Boston Celtics Overpaying Jeff Green Is the Right Move If They Want to Compete
Jeff Green is reportedly getting a new contract worth $40 million over four years despite the fact that he missed all of last year with heart problems and he has never done anything to prove that he is worth $10 million per year.
And you know what? It was absolutely the right move for Boston.
The Celtics aren't in as bad of a financial situation as one might think. Rajon Rondo's contract is among the best values in the league, and Kevin Garnett's new deal has him making around half as much as he did last year.
Ray Allen's contract came off of the books as well, and even if he comes back his new contract combined with Jason Terry's won't equal what he made before.
Even if the Celtics face luxury tax penalties, it's Wyc Grousbeck's money, and if he's willing to spend it then nobody should complain.
The Celtics are operating on a fairly short window to compete. By the end of Green's contract, Garnett, Allen and Paul Pierce will likely have retired. In fact, it's possible that they'll be gone before that, mitigating the risk of overpaying Green.
Paul Pierce's contract expires in two years, and the deal Boston is offering Ray Allen does as well. Even though Garnett is signed on for three seasons, it seems unlikely that he'll play all three. The Celtics could potentially know something that we don't. It's possible that they're going all-in for two more years and then rebuilding after a planned group-retirement by the big three.
The point is, Boston is operating on a very limited timetable, and keeping Jeff Green is what puts them in the best position to win this year.
Even if Ray Allen doesn't come back, the Celtics will have one of the deeper teams in the league.
At guard, they'd have an excellent three-man rotation with Rajon Rondo, Jason Terry and Avery Bradley. All three guys do different things and will be a great fit.
Paul Pierce, Jeff Green and Mickael Pietrus (assuming he comes back) will handle the small forward spot, which in Boston's case largely means defending LeBron James.
What really sets Boston apart is their depth up front. They'll have both of their starters from last year (Garnett and Brandon Bass) back along with rookies Fab Melo and Jared Sullinger, likely restricted free agent Greg Stiemsma and, potentially, veteran Chris Wilcox.
If Allen does choose to come back, the Celtics will have added Bradley, Green, Terry, Melo and Sullinger as well as a healthy Allen to their rotation against a Miami team that likely won't be able to make any significant additions.
That could be enough to tip the scales in Boston's favor. Even if some of those guys don't stay healthy (a near certainty considering Boston's recent luck with injuries), they will definitely be deep enough to compete with the Heat.
Depth is going to be their key to competing with the Heat. Jeff Green is going to play a big part in creating that depth.
He can play both forward spots, is useful in both small-ball and big-ball lineups and can defend LeBron for stretches. He gives the Celtics a ton of versatility. They'll need it against Miami.
The bottom line is that the Celtics have only a year or two to compete before they have to rebuild. Jeff Green makes them a better team than they were without him. If Wyc Grousbeck is willing to overpay to get him, then it's a great move to bring him back at any price.
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