Despite Finals incident, Draymond Green says he and LeBron are friends

It's no secret that Draymond Green often gets under opposing players' skin and rubs them the wrong way. This was on full display during the 2016 NBA playoffs as Green got into it famously with Thunder center Steven Adams and again in the Finals with LeBron James.

While Green's flailing legs made him infamous among Thunder fans, his low blow altercation with James in Game 4 of the Finals actually swung the momentum toward the Cavs in the series. Suspended for incurring too many flagrant foul points, Green missed Game 5 and the Cavs took advantage, storming back from a 3-1 deficit to win the NBA championship.

The whole incident led to a back and forth between James and Green at the time, but Green says that was all just in the spirit of competition and that he has no problems with James.

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"A lot of people try to make it out to be, you know, with LeBron and I, that there's this beef, and this, that and the other ... it's not." Green said in a video interview with DraftKings. "Me and LeBron are friends. We're business partners. Nonetheless, when I step on the court next year, I'm gonna go at him. When he steps on the court next year, he's gonna go at me. That's the game we play. It's not about 'Oh, you're doing this. You're doing that.' Off the court is off the court, and on the court is on the court.

"What happens on the court also stays on the court. And at the end of the day, you're competing for a championship. Things are going to happen because there's a lot of emotion that go into that, there's a lot of hard work. And you're going to do whatever you can to try to win. There isn't this beef that people try to make it out to be. But if they want to make it out be ... if that helps them sleep at night, then that's OK."

Green likes to talk and stir up trouble but it is easy to believe him here. Competition brings out the best and worst of everyone, so that was just likely the case between him and James during the Finals.

Plus it's not like Green is a sore loser. After the Cavs won, Green sought out James and embraced the Cavs star while congratulating him for ending Cleveland's long championship drought. So while he may act one way during the heat of competition, that is not how Green truly feels about his opponents. He is human after all.

CBS Sports Writer

Ananth Pandian has been writing about all NBA-related things including the social and lifestyle aspect of the sport for CBS Sports since 2015. His name is actually easy to pronounce, just remember it is... Full Bio

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