Celtics Rumors: Jeff Green's Return to Boston Is Key to Topping Miami Heat

Stephen BabbFeatured ColumnistAugust 3, 2012

MIAMI, FL - MAY 11: Jeff Green #8 of the Boston Celtics warms up before Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2011 NBA Playoffs against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena on May 11, 2011 in Miami, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

We've known for a while that Jeff Green had agreed upon a deal that would give him another chance with the Boston Celtics, but the subsequent silence could easily have mistakenly suggested something had gone awry.

Not to worry, according to Gary Tanguay:

I hear Jeff Green deal will get done. Team and player are planning on Europe #CelticsTalK#UNOSPORTSTONIGHT

— Gary Tanguay (@Gary_Tanguay) August 2, 2012

That's good news for Celtics fans, and it's bad news for the Miami Heat.

Boston had already made some significant improvements to the roster by acquiring the guard tandem of Jason Terry and Courtney Lee to replace Ray Allen. Though it may have first seemed like the Heat had edged even further ahead of their rivals by stealing Allen away, the new-look Celtics could put that notion to rest.

Bringing versatile forward Jeff Green back into the fold would do so as well.

The 25-year-old only played 26 games with Boston after the Oklahoma City Thunder traded him for center Kendrick Perkins in 2011. He then missed this last season after requiring surgery for an aortic aneurysm.

That in perspective, this club's ability to take the Heat seven games in the 2012 Eastern Conference is all the more impressive.

Just wait until Green joins the effort.

Green wasn't at his best during his limited stint with Boston, but it's not easy to adjust to a new system so late in the season. He was also averaging just 23.5 minutes a game, after playing around 37 in each of his previous three campaigns.

The 6'9" forward relies a bit too heavily on his perimeter game, but we know he's capable of hitting the three. He made 39 percent of his attempts in 2008-09 before seeing that consistency steadily decline ever since.

To the extent he can still spread the floor a bit, that's at least some improvement over the rotation facing off against Miami last time around.

But, the more important contributions should be on the defensive end.

While Green is easily bullied by stronger power forwards, his length comes in handy when playing on the wing.

No, he won't be a LeBron stopper, but he should ease some of the pressure currently placed on Paul Pierce to handle that assignment almost exclusively. He's also the ideal candidate to put a hand in the faces of guys like Shane Battier, Mike Miller and newly acquired Rashard Lewis.

These may not be star scorers, but they're the kind of role players who consistently proved deadly in the postseason.

If the Celtics lacked one thing in their title push last season, it was depth. That should be less of a problem with Green joining Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and a healthy Avery Bradley in a vastly improved supporting cast.

Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce may indeed be aging, but they should finally have the help they need.