Just who is Jeff Green?
Green is a very talented player who has had an up and down career to this point. He started off being drafted by the Celtics back in 2007, and was subsequently traded to the Seattle Sonics for Ray Allen and Glen Davis. Green played alongside Kevin Durant in Seattle for one season before the Sonics were moved to Oklahoma City and became the Thunder. The two continued to play together along with Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, and James Harden. The Thunder improved gradually and eventually made the playoffs, but were eliminated in the first round by the Lakers.
The Thunder had a lot of young talent, but ultimately there were too many players that needed the ball in their hands. Green ended up being the odd man out, and he was shipped to Boston for Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson. The Celtics were looking for a successor to all-star Paul Pierce and Jeff Green seemed to fit the bill. Once on the Celtics, Green’s minutes dropped significantly, but they still made the playoffs. They would be eliminated in the second round and Green became a restricted free agent.
In 2011 the Celtics signed Green to a one year $9 million contract. He was then diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, which left him unable to play for the entire season. Some were worried that this could potentially end Green’s career, but he came back strong and signed a four year $36 million contract with Boston. He was slowly transitioned back into the lineup and his numbers steadily inclined to some of the best of his career.
Why would Memphis want Jeff Green?
Jeff Green would be a great fit in Memphis. The Celtics might be looking to trade him if they are unable to snag Kevin Love, so this could be the perfect chance for the Grizzlies to get him. Green is a very well-rounded player who can score and even light it up some nights. He is a combo small and power forward, which gives him even more value given the Grizzlies current situation. Tayshaun Prince will need to be replaced or moved eventually and Green would be able to fill that void.
Green’s ability to score, rebound reasonably well, and play above average defense would boost the Grizzlies further into title contention. A lineup that involved Mike Conley, Tony Allen, Jeff Green, Zach Randolph, and Marc Gasol would be deadly. Green is the definition of a balanced player, and that is exactly what Memphis needs at the small forward position. The other thing is that Z-Bo is aging, and his minutes will consequently drop. This allows Green to slide into the power forward slot and spell Z-Bo later in games. Green seems to be a hand-in-glove fit with this current Memphis roster.
Running the numbers
Green’s current contract runs for one more year plus a player option. His salary this coming year will be at $9.2 million and the player option will also be at $9.2 million. The most likely situation would be a swap of Jeff Green for Tayshaun Prince and a pick. Prince is on the books for one more year at $7.7 million. Green has a much higher player value than Tayshaun at this point in his career, so throwing in a pick or another player would probably have to happen on the Grizzlies’ end. This would interest the Celtics for salary dump reasons as they continue to rebuild. If the Celtics kept Green, he could pickup his player option and tie-up Boston for another year. Financially the trade would be relatively easy to work out but it would come down to what price tag the Celtics are putting on Green.
Looking at Jeff Green in Grizzly Blue
Jeff Green is one of my favorite options for the Grizzlies this off-season. The potential swap of Prince for Green would be a clean and smooth transaction. Green would give Memphis a balanced small forward who could play power forward as well. His ability to score and shoot the three would help stretch the floor and give the Grizzlies some much needed offense. There are other options at small forward this off-season, but should Memphis have an opportunity to trade for him, then they should almost definitely jump on it.