BOSTON (CBS) — The wheeling and dealing of the Celtics offseason won’t begin until next month, but that doesn’t mean some trade possibilities aren’t starting to come into focus.
One of the likely players on the trade block this summer for Boston will be leading scorer Jeff Green. The Celtics reportedly offered the small forward in a number of possible deals during the season last year, but failed to find a willing partner to meet Danny Ainge’s asking price.
As the trade market kicks up this summer, Zach Lowe of Grantland is reporting one playoff team (the Wizards) may have some interest in the Georgetown product as they look to replace a couple of pending free agents (Trevor Ariza and center Marcin Gortat) on the cheap.
Washington could work the trade market to find a capable replacement for one or both guys — a proven veteran better than the minimum-salary stopgaps, but on a cheaper and/or shorter deal than Ariza and Gortat will get. The Wiz have long liked Jeff Green, who has just two seasons left on his current deal.
The Wizards face an interesting situation as they head into the offseason as a team on the rise in the Eastern Conference. Ariza has put together a career year at the small forward position and is likely aiming for a long-term deal at Green money ($9-million per year).
If Wizards GM Ernie Grunfeld decides that’s a bit too much money for the 28-year-old Ariza, Green could be an ideal alternative for the Wiz. Like Ariza, he’s in his prime at age 27 and is slated to earn $9.2 million for the next two seasons. The final year of Green’s deal is a player option so there’s chance he will be a free agent after the 2014-15 season, but that decision will likely depend on what the salary cap jumps to next summer.
The Celtics should not give Green away in any deal, but they would be best served to consider offers on the athletic forward, who has underwhelmed during his three years in Boston. Towards the end of this year’s disappointing season, Green appeared withdrawn in the locker room, leaving without speaking to the media most nights.
His inconsistent play was apparent on multiple occasions with Brad Stevens as well, as the head coach benched him during the fourth quarter of multiple close games during the team’s lackluster 25-win campaign. Green’s teammates and coach have always stood up for him upon criticism publicly, but even Green’s strongest supporters have to admit Boston hasn’t been a great fit for the veteran.
The question for the Celtics with Green, is there any kind of viable deal out there for their leading scorer? For a swap with the Wizards to work (assuming trade interest is there) both teams will have to find a way to make the salaries match, since each squad will be over the salary cap this summer.
Would the Celtics have interest in one of the Wizards potential young restricted free agents like Trevor Booker or Kevin Seraphin? Unlikely, unless Boston plans on clearing out some more bodies on their crowded power forward depth chart. Otto Porter Jr. was a disappointment during his rookie season, but it’s doubtful the Wizards would give up on a top-3 pick so early into his tenure, unless the Celtics sweetened the return beyond Green.
The bottom line for the Celtics is they should no longer be picky in asking for a worthwhile return for Green. Multiple league sources told Jay King of Masslive.com that they doubt Green has much value on the trade market right now. The best route for both sides right now based on that reality is that Danny Ainge should take what he can get for a player who will never be the top guy on a contending team.
As the Celtics look to the future to find those kinds of players for their roster, it’s time to move on from the overpaid pieces that aren’t able to fulfill that kind of potential. That means saying goodbye to Green.
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