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Boston Celtics: Jeff Green's Contract Is a Preview of Expanded Role

Jeff Green will be back in Boston with a much bigger role come training camp.
Jeff Green will be back in Boston with a much bigger role come training camp.Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
Jeremy GottliebContributor IJuly 22, 2012

It's a done deal.

Jeff Green is coming back to the Celtics in the fall after signing a four-year, $36 million contract. There's been some debate over whether the deal was too much or not enough, according to the Boston Herald

Regardless, Green will be a Celtic come training camp and will be expected to be a huge cog in Boston's younger, more athletic machine.

The pressure of replacing Kendrick Perkins, who was sent to Oklahoma City for Green at the 2011 trade deadline (subsequently rankling Celtics' fans and players alike), will be long gone come opening night. Green will also be a year removed from the heart surgery that sidelined him for the entirety of last year.

Now with a clean bill of health, all Green will have to worry about is playing basketball and contributing to what should be a contender. And you can bet Celts' coach Doc Rivers will have plenty of roles for Green to fill.

Green, a 6'9", 235-pound forward, will be expected to defend athletic wing/perimeter players, shoot some three-pointers and rebound and post up smaller opponents when he's at the 3.

Given the success the Celtics had with with Brandon Bass starting at the 4 while Kevin Garnett toiled in the paint last season, it stands to reason that Green will be doing these things off the bench, leading the second unit alongside perennial Sixth Man of the Year candidate Jason Terry.

From a more generalized perspective, Celtics' fans can probably expect to see the second unit play a fair amount with Rajon Rondo, who has become an elite point guard despite developing among a mostly veteran core that has a hard time keeping up with him.

The idea of Rondo getting out on the break with the likes of Green, Chris Wilcox and Courtney Lee flanking him should make those fans' mouths water. When Garnett and Paul Pierce are in the game, expect the offense to have more of a half-court feel, slower and even somewhat plodding.

When the bench guys come in, even with the 35-year old Terry in the fold, batten down the hatches. That group has the horses to run, run and run some more.

This, of course, is the best case scenario. There was skepticism regarding what Green was really worth and what he was indeed capable of even before he was diagnosed with the heart ailment. Now that he's believed to be healthy and coming back on a multi-year, multi-million dollar deal, some of that skepticism seems to have resurfaced.

Green has never been a particularly good rebounder for someone who stands 6'9" (5.6 per game over his career). Nor is he a sharpshooter from long range (33.7 percent with a career high of 39 percent in his second season, 2008-2009). 

But he is still just 25 years old and the Celtics have to be thinking that these are aspects of his game that will continue to develop as he gains more experience and gets more than 30-plus games to play with guys like Garnett, Pierce and Rondo.

This is a guy the C's clearly have a ton of faith in. They drafted him fifth overall in 2007 (before shipping his rights to Seattle for Ray Allen), traded a crucial piece of their puzzle to get him back in 2011, gave him a $9 million contract to come back for last year before his heart condition was revealed and re-upped him again this month. 

Much will be expected of Jeff Green in Boston this coming season. The Celts are going to give him a great deal of responsibility both in the here and now and as they continue to evolve into the team they hope to become in the post-Big Three era. 

They seem to think he can and will live up to these expectations. Time will tell.

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