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Celtics

Toucher & Rich: Why Did Celtics Give Jeff Green So Much Money?

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Celtics forward Jeff Green. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Celtics forward Jeff Green. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

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Boston Celtics

Last week, the Celtics officially signed forward Jeff Green to a four-year contract, reportedly worth $36 million.

That seems like a lot of money for a player who missed an entire season after undergoing surgery for a heart ailment, and who wasn’t particularly that good for Boston after being acquired for Kendrick Perkins at the 2011 NBA Trade Deadline.

SI’s Zach Lowe, who broke down Green’s contract and contributions to the Celtics in a recent article, joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich Tuesday morning, and is one of those that thinks Green’s contract is too much.

“It’s too expensive for what his track record is, and he’s probably never going to live up to it,” Lowe told T&R. “And there was no bidding war, it was clear so early on that the Celtics were going to lock him up there was no time for a bidding war.”

“If I’m going to pay a guy $36 million, I want to at least point to one thing – one stat, one piece of data – that says this player helps the team win games and perform better on the floor. That doesn’t exist for Jeff Green anywhere in his track record of NBA play. That’s what’s scary,” he said.

While Oklahoma City used Green more as a power forward, the Celtics are expecting him to see most of his time as Paul Pierce’s backup at the three, and potentially some time at the four in their smaller lineup. Does this make him more or less valuable to the Celtics?

“They need to be able to play small ball to beat Miami. They can’t win against Miami playing small lineups where two of your four small players are Kenyon Dooling and Mickael Pietrus; that’s just not going to work,” said Lowe. “So they’re going to use him in those lineups when he doesn’t have to guard a tradition power forward — guys that killed him. They’re going to line him up against wing players and count on his brains and the brains of Kevin Garnett and Doc Rivers to make up for some of the quickness that he might not have against those kind of players.”

With the additions of Green, Jason Terry, Courtney Lee and return of Chris Wilcox (who also had heart surgery last season), on paper the Celtics sports a much better — and deeper — team. But will all of that be enough to get over the hump and beat the Heat?

“An assistant GM with another team I was talking to put it very well when he said ‘if last year’s Celtics had a two-percent chance at beating Miami, this year’s Celtics might have a 10-percent chance at beating Miami in the playoffs'” said Lowe. “They’re still an underdog, and are still going to need a break… but they’re now better positioned to take advantage of that break than they were last year.”

“If you have a punchers chance, you don’t just give up. You spend for it,” he added.

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