The Boston Celtics project to be active players around the trade deadline, as Brad Stevens looks to continue putting his stamp on the roster.
As such, the Celtics have found themselves linked with any star rumored to be disgruntled in their current situation, with Ben Simmons of the Philadelphia 76ers being the most prominent name. But Stevens has always valued the sum of a team’s parts over an individual’s skill, so we’re more likely to see him shopping for veterans who can improve the bench unit.
“The Boston Celtics have expressed interest in re-acquiring forward Jeff Green, league sources told HoopsHype. Green was coached by Brad Stevens in Boston,” Michael Scotto wrote in a recent article for HoopsHype.
Green spent three years in Boston between 2010 and 2014 before being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies. Former President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge was a big fan of the versatile wing’s game, making it easier for him to move on from Kendrick Perkins when an opportunity to trade for Green became available.
Green Would Provide Boston with Additional Scoring
One of the Celtics’ most significant issues this season has been their bench production. It’s been an underlying issue for more than two seasons at this point. After committing to multiple drafts picks in recent years, Boston’s second unit has become inundated with raw talent that needs time to develop.
While every team needs a young player or two for future upside and salary management, having too many projects can lead to a disjointed roster that often produces inconsistent performances. And that’s where the Celtics currently find themselves – in NBA purgatory due to multiple picks failing to improve at the required pace.
Green, who signed for the Denver Nuggets during the 2021 off-season, would instantly upgrade the Celtics bench rotation and bring a winning mentality into the locker room. There’s a reason why the Georgetown product continually finds himself approached by contending teams. While Boston is a ways away from contention, a strong veteran voice could be a pivotal addition to the roster.
Over 36 games for the Nuggets, Green averages 10.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.1 assists while shooting 49.6% from the field, but just 31.8% from three, per Basketball-Reference.
However, you can’t lay too much blame at Green’s feet when looking at his shooting splits, as the Nuggets are currently dealing with a slew of long-term injuries that have seriously hindered their spacing.
Boston Would Need to Get Creative
There’s no doubt that Green’s asking price wouldn’t be astronomical, but the challenge for Boston would be finding an appealing package for a Nuggets team that believes they’re contenders once their roster is healthy. Unfortunately for Denver, their squad won’t be reunited until the 2022-23 NBA season following Michael Porter Jr’s season-ending surgery.
With that in mind, Denver is unlikely to be interested in a deal for an expiring contract such as Dennis Schroder, and Boston will probably be against giving up Josh Richardson due to his impact off the bench this season. This leaves a bevy of young talent that hasn’t done much to increase their trade stock.
A potential option for Boston, should they be able to make the money work on Denver’s side, is a deal centered around Juancho Hernangomez. While Green is arguably the more skilled player, his age means that he’s already declining, while Hernangomez is just entering his prime years.
Furthermore, Hernangomez is contracted until the summer of 2023, with next season non-guaranteed, meaning the Nuggets could get a feel for his fit on their roster this season before making any decisions on his final year. A deal such as this would work for the Celtics, as Hernangomez has hardly featured for the team, while Green projects to play valuable minutes in his place.
The trade deadline is still a little over a month away, so there’s plenty of time for both parties to strike a deal or for Stevens to find something else he feels would upgrade the flailing team.