Draymond Green on altercation with LeBron James in 2016 finals: ‘I think LeBron coaxed me into that’

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David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green infamously was suspended in the 2016 NBA Finals after an altercation with then-Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James. The incident happened in Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

The move was a turning point in the series. Green was suspended for Game 5, and the Warriors didn’t win another game, blowing a 3-1 series lead. The Cavs epically brought the NBA title home to Cleveland.

Green recently reflected on the matter.

“The only thing that may have changed is I’m not sure I would react the same in the moment, just because I have grown as a person,” Green said. “I don’t regret reacting the way I reacted in the moment because the only reason I can’t promise you that I wouldn’t react that way because if somebody steps over my shoulder, I’m naturally going to try to get you off my shoulder. That’s just who I am, man.”

Green then talked about the role James played in the incident. Green believes the four-time champion coaxed him into the exchange.

“I can’t promise you that I wouldn’t react the same way, but what I do know is I think LeBron coaxed me into that,” Green said. “And I know for sure today he couldn’t coax me into that.”

The play cost Green a chance to play in Game 5, and it swung the series in favor of Cleveland. Despite that, Green doesn’t have any regrets.

“I don’t regret it because s— happens, and I learned so much from that, and if we do win that series, I don’t think we get Kevin Durant,” Green said. “And if we don’t get Kevin Durant, I’m not sure our run would have continued.”

Following their defeat in the 2016 NBA Finals, the Warriors signed Durant and went on to win two more titles.

Now, Green and the Warriors are hoping to make it back to the NBA Finals this season, while James is currently battling them in the Western Conference with the Los Angeles Lakers.

As for Cleveland, the organization has risen back to prominence in the Eastern Conference this season and currently holds the No. 3 seed.

Green’s actions back in 2016 apparently don’t keep him up at night, but Cavs fans are certainly grateful it helped the team win an NBA title.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.