’t be in games. The Pistons released a statement, in which general manager Troy Weaver noted that the team and Griffin’s representatives were “working to facilitate a resolution regarding his future with the team that maximizes the interests of both parties.”

That sounds like a mutual agreement, which can’t be questioned the same way.

Coach Dwane Casey said there’s more to Griffin’s situation than Green noted but wouldn’t go into further detail.

“Everybody has a right to their own opinion about any situation. There’s a lot of conversations that go on behind closed doors that don’t come out, and I think that’s something that needs to be understood before anyone says it’s a double-standard,” Casey said Wednesday. “I’m not going to comment on Draymond’s opinion. A player and an organization have a right to have a discussion in those situations and organizations have the right to make decisions on what’s best for the organization, whether it’s a trade or whatever it is.

“A player has the right to request a trade … I’m not going to dispute what Draymond says, but there are conversations that everybody has where everyone is not privy to all the details.”

The signs point to Griffin’s situation being resolved with a buyout rather than a trade, but in either case, his time with the Pistons is coming to a close. Drummond’s case could be similar, with a buyout looking more likely.

“At some point, this league has to protect the players from embarrassment like that,” Green said.

Green’s point remains valid, that some of those situations end up being awkward for the players, because they’re in the arena and in casual clothes but unable to compete. There are expectations for how they should perform, but not the mental toll that those situations take on them.

Pistons at Grizzlies

Tipoff: 8 p.m. Friday, FedExForum, Memphis

► TV/radio: FSD-Plus/950 AM

Outlook: The Pistons (8-20) couldn’t hold on to a 25-point lead against the Bulls in the opener of their five-game road trip. The Grizzlies (12-12) are looking for their first winning streak since Feb. 1.

Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

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