The NBA’s suspension of Draymond Green for Game 5 of the NBA Finals for his hit to the groin of LeBron James has been the talk of the league since early Sunday afternoon. Green had been one flagrant foul point away from suspension since the Western Conference Finals, when he wasn’t suspended for a kick to the groin of Steven Adams. This time, the NBA couldn’t let it slide. Kiki Vandeweghe, the league’s Vice President of Basketball Operations and the man responsible for doling out this sort of punishment, said in an interview on NBA TV that Green and the Warriors had been warned privately by the league after the Adams incident.
I had a conversation with the Warriors, and he was fully on notice regarding flailing and contact to the groin area, and he was obviously aware of his point total to that point prior to the incident.
Vandeweghe also explained that the decision was not made based on the stakes of the game. Obviously, it’s not ideal for the NBA if one of the most important players in the series, and possible Finals MVP, isn’t playing in a closeout game. But Green had been warned about these types of plays, which makes the suspension understandable this time.
Of course it makes it tough, there’s no question. That weighs on your mind. But you can’t make an exception because of that. You have to assess each play as best you can, taking everything into account. What I have that referees don’t have is I have time. I have the interviews. I can go back and look at a lot of tape. I have many, many angles. I’ve probably seen this play 30 times or so. I spend a lot of time on this. We realize it’s a big game and nobody wants anybody suspended. But, again, this is a cumulative thing. This is one flagrant foul point that unfortunately triggered the suspension.
You can watch the full interview with Vandeweghe below: