Potential Trade Packages and Landing Spots for Jeff Green
The Celtics fanbase responded mostly negatively to the deal at the time, believing that Ainge overpaid for the small forward who hadn’t even suited up during the 2011-12 season due to a heart ailment.
Ainge hoped that Green would develop his game in Boston and help bridge the gap to a new era with the departures of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Green was a helpful role player alongside Pierce and Garnett during the 2012-13 season but disappointed last year in a more prominent role under new head coach Brad Stevens.
Green shot a career-low 41.2 percent from the field, failing to show the ability to develop into a reliable No. 1 or 2 scoring option for the Celtics.
Heading into next season, the Celtics have a logjam at the wing position and need to cut some salary in order to stay under the salary cap. Green will turn 28 next month and will earn a hefty $9.2 million during the 2014-15 season.
After a lackluster couple years in Boston, it’s hard to envision Green as a part of the team’s long-term future. Green has two more years remaining on his contract, including a $9.2 million player option for the 2015-16 season. His performance, salary and the team’s roster crunch make him a strong candidate to be dealt away this summer or early next season.
Here’s a look at a few potential landing spots and trades involving the veteran forward.
All statistics and player salaries provided by Basketball-Reference.com unless otherwise indicated.
Trade Idea: Celtics trade Green and the Clippers’ first-round 2015 pick (acquired in Doc Rivers "trade") for JaVale McGee
One of the great strengths of Green’s game is his ability to create scoring opportunities in transition. He’s one of the most athletic forwards in the game and can thrive in an uptempo environment, making a place like Denver an ideal landing spot for him alongside a player like Ty Lawson.
The status of Denver’s wing-depth chart is still in question due to the uncertainty surrounding Danilo Gallinari as he heads into a contract year. Green could provide the Nuggets with some versatility at the forward spot and wouldn’t have the pressure of being a No. 1 or 2 option like he does in Boston.
In McGee, the Celtics would get a big man who could use a fresh start after falling out of the starting lineup in Denver. Boston needs size and a rim protector, and while McGee may not be the long-term answer, he’s still young enough at 26 for the Celtics to develop him into a reliable contributor.
Trading one problem for another is the name of the game in this potential swap. The Pistons’ offense looked miserable last year with Smith roaming around at the 3, and his sizable contract ($13.5 million per year through 2017) make him a less than desirable trade piece.
Green would slot in well at the 3-spot in Detroit alongside rebounders like Greg Monroe (if he re-signs) and Andre Drummond. He’s a much better outside shooter than Smith, and his lack of rebounding would be covered up by his frontcourt teammates. Bass’s reliable mid-range jumpter would also help with Detroit’s spacing issues.
Boston takes a risk on Smith’s deal, but he would immediately become the second-best player on the team’s roster with Rajon Rondo. They also receive another young lottery pick and asset in Caldwell-Pope who is under the team’s control for three more seasons.
Trade Idea: Celtics trade Green, Brooklyn’s unprotected 2016 first-round pick (acquired in Kevin Garnett/Paul Pierce trade with Nets), and a 2015 second-round pick to the Utah Jazz for Enes Kanter and Ian Clark.
Kanter is entering a contract year for the Jazz, putting the team in a tricky situation with the big man. Utah’s front office has already committed big money to Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors for future seasons, but will they be willing to do so on the No. 3 overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft? If not, fetching an unprotected first-round pick could be a nice return for the big man.
Utah also gets a free look at Green (during a contract year) and could fetch some value for him if they flip him in another deal. A lineup of Dante Exum, Trey Burke and Green would also create one of the most athletic trios in the league for the Jazz.
The free-agent marketplace for true centers has always been a tough spot, so the Celtics would willingly dip into their stockpile of draft picks for a chance to secure Kanter’s rights. The team would have the inside track at bringing back Kanter next summer in restricted free agency.
Trade Idea: Celtics trade Green to the Memphis Grizzlies for Tayshaun Prince and two future second-round picks.
This kind of a move is the probable return that Green is likely to fetch. According to multiple league sources, Green’s trade value right now is no better than a bad contract and a couple of second-round picks. Unless the Celtics are going to package Green with a draft pick or other players, he’s not going to bring back much in the way of compensation.
Despite his flaws, Green is still a much younger and better player than Prince at this stage of his career, making him an upgrade for the Grizzlies immediately at the 3-spot.
Boston gets back a couple second-round picks in order to clear some salary and playing time for new additions like Evan Turner and James Young. Prince would just be involved to make the salaries work, and the team would likely buy him out or use him as a trade chip later in the year.