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Draymond Green on Marquese Chriss: ‘He’s turning a corner’

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The forgotten No. 8 pick in 2017 has found a new home in Golden State that could lead the team to shake up its roster to fit him in.

Los Angeles Lakers v Golden State Warriors Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

In a new report from Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, details of the Warriors’ embrace of former Suns big man Marquese Chriss show Chriss may have a second chance in Golden State.

Thompson details a meeting between a key Warriors player and the organization’s front office brass in which the player makes the case for Chriss to stick around:

“Not long after the Warriors’ first preseason game, there was a meeting somewhere in the bowels of Chase Center. It wasn’t a meeting, sources said, as much as it was a petition, a reiteration, an emphasis, to Warriors general manager Bob Myers. The request was simple in scope. Yet, it was also profound, considering it included an important voice in the locker room, considering it was about a player many have given up on.

“The request? Get Marquese Chriss on this team.

“Chriss played only 13 minutes in the preseason opener. But it was enough to make it clear he should be on the roster.”

As Thompson also notes, getting Chriss onto the 15-man roster, or even into one of the two-way slots, is easier said than done. The Warriors hard-capped themselves by executing the Kevin Durant-for-D’Angelo Russell sign-and-trade this summer, meaning they cannot go above the $139.9 million tax apron under any circumstances. Simply signing Chriss to a minimum contract would be illegal as a result.

So Golden State will either have to waive the non-guaranteed Alfonzo McKinnie or trade someone on their current roster in order to fit Chriss in. Whoever the mystery player referenced in Thompson’s story is, they likely understand all of this and still thought it appropriate to make the case for Chriss.

Adding Chriss on a two-way deal would be tough, too, as the training camp deal he signed with Golden State was not an Exhibit 10 contract, meaning it cannot be moved to a two-way deal (the Suns signed Tariq Owens and David Kramer to Exhibit 10 contracts, per reports). The Warriors would have to cut Chriss and cross their fingers no one claimed him off waivers.

What a far cry from Chriss’ Suns tenure, which ended in October 2018 with the Brandon Knight/Ryan Anderson trade. Chriss was known for a poor attitude, temper flare-ups on the court, and inconsistent effort. He never made much progress as a player in two seasons with the Suns. Imagining a world in which anyone would be interested in claiming Chriss off waivers would have been tough when he was in Phoenix.

Now, Draymond Green (a decent candidate to be the mystery player) is talking up Chriss in a big way:

“I think he’s been great all training camp. He’s been on a couple teams, and everybody has kind of written him off. But he’s been amazing in camp, and to me it looked like he’s figuring it out and he’s turning a corner.”

Green also has to understand how thin the Warriors suddenly are in the frontcourt after routinely bringing three or four centers onto the main roster during their title runs. A preseason injury to Willie Cauley-Stein means not only could Chriss be a candidate to earn a spot on the roster, but play right away in the regular season.