Does strange rotation absence hint at Golden State Warriors’ trade mindset?

The Golden State Warriors-Brooklyn Nets matchup threw up plenty of surprises on Sunday at Chase Center, with the visitors twice coming back from a double-digit deficit to claim an upset 120-116 win.

One of the big surprises was the absence of veteran big man JaMychal Green from Steve Kerr’s rotation. The Warriors once again went with primarily eight players against the Nets, though Ty Jerome did chip in as a ninth man for just over eight minutes of gametime.

Is there anything to read into JaMychal Green’s absence from Sunday’s game and his potential future with the Golden State Warriors?

Green had missed a substantial period with Covid and then a nasty leg infection, before making his return in Friday’s surprising win over the Cleveland Cavaliers. The 32-year-old played a vital role in the victory, producing an impressive 13 points and eight rebounds in just over 16 minutes of action.

Most would have presumed that Green would see the floor against Brooklyn, particularly given the absence of other frontcourt options in Anthony Lamb and James Wiseman. Perhaps it’s purely a bi-product of Kevon Looney being moved to the bench, but it does leave the question — if Kerr wasn’t to utilize him against the Nets, when will he?

Golden State signed Green to a minimum contract after being traded to, then waived by the Oklahoma City Thunder. He’s been unable to recapture his shooting stroke as a stretch five, spending time in and out of the Warrior rotation as a result. The journeyman is averaging 6.1 points and 4.1 rebounds in across 29 games this season, shooting 29.6% from beyond the arc.

Are we reading too much into his complete absence from Sunday’s rotation, or is there a genuine possibility that the Warriors simply don’t see him as part of their future moving forward?  Of the Warriors 14 contracted players, Green and rookie Ryan Rollins would likely be front of the queue if a player needed to be waived for a buyout option, or for two-way players Ty Jerome and/or Anthony Lamb to be converted to a full contract.

Green and his $2.6 million deal could also be thrown into a deal to make salaries work should the Warriors complete a move by the February 9 trade deadline. He has little to no value to another team, but that contract could come in handy should the franchise target someone on a seven-figure salary.

There was no sign of Green on the injury report prior to Sunday’s game, so unless there was an issue in warmups, his absence was purely coaches decision. That’s not a great sign for him going forward, and he could face a nervous wait over the coming weeks.