Draymond Green suspension: Why the NBA is serving Warriors heel an indefinite ban for swing on Jusuf Nurkic

Draymond Green played in his 15th game of the 2023-24 NBA season on Tuesday. In just 17 minutes of action, he managed to pick up his third ejection of the campaign.

Green was tossed after it was deemed that he committed a flagrant foul against Suns center Jusuf Nurkic. During the play, which occurred with 8:23 left in the third quarter, Green swung his arm wildly and caught Nurkic on the side of the head.

Officials reviewed the play and ruled that Green had committed a flagrant foul, penalty level two. That prompted an automatic ejection and forced the Warriors to finish their contest shorthanded.

Golden State will be without Green because of his actions on Tuesday. He had already been suspended for five games once this season, so his status as a repeat offender caused the NBA to crack down on his streak of bad behavior.

Here’s what to know about Green’s latest ejection and the suspension that followed it.

MORE: A complete history of Draymond Green’s most controversial plays

Why NBA suspended Draymond Green for swing on Jusuf Nurkic

Green has been “suspended indefinitely” by the NBA for striking Nurkic in the face, per official release.

“This outcome takes into account Green’s repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts. … Green’s suspension will begin immediately. He will be required to meet certain league and team conditions before he returns to play.”

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Green, Warriors GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. and Green’s agent, Rich Paul, are expected to meet on Thursday, Dec. 14, “to start discussing a path of counseling and help Green move forward.”

Wojnarowski added, “The league didn’t want to put a specific number on the suspension, but allow Green to take the time he might need to deal with challenges he’s facing.”

Green will be allowed to continue practicing with the Warriors during his suspension, per Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

To date, Green has been suspended five times. Below is a brief breakdown of his infractions and suspension lengths for those offenses.

Season Suspension length Suspension explanation
2016 1 game Green picks up fourth flagrant foul point of playoffs after hitting LeBron James in groin
2018-19 1 game Warriors ban Green after getting into a heated argument with teammate Kevin Durrant
2022-23 1 game Green reaches the technical foul points limit and is required to sit out a game because of it
2023 1 game Green steps on the chest of Domantas Sabonis in Game 2 of Golden State’s first-round series vs. Sacramento
2023-24 5 games Green puts Rudy Gobert in a headlock, resulting in significant NBA discipline

It’s also notable that Green avoided a suspension after punching teammate Jordan Poole in the face at practice before the 2022-23 NBA season. He did, however, receive a significant fine for his actions in that scuffle.

All of that is to say it is no surprise that Green finds himself facing another ban given his checkered history and multiple ejections during the 2023-24 season.

Draymond Green ejection, foul explained

Green was ejected after he committed a flagrant 2 against Suns center Nurkic. The play occurred when Nurkic was playing tight, ball-denial defense on Green as he looked to shake himself free to receive an inbounds pass.

Green swung wildly as he tried to get open. During his spin move, he hit Nurkic hard in the head, sending the big man sprawling to the ground.

Green was immediately whistled for a foul and the officials wasted little time reviewing the play. They quickly determined that Green had committed a flagrant foul that warranted an ejection from the game.

As such, Green was sent to the showers early having totaled two points, two rebounds and two assists in 17 minutes of action. The Warriors were unable to finish off a win without him, losing 119-116 in a tightly contested game.

MORE: Where Pistons, Spurs losing streak compare to the worst in NBA history

What Draymond Green said about hitting Jusuf Nurkic

Green addressed his ejection after the contest and appeared to show at least some contrition for the play.

“I am not one to apologize for things I mean to do, but I do apologize to Jusuf because I didn’t intend to hit him,” Green told reporters after the game, per ESPN. “I sell calls with my arms … so I was selling the call … and I swung and unfortunately I hit him.”

Green continued to insist and harp on the fact that he had no intention of making contact with the Suns center.

“Like I said, if I intended to do that, then I would feel awful about not being there,” Green said. “But my intentions were just to sell the foul.

“You guys have known me long enough, if I intended to do something, I am not apologizing. But I did make contact with him, so I do apologize. … It’s a hard hit.”

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What Jusuf Nurkic, Suns said about Draymond Green’s ejection

Nurkic was a bit more perturbed by Green’s actions than the Warriors forward was; in fact, he actually called for Green to get “help” amid his recent on-court outbursts.

“What’s going on with him, I don’t know. Personally, I feel like that brother needs help,” Nurkic said. “I’m glad he didn’t try to choke me.”

Nurkic said that he believed Green should have been ejected because of the rogue arm, which “had nothing to do with basketball.” He was also backed by his head coach Frank Vogel, who said Green’s move was “a reckless, dangerous play.”

“I’m sensitive to our guys getting hit on plays like that,” Vogel said. “I didn’t like it. The refs did what they had to do. The league will do what they have to do.”


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