Draymond Green
Draymond Green is favorite to pick up his fourth NBA title with the Golden State Warriors in 2019. In this picture, Green #23 of the Golden State Warriors poses with two Larry O'Brien NBA Championship trophies and two NBA Finals MVP trophies during the Warriors media day in Oakland, California, Sept. 24, 2018. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Draymond Green insists the Golden State Warriors’ rivalry with the Cleveland Cavaliers was over when Kyrie Irving left the franchise to join the Boston Celtics prior to the 2017-18 season.

The Warriors played LeBron James-led Cavaliers in the 2018 NBA Finals — their fourth in a row against the same opponents — but it was a no contest as the former ran through to the title without dropping a game. It was unlike previous years when the Cavaliers at least put up a challenge.

James rejoined the Cavaliers prior to the start of the 2014-15 season and took them to four straight finals before departing to the Los Angeles Lakers this summer. They managed to win just one of those, however, and it was the 2016 edition when they came back from three games down to win 4-3 with Irving hitting the title-clinching bucket.

It was largely a one sided contest on the other three occasions, but at least in 2015 and 2017 they managed to win at least one game. Green believes Irving’s exit signaled the end of their chances of toppling the Warriors this season.

“Honestly, it was over last year. You take away Kyrie, that's a completely different team. To me, it felt like it was over already,” Green told ESPN’s Sam Alipour.

The Warriors’ power forward has picked the Celtics as favorites to progress from the Eastern Conference this season with Irving and Gordon Hayward leading the way. They also have a young roster, who proved they are good enough after making the East Finals without their two leading stars in 2018.

Toronto Raptors are the other team picked by Green especially since the last season’s Eastern Conference top seeds added two-time NBA defensive player of the year Kawhi Leonard to their roster.

Meanwhile, the three-time NBA champion believes the Western Conference is going to be tougher this year with the Houston Rockets again being touted as the Warriors’ main challengers. James’ Lakers could also pose a threat despite possessing a relatively young team.

“I think Boston will be really good -- like, really, really, really good. I think Toronto could be good. But the West is tough enough. Houston is still Houston. The Lakers will be much improved,” the Warriors forward added.

However, despite praising the Warriors’ opponents in the West, Green believes the team can be the best they have ever had this season owing to the arrival of DeMarcus Cousins. "Boogie" as he is popularly known joined as a free agent after spending last season with the New Orleans Pelicans.

“I think it can be our best team. It will be. I'm confident in that. He [DeMarcus Cousins] adds an element we never had -- a guy you can throw the ball to in the post every play, and he can go get a bucket,” Green said.