Draymond Green puts Rudy Gobert in headlock, is ejected, could be suspended

Draymond Green was ejected for the second time in four days Tuesday, and the Golden State Warriors forward could face more punishment.

Less than two minutes into the Warriors’ game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Chase Center in San Francisco, a scuffle between Klay Thompson and Jaden McDaniels culminated with Green putting Rudy Gobert in an extended headlock that required intervention by Golden State’s coaching staff and security.

With the game still scoreless, Thompson and McDaniels grabbed each other’s jerseys and became entangled after Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards missed a jumper. After the two began shoving each other as they ran back down the court, Gobert attempted to break up the disagreement by restraining Thompson from behind.

Green swiftly followed suit by grabbing Gobert from behind, holding the 7-foot-1 center by the neck to free Thompson and dragging him toward the Warriors’ bench. Timberwolves stars Karl-Anthony Towns and Edwards came to their teammate’s defense, and Warriors Coach Steve Kerr appeared to tell Green to release his grip before Green was finally restrained by security. Gobert, who dropped to the court in the exchange, picked himself up and returned to his team’s bench.

Thompson and McDaniels were ejected, and Green was assessed a flagrant-two foul and ejected. Gobert was awarded two free throws for Green’s flagrant foul, which applies to contact the officials deem to be “unnecessary and excessive.” Given the dangerous nature of his actions and his role in escalating the incident, Green could face further punishment in the form of a fine and/or a suspension.

During the Warriors’ 118-110 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, Green was ejected for his role in an altercation with Donovan Mitchell. Green was assessed his second technical foul of the game for shoving Mitchell from behind during a transition play.

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Green is no stranger to ejections and suspensions. The four-time all-star was ejected from Game 2 and suspended for Game 3 of a first-round playoff series against the Sacramento Kings in April for stomping on Domantas Sabonis’s chest. The NBA noted at the time that the suspension was “based in part on Green’s history of unsportsmanlike acts.”

Perhaps most famously, the Warriors forward hit LeBron James below the belt during the 2016 NBA Finals, prompting a one-game suspension that helped swing the series in favor of the Cavaliers. In October 2022, Green punched then-teammate Jordan Poole at practice. Poole was traded to the Washington Wizards in June, one week before the Warriors signed Green to a four-year, $100 million contract extension.

There is a history of bad blood between Green, the 2017 defensive player of the year, and Gobert, a three-time defensive player of the year. After Green’s punch of Poole, Gobert wrote on social media, “Insecurity is always loud.” Then, when Gobert threw a punch at teammate Kyle Anderson during a game in April, Green wrote on social media, “Insecurity is always loud…”

The Warriors, who entered Tuesday on a three-game losing streak, are in the midst of a 12-game stretch against Western Conference opponents. In the event that Green is suspended, Golden State’s next three games are against the Oklahoma City on Thursday and Saturday, followed by the Houston Rockets on Monday.

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