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Draymond Green reportedly interested in signing with the Pistons

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The Warriors forward will be a restricted free agent this offseason and is reportedly "intrigued" by the idea of going back home to Michigan.

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green has been one of the more pleasant surprises in the NBA this year. His emergence as a "stretch four" capable of defending opponents both big and small has played a major role in the Warriors' ascension to the top of the NBA standings. Green has been so good, he might actually be pricing himself right out of Golden State. The Michigan native will be a restricted free agent this offseason and "has a significant interest with pursuing an offer sheet with his hometown Detroit Pistons," according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports.

The Warriors love Green and, according to Wojnarowski, Green "has loved playing with the Warriors and winning." The problem is the salary cap and the amount of money Golden State has on the books for next year. In order to retain Green, who could receive an offer sheet in the $15 million-per-year range, the Warriors will either have to pay the luxury tax or trade David Lee, who has one full season and $15.5 million left on his contract.

It should be noted that the well-connected Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News believes that Golden State will match whatever offer Green receives and that the team's owner, Joe Lacob, is comfortable paying the luxury tax for a season.

But discounting Green's interest in signing with Detroit would be foolish. Someone is obviously selling this idea to Wojnarowski. So, what are the reasons that this might, and might not happen? Let's take a look at both sides of that coin.

Why Green will sign with the Pistons

The Detroit connection is obviously the main factor here. Green grew up in Saginaw, Mich., about 100 miles north of Detroit. He played college basketball at Michigan State. He still spends his summers in Michigan, according to Wojnarowski. As we learned this summer with LeBron James, never underestimate the lure of a hometown.

There's also the money. The Pistons will have about $25 million in cap room and they'll be able to offer Green a post-rookie max contract. Depending on the salary cap next season that offer will likely be around $15 million per year. That's a lot of money for a player averaging 11.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.6 steals and 1.4 blocks per game. However, Green is still just 24-years-old and improving. He also fits in perfectly with the Pistons and Stan Van Gundy's system.

Van Gundy likes power forwards who can stretch the floor and play defense. Green can do both. He's shooting a not-great-but-respectable 33 percent from behind the three-point line this season and is one of the more versatile defenders in the NBA. Tune in to any Warriors game and you'll see Green both banging with bigs down low and locking down guards on the perimeter. He'd be a perfect fit next to Andre Drummond and could immediately fill the void that Greg Monroe, playing out the final year of his contract, will likely leave behind.

Lacob is saying now he has no problem paying the luxury tax for one season. But never underestimate an owner's disdain for losing money and love of saving it. You never know when that penny-pincher switch might go on. There's also "a hesitation to pay Green more than the below-max extension of Klay Thompson that starts at $15.5 million next season," according to Wojnarowski.

Never underestimate NBA egos, either.

Why Green won't sign with the Pistons

Because the Warriors would have to be idiots to let him walk. Green has become an essential cog in their near-unbeatable machine on both ends of the court. Their aggressive and switch-heavy defense would not be possible without his versatility. The offense would be more congested without his ability to challenge a defense from the perimeter.

Golden State has a championship-caliber core. Letting a main piece of it go in order to save some cash would be ridiculous. Yeah, it's Lacob's money and he can do what he wants it with. But we're betting he didn't buy the Warriors in order to increase profits year-to-year. The reason you buy a professional sports team is to win, and to turn a profit when you sell it later on. One year of luxury tax payments won't affect that value. The NBA's new TV deal will kick in for the 2016-17 season, meaning the salary cap will be skyrocketing.

This would just be a one year "problem," for Golden State, and the "problem" of having too many good young players is one that every other team in the league would sign up for.

The Warriors could also render all of this moot by trading David Lee. It won't be easy, but Lee can still play and his contract only has one year left. While shaking things up is not ideal, Golden State is open to dealing Lee before Thursday's trade deadline, according to Wojnarowski.

Ownership has instructed management in Golden State that it doesn't need to find a deal for Lee before the trade deadline, because the organization simply doesn't want to upset the balance and chemistry of a championship contender.

Nevertheless, there are teams with interest in working deals for Lee that would include them receiving assets - primarily draft considerations - for taking on his salary and those could be options for Golden State before the deadline on Thursday, league sources said.

Wojnarowski also points out that if the Pistons do sign Green to an offer sheet, that would actually make things easier "politically" for the Warriors. The thinking here is that Thompson could get annoyed if the Warriors were to offer Green more money than they gave him last season. But if Green first signs with Detroit, Golden State could then sell an extension as them being forced to choose between paying Green more than Thompson or losing him to the Pistons.

Likelihood: 4 out of 10

As of now all signs point towards Golden State matching any deal Green gets and either trading Lee beforehand or paying the luxury tax for one season. But a lot can happen between now and July, and Green's interest in Detroit is certainly real.

SB Nation presents: Awesome NBA trades that SHOULD happen, but never will.