Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green and Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George were in attendance for the Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor weigh-in on Friday, and even as spectators for one of the biggest fights this century, the pair of All-Stars couldn’t avoid questions about one of the busiest NBA summers in recent memory.
George was one of the first dominoes to fall this summer.
After telling Pacers’ management he would not re-sign in Indiana when his free agency pulls up in 2018, he was traded to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis. Following the weigh-in, he said that transaction was difficult because he “really loves Indiana.”
“I grew up there, I became a man there, a lot of obstacles I’ve overcame there, and they had my back,” George said. “I love Indiana. It’s a new chapter, a new start. I made a move that was best for myself and that was best for my family, and I’m happy for that move.
“We’ll see,” he continued, addressing the idea of joining the Lakers next season. “I’m a Thunder, and my job is to give them the best I have this year and see what happens after that.”
Green, on the other hand, is a linchpin for a Warriors team fresh off its second NBA championship in three years. The reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year said he’d only experienced an atmosphere like the Mayweather-McGregor weigh-in once in his career.
“Playing in The Finals is amazing, the feeling that you get, but I had chills watching that today; watching those guys walk out and onto that stage,” Green said. “The only thing that I could compare to that feeling was the opening ceremony of the Olympics; it’s incredible.”
Green has been to three straight NBA Finals each against the Cleveland Cavaliers. But should there be a fourth consecutive matchup between the Dubs and Cavs, one team will look drastically different from previous seasons.
The Cavaliers traded All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving — after he demanded a trade, in part, because he did not want to play with LeBron James anymore — to the Boston Celtics. In exchange, Cleveland received another All-Star point guard in Isaiah Thomas, as well as versatile forward Jae Crowder, young big man Ante Zizic and the unprotected 2018 Brooklyn Nets first-round pick, expected to fall in the top-five.
Green, who will likely face either the Celtics or the Cavaliers should the Warriors return to the NBA Finals this season, said the trade worked out for both teams.
“With Kyrie going to a team where he doesn’t have to rebuild. He’s played in the Finals three straight now. You want to continue to taste that. So him going to a team that doesn’t have to rebuild, that’ll be a contender,” Green said. “And then the Cavs getting IT and also getting a top-5 pick. I think the underrated part of that trade though is Jae Crowder, who’s on a team-friendly deal and is one of the best perimeter defenders our league has seen and can knock a shot down.”
Both George and Green spoke about basketball, but they were in Las Vegas for one reason: Mayweather vs. McGregor. Green and Mayweather are both from Michigan, and his alliance falls with his home state hero. But George, an outspoken UFC and Conor McGregor fan, doesn’t expect his mixed martial arts fighter to last very long against the undefeated boxing champ.
“Honestly, I see a lot of huge teaching points on Floyd’s behalf,” the Thunder forward said. “I’m a huge McGregor fan, but he’s outmatched. I’ve got Floyd really putting on show, giving the fans what they want to see, embarrassing Conor tomorrow.”