One of the interesting—or, you might even say, plain odd—NBA names that emerged on the Celtics’ trade-rumor mill in the past week was that of a former Celtic forward, Jeff Green, who’s currently toiling for the Nuggets. Hoopshype’s Michael Scotto reported that Boston was, “interested in a reunion,” with former Celtics forward Jeff Green.
According to Heavy.com NBA insider Steve Bulpett, who covered the Celtics for 35 years for the Boston Herald, it’s a longshot to expect to see Green in green after the deadline.
“Jeff Green to me is an odd case, and he is playing well in Denver and I think, for all his contract situation, he is a guy who, why don’t you keep?” Bulpett said. “Unless he is part of a deal that gets you something more prominent that you need for your rotation.”
Indeed, Green is 35 years old and has played pretty well for Denver, averaging 10.4 points and 3.1 rebounds in 24.8 minutes. He is on a $4.5 million contract this year, with an option for the same deal next year, so the only reason the Nuggets could want to move him is on a salary dump, perhaps to carve out more luxury-tax space.
Denver is currently $1.5 million under the tax, but figures to be well over the tax next season, when Michael Porter Jr.’s contract extension kicks in. Still, the Nuggets would have the opportunity to trade him over the offseason.
Celtics Pursued Green in the Offseason
The Celtics did express an interest in bringing Green back over the summer, before he ultimately took the deal with the Nuggets. He played for the Celtics from 2011 through 2015, when he was traded to Memphis, and he was the Celtics’ leading scorer on the first team coached by Brad Stevens in 2012-13.
Stevens has maintained an affinity for Green, even as he has bounced through nine teams in seven seasons since leaving Boston. The Celtics could use size off the bench, so Green does fill a need for the roster, even if the Celtics have a bigger luxury tax problem this season—they’re currently over the threshold—than the Nuggets.
The Celtics have been rumored to be interested in dumping salary themselves, including that of point guard Dennis Schroder and forward Juancho Hernangomez.
Green Was Inconsistent in his Tenure With the Celtics
Green averaged 14.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in his four seasons with the Celtics, after coming over from Oklahoma City in the 2011 trade for Kendrick Perkins. While he had some brilliant moments in Boston, he was best known during that stretch for his inconsistency.
“I remember when he was in Boston, talking to coaches who were like, ‘It would be nice if he would at least give you a schedule of games he is going to play, like really play,’” Bulpett said.
In 2014-15, Green averaged 20.0 points per game in his first 21 games, shooting 45.4% from the field. By mid-January, though, the Celtics sent Green to Memphis, getting back a package that included Tayshaun Prince and a first-round pick that was eventually used on Aaron Nesmith.
“There is a guy who, the fact that he has not been a multiple-time All-Star, when you watch him every night and you see the skill level, the talent that this guy possesses, there are nights where he just goes off,” Bulpett said. “Then there’s other nights where you’ve got to move closer to the court because you can’t see him.”