Udonis Haslem compares Draymond Green punching Jordan Poole to him striking Tyler Herro: ‘It just makes me cringe’

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Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

Draymond Green’s recent transgressions have generated a lot of opinions around the NBA, and former Miami Heat stalwart Udonis Haslem said some of the things he has seen from the Golden State Warriors veteran lately have made him “cringe.”

Speaking on the podcast of former Heat teammate Shaquille O’Neal, Haslem drew a comparison between Green punching former teammate Jordan Poole at practice to what that would have been like if Haslem had done something similar on the Heat and hit Tyler Herro.

“So for me, we’re connectors,” Haslem said. “We connect the locker room. We connect the dots. We protect the guys that are in the locker room. We don’t go out, and we don’t start it. We don’t look for it, but we damn sure gonna finish it.

“And I think what Draymond has gotten to the point where he’s the initiator, and I think that’s not a good thing.

“… When I saw the things that are happening, they kind of make me cringe ’cause I put myself in that situation ’cause I’m a O.G., and I’m a leader. So when I look at Draymond, I try to put myself in his shoes. I don’t want to stand at the top and throw rocks. I try to put myself in his shoes, and a lot of the decisions that he makes, it just makes me cringe because I can imagine myself, the way he hit Jordan Poole, imagine myself hittin’ Tyler Herro like that.”

Green is currently serving an indefinite suspension levied by the NBA after he struck Phoenix Suns center Jusuf Nurkic in the face during a game on Dec. 12. The league said the undetermined length of the suspension “takes into account Green’s repeated history of unsportsmanlike acts” that includes a five-game suspension he received earlier in the season for putting Rudy Gobert of the Minnesota Timberwolves in a chokehold during a game on Nov. 14.

Prior to the start of last season, Green punched Poole during a practice and spent time away from the team. The aftermath of that continued into this offseason with vicious comments from Poole’s father, among others.

Green must meet certain conditions to return to the Warriors this season, and the 33-year-old reportedly is undergoing counseling as part of that agreement. A recent report said the current suspension could cover 11 to 13 games, and he might return sometime in early January.

Golden State is 8-8 in games without Green this season, including a 114-102 loss to Miami on Thursday. Afterward, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said the Heat “demoralized” his team.

Haslem played seven games for the Heat last season and is now in retirement. The 43-year-old won three NBA championships with Miami and will have his No. 40 retired by the franchise on Jan. 19 at halftime of a game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Haslem played all of his 20 NBA seasons for the Heat and was a 16-time captain. So, maybe it’s unlikely he would have behaved toward an opponent the way Green has this season, to say nothing of possibly getting into a physical altercation with one of his own younger teammates.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.