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Putting Jeff Green in the Trade Machine

 

The trade deadline is February 20. The Boston Celtics are one of several teams that will be extremely active leading up to February 20. Jeff Green—the guy who scored two bajillion 36 points last night in Philadelphia—is one reason why.

Before we dive into the really fun trade-related stuff everyone loves talking about, this article isn’t about whether the Celtics “should” trade Green—he’s a good player on a reasonable contract, and the team would be perfectly fine either way. This is more about a team trying to find value anywhere it can. Value can come in many different forms: cap space, draft picks, rookie scale contracts, expiring deals, a turbo-boost into the lottery. For a rebuilding team, all potentially cede paths to a strong foundation and long-term flexibility. Green is none of those things, and if the Celtics can brighten their future by trading him they’ll do it.

Here are a few trades, some more realistic than others. They’re placed in four different categories that help define what type of value Boston would be obtaining in the deal.

Tanking and Saving

These deals will save the Celtics money and make them worse at basketball, two friends for any rebuilding team. Each sheds Green’s contract in exchange for an expiring deal—the same thought process behind the Courtney Lee/Jerryd Bayless trade earlier this season.

Jeff Green to Washington for Trevor Ariza.

At first glance this deal looks like something the Celtics would not do. Okay, now look at the numbers. Ariza can’t take over a quarter like Green, but he’s scored at least 20 points in 11 games this season. Green’s scored at least 20 points in 10 games, and has appeared in seven more. 

Ariza is 28 years old on an expiring contract. Green’s contract runs through 2016, when he has a $9.2 million player option  that he’ll probably opt out of. He went to Georgetown and grew up in Maryland. From Washington’s perspective, building around a John Wall, Bradley Beal, Jeff Green, Nene, Marcin Gortat (if they re-sign him) starting five isn’t that bad. Green would almost certainly be more effective as a third option playing off of Wall and Beal, especially creating mismatches in the post. (Worth considering: Green could stunt Otto Porter’s development, but also alleviate any pressure he might be feeling as a struggling third overall pick.)

Jeff Green and Keith Bogans to Charlotte for Ben Gordon.

Ben Gordon has played in 17 games this season. He’s shooting under 40% from the floor and 30% from the three-point line for the first time in his once proud career. His PER is 6.7. He’s making $13.2 million.

Not that it has any bearing in a multi-million dollar business, but trading Jeff Green for this player would be an all-time tank job; a complete slap in the face to fundamental competition. The Charlotte Bobcats are also rebuilding, but they’re a tad less patient (understandably) about it than the Celtics, and qualifying for the playoffs is a priority. Green is an undeniable upgrade there.

This trade ultimately won’t happen because Green’s too good a player to be abandoned solely for a financial cause. His contract isn’t that bad. (At least with Ariza you’re getting someone who can crack an NBA rotation.)

Huntin’ for Blue Chips

Jeff Green and a 2015 1st round pick (courtesy of the Los Angeles Clippers) to Golden State for Harrison Barnes and Marreese Speights.

A few weeks ago I wrote about Harrison Barnes’ various struggles in Golden State. Barnes is shooting 40.6% from the floor right now. He’s also 21 years old with incredible potential and a rookie scale contract that doesn’t end until 2017. Thanks to Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala, the Warriors won’t want to foot the bill on Barnes’ next contract, but he’s a perfect fit in Boston.

The 2015 1st round pick is a necessary casualty here, because there’s no way Golden State takes Green’s contract without a helpful incentive.

Interesting Straight Up Swaps That Will Never Happen

Jeff Green for Danilo Gallinari

Two weeks ago Danilo Gallinari had his second ACL surgery in nine months. That’s no good. He’s sidelined for the foreseeable future, and isn’t helping a .500 Denver Nuggets team that somehow trails Dallas by only two games for the last playoff spot out West.

Jeff Green’s knee isn’t destroyed. He can run fast and jump high. He can help. The Nuggets would most likely be open to this deal. On the other hand, Boston would be swapping its leading scorer for someone who can’t run.

Gallinari is also 25 years old, and it’s not like the Celtics are going anywhere in a hurry. So what’s the problem? He’s guaranteed approximately $22 million over the next two seasons, a significant sum for a seriously injured player. There’s risk here, but it’d still make for an interesting trade.

Jeff Green for Omer Asik

The Celtics had interest in Omer Asik earlier this year, but it’s next to impossible the Rockets would move him for Jeff Green tomorrow. They already have an answer at power forward. Terrence Jones is a 22-year-old athletic freak who’s getting better by the day; he’s been excellent beside Dwight Howard, is incredibly efficient and already rebounds it better than Green.

The “Blockbuster”

Jeff Green and Brandon Bass for Josh Smith

Basketball is a game of fit. Successful teams are made up of players with complimentary skill-sets. Josh Smith is having a miserable season in Detroit, but the previous seven seasons illustrate how good he can be (which is much better than a 14.4 PER). Smith’s playing out of position, in a claustrophobic frontcourt that lacks shooting. He’s a really good player who can rebound, pass, play defense, run the floor, and finish, and imagining what Brad Stevens would do with him and Rajon Rondo is exhilarating. The contract is an issue (he’s guaranteed $40.5 million over the next three seasons), and if the Pistons are interested in building around a Greg Monroe/Andre Drummond frontline (not a bad idea), Smith can’t be on the team.

That contract isn’t as foul on the Celtics. If they can acquire Smith without giving up any draft picks, it’s something they should seriously consider.

Michael Pina has written for Red94, CelticsHub, The Classical, Bleacher Report, Sports On Earth, and Boston Magazine. Follow him here.

  • casey

    how about for just a 1st and another draft pick or a player that won’t make much of an impact. celtics need to tank and get a top 5 pick.

  • Oldutican

    I’d hold Green until the draft. There is a decent chance Celts could get either Wiggins or Parker, and could then move Green with more options than they have now. He might also get a center in return because there are 4 teams who could end up with top pick in Embiid who already have centers: Utah, Milwaukee, Orlando and Sacramento. Each of those teams could use Green and he could be used in a deal that could get Celts a legit center.

  • BeanMan

    We may need ammo to move up in the draft a slot or two (i.e., from 4/5 to 2/3). Save Green for that potential trade.

  • hax

    My main trade idea was

    Green & Wallace to Utah for Biedrins and Richard Jefferson.

    Those 2 and Humphries combine for $32 million gone(Hi LeBron in green) after this season. Now Utah has hoarded expirings this year so I doubt it. But pairing the bad wallace contract with a near all-star like Green makes it considerable.

    • CelticsBIG3

      Near all star? He’s cracked twenty points ten times in fifty games. Not really a “near” all star.

      • http://soundcloud.com/drmillionaire millionaire

        finally, thank you. everybody overrates Jeff Green so much it’s crazy. His PER is 13.8! the league average is 15! let’s stop pretending any team would take on Wallace’s awful contract for a chance to overpay Jeff Green.

        • CelticsBIG3

          I’ve been bringing people around here back down to earth on Jeff Green for two years running. He has 10 mediocre games, Scores 30 against a piece of crap defense (see; Washington / Philadelphia) and everyone is on the D again.

    • casey

      0.0% chance of lebron coming to boston

      • hax

        That’s what people thought about the Heat getting all 3 big Free Agents until it happened. :3

        We have to try.
        Or Hayward/Gortat.

        • casey

          hes staying in miami or going to CHI

  • PJbanner18

    Figured out a perfectly reasonable trade…

    http://espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=q5rm7d8

  • hydrofluoric

    Bass/Green for Smith should have happened LAST season…

  • Joe

    Ok here we go….
    Jeff green, kris humphries, Gerald Wallace, and bogans for
    Carmelo Anthony and Tyson chandler

    Potential starting line up: rondo, Bradley, melo, sullinger, chandler

    • casey

      why would you want melo? hes the perfect definition of a loser. sure, hes an amazing scorer but hell go down as one of the better players in the NBA who has never won anything. just doesnt have it in him

      • Joe

        Yes i agree 100% that Melo is a parasite on a team, an allstar version of Ricky Davis, BUT with that line-up it could definitely work. Between Rondo, AB, and Tyson you have a great defensive line-up. Melo would easily average anywhere from 27-35pts a game with rondo. We would have rebounding across the entire line-up. Carmelo is one of the most efficient scorers in the league. With a team like this you can definitely win a championship, just a couple bench pieces. Also look how Melo plays when he is motivated…

        If he knew he had a real chance to win he would not be an issue. The other former Nugget players that he brings with him are who you have to avoid. Think J.R. Smith.

        • casey

          efficient scorer? he averages 21+ shots a game and only score 27 PPG and efficient scorer would be 26 PPG and shooting 16+ shots. plus hes a terrible defender.

    • hax

      Carmelo wants to play with Rondo so I wouldn’t be surprised but blockbusters are always difficult for two gms to pull off. Signing melo in free agency makes sense too. Safer.

      • Joe

        Obviously.

    • YouSerious?

      The Knicks have no reason on Earth to do that trade.

      • Joe

        Obviously they wouldnt do that trade. although Dolan has been known to do stupid shit.

  • Ping

    What is with the prolonged infatuation with this fanbase and Josh Smith?

    Smith is having an abysmal year, but even his past numbers don’t justify the status he retains. He’s posted above average PERs every other year or so, but has been terrible shooting the ball in every form but a dunk. He is a good rebounder and shot blocker for a player of his size, but he’s also prone to lazy defense and miserable shot selection.

    Top that off with one of the worst contracts in the NBA, and I continue to fail to see the attraction. Is the idea of an alley-oop once a game from Rondo really that enticing?

    I get it’s a hypothetical, and that Green won’t net the Celtics Durant or LeBron, but is a Josh Smith investment wise in any sense?

    • casey

      yes maybe, next year. but they need to lose now!

  • D Willis

    The Washington trade makes the most sense

  • Rob H.

    Based on the recent reports about Embiid and Parker considering staying for another year, I think Danny should seriously consider moving the 2014 pick. Although we have the 5th worst record in the league, we’re heading into a softer part of the schedule and are only 5 games out of the playoffs. Adding the 2014 pick, or a combination of any of future first rounders to Jeff Green opens up the potential for getting a cornerstone piece in return from a struggling team. Joe Dumars is on thin ice in detroit and because of the win now expectations, he would have to seriously consider shipping Greg Monroe to Boston in exchange for a shooter they desperately need, not to mention a potential top 5 pick that HE would get to use in an attempt to save his job. Also, the idea of getting a wing player like Harrison Barnes is very intriguing and would be a great return for Jeff Green.

    Sullinger has proven that he can be our PF of the future and if Bradley can play well enough along side rondo once he gets healthy then I think we’ve found our backcourt of the future. I’m also a firm believer in the chances that Gordon Hayward will come to Boston in free agency to reunite with Brad Stevens. With a potential starting line up of Rondo, Bradley, Hayward, Sullinger and Monroe, the future would look very bright in Boston.

    Back to the idea of trading the 2014 pick, it is important to keep in mind that both Wiggins and Embiid aren’t going to be making an immediate impact for the team that drafts them. It would take at least a year or two for them to develop and adjust to the NBA game. At that point, Rondo will be 30. Danny said it himself:

    “If Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was out there to change your franchise forever, or Tim Duncan was going to change your franchise for 15 years? That might be a different story,” said Ainge. “I don’t see that player out there.”

    It’s a good draft in terms of depth through picks 3-15, but that’s not what we need. Because of the current state of the eastern conference, Danny needs to move the pick for an impact player that will put us in the playoffs and push that draft pick out of the lottery. A lot of things have to right for a Rondo-Bradley-Hayward-Sullinger-Monroe to materialize, but it sure would be a great way to enter next season.

    • hydrofluoric

      For one thing, it would require a huge overpay on Hayward. He’s a RFA and Utah will match any “good” price on him.

  • Monty

    What about a trade of Green and Bass for Brook Lopez from the Nets? We could use an all-star center (so could pretty much everyone else around the league) but since he’s out for the season and the Nets have to be in win-now mode, I can see why it would be appealing for them. Green and Bass make them a real playoff threat alongside Williams, Johnson, Pierce, and Garnett. The Celtics end up with their core big man for next season and ensure the tank.

    Do the numbers and NBA rules and whatnot work out?

  • Ersatz

    I disagree that Green is too good to be traded for financial reasons. I’d do that Ben Gordon deal in a second. Even if the Cs didn’t use their cap space this year, it’d still be there in 2015.

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