Sixers Address Complicated Future on Aging Veterans: ‘I’m Very Emotional’

Danny Green

Getty Danny Green may have played his final game in a Philadelphia 76ers uniform on May 12, 2022.

Paul Millsap saw six total minutes in the postseason. DeAndre Jordan was benched after Game 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinals. And Danny Green tore the ACL and LCL in his left knee early in Game 6. All three of those veteran players may have played their last game in a Philadelphia 76ers’ uniform.

Green is the biggest question mark of the bunch since he’s a respected leader on an expiring deal. His injury will require at least six months of rehab on a soon-to-be 35-year-old body, so there is a real chance the Sixers could move on from his non-guaranteed contract via trade or outright release.

Neither move would give them salary cap relief. Either way, Green’s future remains very much in doubt heading into the 2022 offseason.

“We’re just mostly focused on Danny right now,” Sixers president Daryl Morey said on May 13. “He gave so much to us. I was really hoping the fourth ring, on four different teams, would be here this year. I haven’t thought about it [his future], I’m just being honest.”

Green made a point to walk back out onto the court following his gruesome injury in Game 6. The three-time champion said he wanted to be in the huddle for two reasons: “to see my guys and say goodbye to the fans.” Interpret the last part however you want. Maybe Green knows the writing is on the wall.

“I thought it was cool that Danny came out,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “What I love about Danny is he’s played 1,000 years, and he still has this zest to show up every day and play every day and loves it every day. He’s not lost any energy as far as wanting to be a player.”

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Rivers Gets Emotional Over Veteran Players

Rivers got emotional a few times in the wake of the Sixers’ second-round playoff exit. He mentioned Tyrese Maxey calling him late into the morning after that 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat. Ditto for Danny Green. The 60-year-old coach also got weepy-eyed discussing Paul Millsap and DeAndre Jordan, two players possibly headed for retirement.

“I’m very emotional toward veterans,” Rivers said. “Paul Millsap again and DJ [DeAndre Jordan]. There’s a chance, like Paul Millsap, it was his last game. There’s a chance DJ, it was his last game. And hopefully [not] with injury, the same could be for Danny [Green] and we hope none of those are true.”

Morey didn’t know the extent of Green’s injury when he addressed the media on Friday, but the savvy front-office executive probably had a clue. He made sure to thank Green for his contributions over the last year and a half. Many people see Green stepping into a coaching role at some point.

“He does bring value on both ends and that showed in the playoffs, and how he really stepped up for the team. I won’t forget it,” Morey said of Green. “He’s just, he’s someone who’s going to be around basketball for a long time. He loves it, he’s very intelligent, and we’re hoping for good news on the injury. But that was a tough one for everybody.”

Sixers Remain Committed to Winning Championship

The Sixers haven’t brought home the Larry O’Brien Trophy since 1983. It’s a fact not lost on anyone associated with the Sixers’ organization, from the front office to the locker room. They are intent on leading a glorious parade down Broad Street in the near future and that’s why everyone was so bummed. The Sixers failed in achieving their goal.

“That’s why right now hurts a lot,” Morey said. “Because we know the fans’ expectations, our own expectations for ourselves. Everything’s being provided and we did not achieve what we want, which is a championship.

“We’re not afraid to talk about it. That is the goal. We have one of the best, if not the best, players on the planet. And we have to do more. All of us.”

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