One would think, then, that Green might be relieved he won’t have to contain James in this year’s NBA Finals, now that LeBron is on the Los Angeles Lakers and didn’t make the playoffs for the first time in 13 years.
That would be a wrong assumption.
In a story published in Bleacher Report on Friday that touched on how strange it is to have a postseason without James, Green called the situation a “mindf****.”
"It's just weird," Green said. "More as a basketball fan than anything: 'Damn, Bron not there.' It's super weird. You always relish the opportunity to play against a talent like that."
Warriors vs. Cavaliers — not this year
For the past four years, the NBA landscape has been dominated by the two teams. Green and the Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in the 2015, 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals, dropping the 2016 championship in infamous fashion.
It will be weird for any NBA fan to watch the Finals next week and see the Warriors play either the Toronto Raptors or Milwaukee Bucks, but it will be more strange for Green, who has had plenty of battles with James.
And it is not entirely surprising that Green will miss having no LeBron to play against. He is the ultimate competitor, always up for a battle against the NBA’s best. While familiarity may breed contempt, Green surely respects an all-time great like James.
The good news for Green is that no matter who the Warriors face in the Finals, he’ll have to battle another special talent, whether it is the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo or the Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard.
Perhaps there will be another long-term rivalry brewing and taking its roots in the 2019 NBA Finals.
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