Well that just happened.
The NBA has upgraded Draymond Green's non-foul to a flagrant 1, making him ineligible to play Monday night, according to an ESPN report.
Late in the fourth quarter on Friday night, LeBron James stepped over Draymond Green. Green stood up and his hand came close to LeBron James' groin. But given Green's history in Oklahoma City and his accumulation of flagrant foul violations in the playoffs, that was enough to issue a foul for excessive or violent contact.
Let me be the first to officially say: this is BS.
For multiple reasons.
First, there's no violent or excessive touching on the part of Draymond Green. He stood up as someone was stepping over him -- that's as innocent as it gets. Secondly, LeBron James was only in the area because he was taunting Green by performing the basketball equivalent of charging the pitcher's mound. You just don't go there and expect to not receive retaliation.
A technical foul, which would not have resulted in an automatic suspension, would be less of a stretch, but even that would seem a bit mean spirited. There's no personal foul, and more generally, there's no foul play. But a flagrant foul, which is necessary to suspend Green for Game 5, smacks of retaliation for a foul (the kick to Steven Adam's groin) that the NBA agreed was not intentional (at least, the NBA could not determine that the act was intentional).
So is Green being punished for the league messing up a call against Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals series? Or is he being punished in accordance with the wishes of the Cleveland Cavaliers, who reportedly petitioned the NBA to punish Green for his actions? Or perhaps the league felt this was the right call all along (not bloody likely).
You will catch folks stating that Green is suspended for the accumulation of fouls, and not just this foul-not-foul. That's true, but that's not the problem — the problem is that Draymond Green was the offended party, not the offender. His actions, in no way whatsoever, constitute a flagrant foul. At best, they warrant off-setting technical fouls, which would not have triggered the automatic suspension.
Draymond Green should be playing Monday, period.
It's all moot, in a way. The sun still rises in the east, and the Warriors still host the Cavaliers in Oakland on Monday. We'll see how the team responds without their emotional leader on the floor. More Twitter #hottakes to come.
There's no hard evidence, but I'm just passing along what is being said. The Warriors seem to believe that LeBron and/or the Cleveland Cavaliers did something to make this flagrant upgrade happen, and we still don't know what it was. But we've got respectable reporters signing their names on this story, via anonymous sources.
We've also got a bizarre deleted-tweet-controversy from Peggy Vandeweghe, where the wife of the NBA's disciplinary team claimed to get into a huge fight with Kiki Vandeweghe over the Green-James incident. No idea what really happened, or is happening. But there is a lot of stink all over this story, and that's never a good thing.
#Cavs pushing hard to see to it Draymond Green punished appropriately for swipe at LeBron James, I'm told. League pressured from both sides.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 12, 2016
Nobody on record saying it, but it's very clear #Warriors believe Draymond's suspension is a direct result of LeBron flexing his muscle.— Monte Poole (@MontePooleCSN) June 12, 2016
NBA announces Draymond Green will be suspended for Game 5. pic.twitter.com/V0Yq0eKr6P— Complex Sports (@Complex_Sports) June 12, 2016
I am DONE with the NBA on this. Draymond Green suspended? Hiding behind a Flagrant 1. This is some straight BS. Absolute TRAVESTY!— Stephen A Smith (@stephenasmith) June 12, 2016
Green deserved a flagrant foul for this? https://t.co/Fx0DtdUYGn— Nigel Int'l D. (@Nigel_D) June 12, 2016
High Road. invisible bridge used to step over said person when open floor is available left to right.— Ayesha Curry (@ayeshacurry) June 12, 2016
Per a few members of Warriors, not surprised this was NBA's conclusion based on history. Disappointment is that NBA let LeBron push agenda— Marcus Thompson (@ThompsonScribe) June 12, 2016
I guess you cant touch Lebron— Nemanja Nedovic (@nedovic1624) June 12, 2016