Richard Jefferson says there were 2 players on 2016 Cavs team that threw punches at each other

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Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Former Cleveland Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson revealed that there were punches thrown on the 2016 Cavs when explaining that Draymond Green and Jordan Poole can still play together.

A video was leaked from the Golden State Warriors practice that showed Green landing a punch on Poole after the guard shoved the veteran forward away from him during an argument.

Green’s actions could lead to internal discipline from the Warriors, according to general manager Bob Myers.

“These things happen. Nobody likes it, we don’t condone it, but it happens,” Myers said. “Draymond apologized to the team. Jordan was there in the room. … As far as any suspension, punishment, fine, we will handle that internally.”

While Green certainly crossed the line by punching Poole, Jefferson had an interesting perspective when asked where the two Warriors players go from here to become amicable teammates again.

“This is about a job,” Jefferson said. “We’re here to win championships. We’re here to make money, I’m not here to be your friend.

“Personally, I don’t even care if we’re that close of teammates. As long as we win, and as long as when I step between those lines I can count on you. That is the No. 1 thing that everyone cares about in basketball and in sports. You don’t have to like the people that you work with.

“We’ve seen it happen. We’ve seen Kobe [Bryant] and Shaq (Shaquille O’Neal) break up. We’ve seen so many things happen over the past 76 years of basketball that there is ways to come back. There is ways to move forward. Doesn’t mean you’re going to rock with somebody, but there is a way to move forward.

“It’s just these things happen more – it happened in 2016 when we won a championship, there was an incident where there were punches thrown on our team. I’m not going to say between who, but that is something that happened.”

Jefferson makes some good points in his take on the Green and Poole situation, and the last part is especially interesting for Cavs fans.

Obviously the 2015-16 season was a special one, as Cleveland came back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals against the Warriors to win the title. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving were dominant in the closing games of the series, and it helped Cleveland interrupt the Warriors’ dynasty and end the city’s championship drought.

The fact that the Cavs had tempers flared to where punches were thrown during that season and still won a title shows that there is a way for Golden State to come back from this.

Green and Poole are certainly going to need to mend their relationship, but Jefferson makes it seem like these arguments and incidents aren’t super uncommon in the heat of competition in an NBA season.

For Cavs fans, Jefferson’s insights give an even deeper glimpse into arguably the best season and team in franchise history.

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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.