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Jeff Green Has A Rebounding Incentive In His Contract?

After signing a bloated four-year contract this offseason, we’ve been pretty tough on Jeff Green throughout the first half of this season here at the Hub. Perhaps, we’ve been a bit too tough on him at times, (hey, it’s not his fault Danny Ainge decided to overpay him), but it’s been with good long-term intentions that we’ve cared for one of the highest paid players on the team who seemingly has endless potential. The good news is Green has really started to come around to proving his worth during this past month, bringing consistent effort and production on both sides of the floor almost every night. Boston has desperately needed this kind of play for them to succeed and it’s finally starting to pay dividends.

Jackie MacMullan of ESPNBoston.com caught up with Green recently to highlight his improved play and discuss amongst other interesting topics his road back from heart surgery last year. However, one tidbit in the article that was surprising to me and others I’m sure, is the fact that Ainge had a rebounding incentive, (one of Green’s greatest flaws as a player) placed in Green’s contract this offseason:

The most glaring deficiency since Green came to Boston has been his rebounding. The Celtics were so bothered by his lack of production in that area that when they signed him to a 4-year, $36 million extension last summer, Ainge included a rebounding incentive clause in the deal.

More rebounds, more pay.

“That one area was our biggest concern,” Ainge said. “To me, it’s not a lack of effort. It’s about bad habits.

“I don’t think Jeff has ever focused on rebounding in his life, from what I can tell.”

While Green acknowledged he was aware of the rebounding incentive, he said he hasn’t given it much thought since the season began.

“Money comes, and money goes,” Green said. “I just want to win games. I could care less how much money is riding on a rebound. It’s contrary to who I am. You do that and you’re thinking about the wrong things. It’s just not my mindset.”

The emphasis on rebounding and aggressiveness — there’s that word again — has been hammered home by coach Doc Rivers and forward¬†Kevin Garnett, who implores Green to look at the basket more.

Unfortunately, Jeff isn’t lying when he says he could care less about the money earned while rebounding. Green has improved his offensive production and defense lately, but he’s still rebounding as poorly as ever. His defensive rebounding rate of 12.3 percent is a career low for him and he hasn’t made any strides lately during the C’s hot streak, as that DRR has dropped to 10.3 % during the team’s past nine games. Perhaps Danny knew this and just wanted to save money in the deal by inserting the clause.

Since Boston has been winning, the lack of rebounding by Green hasn’t been much of an issue recently since he’s doing other things on the floor to make up for the deficiency. Make no mistake though, Doc Rivers needs more from Green in this department if the team is going to survive this regular season and attempt to make some noise in the postseason as well.

If the money doesn’t matter to Green, perhaps we can think of some other ideas here at the Hub to give him some incentives to hit the glass extra hard. Suggestions as always are welcome from our readers…and remember those ideas from CelticsHub have worked for other Celtics in the past.

  • KillerGymRat

    While I think it's admirable that money isn't a motivating factor for Green – after reading this I don't think you can expect him to ever change. I mean if your coach, your GM and your best players all plainly state they need you to hit the boards and you don't improve at all (in fact the numbers suggest he's being willful and actual putting even less effort in), then you just have to accept he is who he is and not only does he not care about money…he really isn't committed to doing whatever it takes to win.

    If playing alongside KG and PP doesn't motivate you to give your all in every area of the game, then he clearly belongs in the category of the Nene's of the league who will never deliver on their potential, because they aren't really passionate about the game and don't have the inner fire that will ever have him be anything more then a promising role player who underperforms on the boards and disappoints just as much as he delivers. Truthfully, it shouldn't be a surprise, a great deal of the league is in the same category.

    I hope it's a really big incentive that puts his actualy contract in the area of $6 m which is much closer to what he deserves for his effort. But I doubt it.

  • janos

    hi bryan is janos
    this good articles link of jackie '; are you able have him teach rick how do proper interview is better then his ones.

  • Phil725

    I made a rule for myself that I'm not allowed to talk about Jeff Green's contract until the offseason… but I guess it's the all star break, so that rule's on break too.

    The entire problem with the contract Ainge gave Green is that Green's "potential" isn't as high as everyone seems to think. Specifically, the potential that he's likely to reach isn't nearly as high as everyone thinks. Contracts in the NBA have 'likely incentives', and 'unlikely incentives'. The unlikely ones aren't factored into the cap; that's relevant to this discussion because Ainge factored Green's unlikely potential into his contract.

    Green is athletic, and he's tall for a wing. However, these are problems that currently limit him from being anything close to a 9m a year player: Rebounding, ball handling skills, 3pt%, understanding of defensive schemes. Those are his four biggest issues, and all of them are massive red flags that don't often improve once players reach the NBA (let alone play six years.) His 3pt shooting this year has been somewhat encouraging (especially if he follows the AB plan and takes most of his from the corners,) yet he's still at 34%, and his career percentages say that's where he should be. He doesn't shrink the floor, but he's not a true threat either. Wings who aren't a threat from 3 have to be elite at everything else to be great on offense.

    I'd say his defense as a whole (not just the 'watch him against Lebron!!' thing,) has been better this year too, but I also have no faith in him if KG isn't on the court. He messes up assignments all the time, and he's still fighting to stay on the good side of average. He has the body and skillset to be a good one on one defender, but that's an overrated part of defense in the NBA. Rarely does a team just go one on one (and they probably suck at offense anyway if they do.) Considering his contract means he'll be here long after KG, this is a problem.

    Ball handling… eesh. Probably his biggest limitation on offense. He can't get around any defender who's actually alive if they take one step back and to the left, and he's bounced the ball into the chest of a defender on two separate occasions over the last 3 games. I don't actually know how likely NBA players are to improve their handle in their 8th and 9th years in the NBA, but if Green's not a true threat off the dribble (which he isn't now,) he's even more limited on offense. Now he's not a threat from 3 'or' in the Paul Pierce creator role.

    Which brings us to rebounding. The career low this year should tell you all you need to know. Players don't suddenly blossom into great rebounders. They start in college, and it translates almost immediately. Green is a bad rebounder, and he always will be one. If you have the luxury of playing a great rebounder like Pierce next to him at the 2, then it's fine. It's just another thing that limits you… which coincidentally, is exactly how I would describe Jeff Green's contract.

    So basically, if he improves his shot, handle, defense and rebounding, he can be good enough to decline his laughable player option in 2016 (if Ainge gets fired over this blown rebuild, that player option needs included in the team statement.) He's also in his 6th year right now, and those problems have been around his entire career. This also ignores other flaws in his game that are harder to quantify, like passing and toughness, but it's best to focus on the obvious stuff in year 1 of the deal.

    I feel a little better now… back to ignoring this for the rest of the year…

    • Phil725

      All that said, my standard for Green this year was that I wanted him to be a positive factor on the team, that simple. He was a big time negative after the trade in 2010 (as in, they would've been better off had he not shown up to the facility,) and they got to game 7 of the ECF without him last year. This year, he's actually contributed. If he was on a reasonable deal, basically anything one or two years long, I'd be celebrating him.

      If we're looking at this year in a vacuum, I'm happy with what I've seen so far. I even thought Doc blew the Charlotte game by only playing him 28 minutes when he was the only guy doing anything. He's not being asked to do much, and that's when he can help.

      • Anthony

        It's a little unfair to say that he was a big time negative after the trade for the pure simple fact of Perks intangibles to the team (especially his friendship with Rondo). That blame has more to do with DA than JGreen. I argue that Perk was way overrated and leveraged himself into his current contract. Celts would've won #18 without him in 2010 if Sheed had been in better shape and able to muster 2-3 extra good minutes.

        Contract wise, who are you comparing JGreen's contract to? He's at ~$8.4 mil this year which isn't that bad. Obviously the 4 years is not ideal but again that's an onus you put on DA not JGreen. Nobody showed up in the first 35 games this season and JGreen was a part of that I agree. But in the last 18-20 games you can see the effort level pick up from him and the entire team as a whole. Also, it was just a year removed since his heart surgery. That alone says a lot about his motivation.

        • Phil725

          Well, without delving too far into the 2010 numbers, I'll just go off of the fact that the team was 12 points better with Green on the bench in the regular season, and a ridiculous 19.4 points better without him in the playoffs. The normal caveats apply (small sample size, a lot of room for noise in on/off numbers without context,) but I don't care how you slice it, there's no way you're making up 20 points per 100 possessions. Those numbers say he was an unmitigated disaster, and that confirms what I remember. I agree that the team missed Perk's intangibles way more than Ainge anticipated, but that doesn't change the fact that Green brought absolutely no solution, tangible or intangible to the team that year.

          As far as what Green is worth? Here's the player I think compares the most:

          Player A: 25mpg, 10.3 ppg, 3.3rpg, 1apg, age 26 (5 years exp,) super athletic, great dunker. 8.4m salary over four years.
          Player B: 32mpg, 10.3ppg, 3.9rpg, 2apg, age 25 (3 years exp,) super athletic, great dunker. 3.5m salary over three years.

          A is Green is obviously. B is Alonzo Gee of the Cavs. Green is better than Gee (more than the numbers suggest,) but not by a lot. Both are young, athletic small forwards who bring athleticism and a slashing game on offense. Green is a backup SF for this team (or any championship contender,) coming into this year I called him the 7th option. That's exaggerating, but calling him a backup SF isn't. You don't pay a normal bench player over 5m, let alone 9m. Green can probably be an above average bench guy in the right situation, but we're a long way from just justifying a salary over 5m.

          That's vacuum analysis though, the Cs couldn't have gotten Green for what he's worth (~5m,) and they couldn't get a replacement since they were over the cap. No team was beating 2 years 16m, and they certainly weren't beating 2/20. Two years of backing up Pierce would've lowered his asking price, less potential at 28, and less minutes/numbers, and you would have a much better idea whether or not he fits into this team's future in 2015.

          • Anthony

            I usually agree with your analysis/ comments but to compare JGreen to Alonzo Gee and saying he's worth less than the MLE is really undervaluing JGreen. Maybe I'm being a homer, trying to defend the trade, and overvaluing him but he's a starter in the league. Only reason he's not starting is because you can't disrespect the Truth.

            Stats can always be manipulated to align to your perspective.

            A 28.3mpg .452 .370 .8424.2rpg 1.9apg 11.1ppg
            B 31.4mpg .421 .369 .8444.7rpg 1.9apg 14.6ppg
            C 31.1mpg .472 .321 .7206.2rpg 2.1apg 13.2ppg
            D 37.5mpg .460 .329 .7295.8rpg 4.8apg 15.2ppg
            E 33.2mpg .438 .384 .847 5.2rpg 2.0apg 18.2ppg
            F 35.8mpg .461 .333 .7696.4rpg 2.4apg 16.0ppg
            G 32.4mpg .445 .337 .7785.2rpg 1.5apg 13.4ppg
            H 28.9mpg .446 .364 .8423.7rpg 3.1apg 15.3ppg

            A – Batum 4yr $46.2mil
            B – Gallo 4yr $42mil
            C – GWallace 4yr $40mil
            D – Iguodala 6yr $80mil
            E – Granger 6yr $60mil
            F – Deng 6yr $71mil
            G – JGreen 4yr $36mil
            H – Harden 5yr $80mil

            And if you want to take it further the following players can also be considered overpaid. That's like 10% of the league!

            Amare, Joe, Rudy, Kev Martin, Okafur, Ben Gordon, Humphries, Kirlienko, Thad Young, Devin Harris, Tyrus Thomas, Villanueva, Marvin, Salmons, Captain Jack, Perkins, Diop, Wilson Chandler, Harrington, Turkoglu, Magette, RJefferson, Ilyasova, Affalo, Ariza, Metta, Tayshaun, Landry Fields, Wesley Matthews, Francisco Garcia, Luke Walton, etc.

    • CG12

      While I have to acknowledge that a lot of relevant stats don't like Jeff Green, I just like what we have been seeing from him recently. He seems like he may be bridging the gap from "disengaged" to "focused." He looks like he gives a shit on defense and takes the ball to the rack like he believes no one can stop him (they can't). Jeff Green is not a cog in the machinery – he is a guy who is built to be making plays. One offense he should be looking to do something with the ball whenever he gets it, and he often goes into processing-station mode where it is clear that he isn't planning on doing anything but moving it along to someone else. The defenders can likely see that just as well as I can. So I'm hoping Jeff can continue to show that, in which case I simply don't care about his PER.

    • OKCeltic

      While I agree with most of what you state above Phil, everyone on this team is a less capable defender without KG on the floor. KG hides a lot of the other players' flaws on defense.

      • Morpheus

        AB, PP and to a certain extent Lee should not be in that "everyone" category as you put it.

        • OKCeltic

          I hear you. I was alluding more to the overall team defense when KG is and is not on the floor. I should have stated that better.

      • Phil725

        Definitely true. I'm afraid of how this defense will look once KG retires… well, not so much afraid as solemnly resigned to fate. I was just pointing out KG's impact here because I think Green's biggest weakness defensively is what's helped the most by being on the court with KG. He's amazing in how he can tell all four teammates when and where to be at all times.

        The defense as a whole will get worse when KG goes down because he's arguably the best defender ever. But I think Green will be hurt more than most on an individual level, and that's a problem if he's your top wing defender of the future.

  • Portceltic

    There's nothing in Green's history to suggest his rebounding numbers will ever ascend no matter how many carrots are dangled in front of him.

    He is putting up the exact same per minute stats now, while playing a reduced role that he played in OKC as a big minute starter.

    He's not a good rebounder for his size and athleticism.

  • Morpheus

    I like your points about Green, Phil, most are true, no, everything you stated about Jeff's flaws are true.

    He will never all of a sudden blossom into a good rebounder, i don't know what Danny was thinking when he included that incentive into Green's contract. Rebounding starts before you even enter into the NBA at college level. He has suspect handle, he isn't a threat off the dribble considering he can only go right, good man to man D, but still struggles with actual TEAM D, verdict's still out on whether or not he can improve as a passer, playmaker. I'm willing to bet he will never drastically improve in that area.

    All that said, i'm liking what i've seen from Green during our recent win streak and there's still time for him to improve on that with consistency.

  • matthew

    I think Green is just way behind where he should be at this point in this career. Will a light go on in this head and he will put it all together properly not, but he could improve. Player with high athletic ability some times take longer to see how the game is played they are so used to dominating athletically. He is not a good dribbler and has no left which is sad at this point in his career. I do wish Doc would post him up more where he only has to make one dribble.

  • NZNICK33

    One thing that bothers me about rebounding as a stat is that it only credits the guy who collects the ball. As we all know, other players are required to block out and fend off opposing players. These players don’t get credited with the rebound even though they have been just as integral. Check Green out sometime. I think he does a pretty decent job helping his teammates to grab the rebound by blocking out. Maybe this is what he means about caring about winning more than money. Perhaps he is fine to help his teammate collect the board. Perhaps he knows he is a weak rebounder, and does what he can to help his team.

    I think people are giving up on Green way too soon. If you went through what he went through, would you be doing your job at 100% efficiency only one year later?
    The fact that he has made positive strides lately, that he looks engaged, that he can play long minutes (he checked in at about the 9 minute mark of the 2nd half in the Bulls game and played the rest of the way) and still be productive – it’s an encouraging sign that he is beginning to understand what it takes to be a Celtic.

    You guys can go ahead and doubt him. I choose to support him.

  • Antoni Gonzalez

    Green is begining to show , wait for him he is a gazella who do all well.

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