5 Jeff Green Trades the Boston Celtics Should Pursue This Offseason
Jeff Green's second full season with the Boston Celtics wasn't a disaster, but nobody should be happy with it, either.
The combo forward appeared in all 82 games and led the Celtics in scoring. But he shot a measly 41.2 percent from the floor, failed to develop as a solid playmaker and was a sieve on defense.
He's also about to turn 28 years old and is playing on a $9.2 million contract that doesn't quite match up with the desires of a rebuilding team. Celtics general manager Danny Ainge won't trade him just to trade him, but exchanging Green for future assets or an immediate upgrade is something the GM will continuously search for.
Here are five hypothetical deals that Boston could look to make. They're ranked by the possibility they can actually happen.
5. Jeff Green and Brooklyn Nets' 2016 First-Round Pick for Gordon Hayward
Gordon Hayward and Brad Stevens. Brad Stevens and Gordon Hayward. This is the main focus, but the Celtics don’t just want Hayward strictly because his college coach happens to be stalking the sidelines in Boston.
He’s a fantastic young swingman who possesses elite athleticism and various skills with the ball in his hands. Most of his numbers last year were horrifying, but this is a case where numbers aren’t telling the truth.
The Utah Jazz had nobody else to distribute the ball, initiate offense and score last season. All the responsibility fell on the shoulders of a 23-year-old Hayward. He’ll be much better as a building block surrounded by talented players, specifically Rajon Rondo.
The Jazz are in a strange phase right now. They’re rebuilding around a core that at the end of the day may not be good enough to compete for a playoff spot, let alone the championship. Derrick Favors is already locked into a four-year, $48 million deal that feels like a bad overpay.
Enes Kanter is up for a big contract next year. Trey Burke has done little to show he can be an above-average point guard, and Dante Exum is a total question mark.
Hayward on a max contract isn’t the apocalypse, but within the context of Utah’s cap sheet, it could be. Jeff Green can come in, do the things he does on offense for a year and then, most likely, come off the books the following summer after opting out with his player option.
This gives the Jazz more flexibility and a clearer path.
4. Jeff Green and Brooklyn Nets' 2016 First-Round Pick for Chandler Parsons
The Celtics do this deal for one obvious reason: Chandler Parsons is a better, younger basketball player than Jeff Green. Green will be 28 this season (his birthday is August 28), while Parsons will turn 26 in October.
The Celtics would acquire an athletic third option who can create plays off the dribble (i.e., make teammates better), knock down threes from all over the court and score in transition.
The one downside here is Boston would be relinquishing a highly useful first-round pick for the services of a player who is about to make upwards of $40 million over the next four years.
Then again, Parsons would be a perfect trade chip in a possible deal for Kevin Love.
The Rockets love Parsons, but what Daryl Morey loves even more is cap flexibility. By trading Parsons for Green, he doesn’t have to worry about a possible overpay by locking himself into a James Harden, Dwight Howard, Parsons trio (if the big free-agent fish sign elsewhere) for the next few years.
Green has a player option next season, and there’s a good chance he opts out of it to lock up a long-term deal somewhere else. That’s nearly $10 million in open cap space that Morey can use next July.
In the meantime, having Green complement two stars is a better role for him, and there wouldn't be much of a drop-off on either end.
Green, Faverani and a 2015 1st-Round Pick for Young and Noel
The Celtics badly need rim protection, and obtaining a promising 20-year-old like Nerlens Noel would be a fantastic move. Hopefully, 10 years of his service patrolling the middle is worth a first-round draft pick.
From where the Celtics sit, Thaddeus Young is a better fit than Jeff Green, who showed last season he’s neither a solid first or second scoring option nor a valuable trade asset in Boston.
This deal is more about acquiring Noel than it is grabbing Young, but Philadelphia’s swingman is still a competent player who tirelessly works on both ends. His contract mirrors Green’s, except he’s nearly 22 months younger.
Sam Hinkie is opposed to dealing Thaddeus Young, according to a report by CSNPhilly.com’s John Gonzalez:
Asked how he might sell the plan to Young, Hinkie replied that he’s been open with him all along. 'We talked a lot about stability,' Hinkie said, 'and how he can sort of play a role there, and how we thought he had real value to us as a veteran on this team, as a leader for us, as a leader of teaching all these young guys how to be pros and how the NBA works and sometimes how the world works...In the interim, does Hinkie expect Young to be here this year? 'I do,' Hinkie replied.
But Hinkie also likes assets, and Green and Young are essentially interchangeable parts. In the deal outlined above, Philadelphia would also surrender Noel but receive a valuable draft pick in his place. Joel Embiid makes it easier to move Noel, too.
Green for Porter, Webster and Washington’s Unprotected 2015 First-Round Pick
Otto Porter may be a total bust. Martell Webster is a slightly overpaid spot-up three-point shooter who can play a little defense when he wants. These are two pieces the Celtics would be willing to take if Washington also gave up its first-round pick in next year’s draft.
Who knows what the Celtics might be able to get out of Porter and Webster? Porter is a former third overall pick, and Webster is a perfect complement for the guards on Boston’s roster (especially the ones who can't shoot).
Jeff Green has the talent to own the Sixth Man of the Year award for the next few seasons. He’s an unreal athlete who just needs to find the right role.
The Wizards could give him that role as a score-only wrecking ball who plays 25-30 minutes off the bench. He would allow coach Randy Wittman to experiment with devastating small-ball lineups that feature Green at the 4 and Marcin Gortat at the 5 (or, the exact opposite, with Green at the 3, Nene at the 4 and Gortat at the 5).
A first-round pick is a lot to give up, but the Wizards want to win now, and a hometown hero like Green helps them get better immediately.
Jeff Green for Larry Sanders
There’s nothing complicated about this straight-up swap.
The Celtics want a rim protector at center who can contend for Defensive Player of the Year over the next few seasons. Off-court issues and lengthy contract aside, Sanders is a perfect fit.
He also comes equipped with a little offensive potential, especially beside a pass-happy point guard like Rajon Rondo. In a new environment, Sanders could become an even more devastating force than the one who emerged two seasons ago.
The Bucks are trying to build something special around Jabari Parker, and having Larry Sanders (bloated contract and questionable lifestyle choices included) in that locker room doesn’t make things ideal.
Jeff Green is a consummate professional who can “mentor” Parker (they have the same body type and play the same position) for a year or two before his contract comes off the books.
Milwaukee’s main objective here is getting rid of Sanders without taking back more money. The team accomplishes that here.