If Draymond Green has his way, he’ll go out when he’s still near the top of his game.
The Golden State Warriors stalwart is in the midst of his age-32 season (he'll be 33 in March), one that has been mired in some controversy as he prepares to most likely opt out and become an unrestricted free agent in the offseason.
But when you’re 32, you’re more likely to be near the end of your career than the start, and Green has already mapped out what his ideal exit looks like.
“I’m 32 years old, if I’m being honest, I don’t want to play basketball until I’m 40," Green said on the "Know Mercy with Stephen A. Smith" podcast. "I really only want to play basketball for another four years after this. I’ve always said my magic number is 15 (years), once I get to 15, that’s it. I’m cool, go on and enjoy my life, leave it to the young guys to take it from there.”
We’ve seen plenty of players hang around into their late 30s. In most cases, the caliber of play drops off steadily – sometimes precipitously – the closer to 40 they get. If Green signed a four-year deal in the offseason, he would be 37 when the contract ended.
He’s acutely aware of what his identity is in the NBA, and he knows just dragging out his career probably wouldn’t bode well for him.
“I feel like over the last year or so – not even with the Jordan Poole (incident) – it’s become more and more evident to me that 15 is the right number," Green said. "Reason being, I talk so much s–t to so many guys on the basketball court that I can’t be one of the guys lagging around in my career. At the end of my career lagging like ‘Yo, I’m just out here collecting checks.’ I can’t be that guy, because everything that I dished out is going to come right back.
“And so I don’t want to be one of those guys that’s just still around. And I know for sure I’ve got four great years left in my body. I know that for certain, I know how I feel. I’ve got four great years left, and for me, I’ve always been very good at if I set this goal, I’m going to do everything that I have to do that I know I can do to get to that goal. So for me, setting that end date is beautiful because I’m like OK, I’ve got four more summers of working like this, and once I get to 15 that’s it.
“I said all that to say, of course I want to get another long-term contract, that takes me right to the end of my career.”
Even if Green retired tomorrow, he’d have a pretty decorated career to look back on. And though his career has a clear end date for him, there’s plenty of time to keep adding to the trophy case.