Could Danny Green’s Hot Run Cause Sixers to Rethink His Free Agency?

Danny Green, right, shows off his 2020 championship ring

Getty Danny Green, right, shows off his 2020 championship ring.

There are few players in the NBA who are quite as maligned as Sixers wing Danny Green. He was massively overpaid two summers ago by the Lakers, who gave him two years and $30 million following his contributions to the Raptors’ NBA championship effort, and wound up being only so-so for L.A., averaging 8.0 points per game and making 36.7% of his 3-pointers—and only 33.9% in the playoffs.

He was traded twice this offseason, first to Oklahoma City, then flipped to Philly, where a funny thing has happened to the 33-year-old veteran. After a weak start to the season (9.3 points on 37.7% shooting, 36.0% from the 3-point line), Green has begun to show signs of his old form in Toronto, where he made 45.5% from the arc in 2018-19.

In Green’s last 14 games, he has been scalding, making 48.5% of his shots from the field and 49.5% from the 3-point line, putting in 13.6 points per game. As Matt Narducci of the Inquirer pointed out, Green’s best game in this stretch came against this former team, the Lakers, who dumped him in November so that it could bring in Dennis Schroder.

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While the Sixers have undergone injury fluctuations, most recently with Joel Embiid, Green has been a steadying force, appearing in all 51 of the Sixers’ games.

And what good timing: Green happens to be a free agent again this summer.


Sixers Coach Doc Rivers Offers Green Praise

Last month, as Green’s current string of success was ramping up, coach Doc Rivers had an explanation for what was going right with Green, and why he stuck with him during some of Green’s cold streaks. Green, Rivers said, is a no-glory, lunch-pail type:

He’s been Danny Green. When you think about it, you can say that’s been its whole career. No one talked about him in San Antonio. They had Tim Duncan and (Manu) Ginobili and (Tony) Parker, and all those other guys.

No one talked about him in Toronto. They had Kyle Lowry and Kawhi (Leonard) and no one talked about him last year with the Lakers, so it doesn’t affect him. I can tell you that he just does his job. Happy to do it, good for your team.

Rivers could have thrown the Lakers in that mix. Yes, Green struggled in the playoffs, but he was a consistent presence for L.A. throughout the season, especially on the defensive end. The Lakers have replaced him with Wes Matthews, but that experiment went so poorly that L.A. signed Ben McLemore to replace him.


Danny Green Riding Hot Streak Into Free Agency

The Green resurgence, especially if he keeps it going through the stretch run and into the postseason, will be especially interesting in the offseason, depending what happens with the Sixers this summer.

Green himself was a bit surprised he survived last month’s trade deadline. When he spoke with Sixers GM Daryl Morey on his Green Room podcast, Morey said he heard Green was expecting to be traded. Morey said he would have told Green, whose name circulated in rumors, if anything had been close.

“I got my agent, people talking, heads up,” Green said. “I thought it was a possibility it would happen, so I wasn’t sure. I figured you might, but sometimes it might not happen. So many things happen so fast. Like (head coach Doc Rivers) was saying, during these times it’s almost impossible to get to a player first before the media gets it.”

But even with the Sixers interested in giving more minutes to young guards like Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe, there’s a chance Green could be back in Philly next year. That would only happen with a significant pay cut, though, as the Sixers will try to avoid the luxury tax.


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