SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Calling it a “long” few weeks, Golden State guard Jordan Poole is ready to chase a repeat championship alongside Draymond Green after the fourth-year pro was hit in the face by Green in practice.
Poole was not injured by the violent impact on October 5. Green returned to the team after his absence and met with Poole in the days before they played together again Friday night against the Nuggets.
“He apologized, and we plan to act like that, we’re going to play basketball,” Poole said Sunday in his first public address since the fight and after video of the incident was leaked. “Everyone in the locker room and in our team knows what it takes to win a championship, and we will do it on the field. That’s really all I have to say about it, we’re here to win the championship and keep putting up the 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 some relief with a ring ceremony just around the corner.
Poole has previously referred to being “brothers” with Green and noted on Sunday: “If I said it, I meant it.”
“We’re here to play basketball, and our teammates and coaching staff and organization, everybody, knows what it takes to win,” Poole said.
One of those team-mates who will be with Poole in the near future is Andrew Wiggins, who has also signed a four-year contract extension starting in the 2023-24 campaign. Golden State hosts the Lakers in the season opener on Tuesday night.
“Obviously, this is life-changing for Jordan and his family,” coach Steve Kerr said of Poole, who came through the G League as a rookie in 2019-20. “Quite remarkable. You’re right, I never would have guessed. Frankly, he wasted his rookie year. Most beginners are.”
Poole said he knew the timing right after returning from two exhibition wins against the Wizards in Japan would be everything in getting this deal done.
“No, the Draymond incident had no bearing on how we went through these things, those were ongoing discussions,” general manager Bob Myers said.
Before the fight, Green said he didn’t expect his extension before the season. He and Myers spoke on Sunday.
“Draymond is in a great place. He has a player option. It’s a great position for a player. You control your own destiny,” Myers said. “I think he’s excited about the year and wants to win another championship. He sees an opportunity before him. I spoke to him this morning, I don’t sense any issues or problems with that. I imagine he’s going to have a fantastic year, I actually think he’s going to have a great year, there’s a lot at stake. Usually when Draymond has a lot on the line, he performs.”
Kerr will call on Poole to play better defense in hopes of getting him up to 32 minutes per game off the bench.
Poole has emerged as a talented goal threat. He had 30 and 29 points, respectively, in his first two career playoff games last spring against Denver, just missing out on becoming the first Warriors player to score 30 in his first two playoff games.
Poole and Wiggins bonded quickly when Wiggins arrived in a trade from the Timberwolves in February 2020. Both knew these big paydays were coming, even if Myers wasn’t sure both would end up.
“It wouldn’t have been as special if we hadn’t won the championship,” said Poole, who credited his “mental toughness” and faith for overcoming every obstacle that came his way.
“It’s a blessing, I’m happy for him,” Wiggins said. “It’s a joy. … I’m happy here. We have an opportunity to do something special.”
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