Six days remain until the draft lottery, and real news remains very quiet for the time being. But yesterday, Zach Lowe posted an interesting story on the Washington Wizards with a small nugget for Celtics fans — a reminder that this summer could be full of intriguing roster moves.
Washington could work the trade market to find a capable replacement for one or both guys — a proven veteran better than the minimum-salary stopgaps, but on a cheaper and/or shorter deal than Ariza and Gortat will get. The Wiz have long liked Jeff Green, who has just two seasons left on his current deal. They could help Denver reboot by flipping one player for the combo of Wilson Chandler and J.J. Hickson, both with two seasons left on their deals.7 They could kick the tires on any number of useful wing players under contract in Minnesota and Memphis.
One passing sentence in an article? No other news? Nothing on the horizon? Okay, then let’s dive in.
Jeff Green would actually be a nice fit for the Wizards, but we’ll mostly leave the Wizards analysis elsewhere. Like many teams, Washington could use an athletic small forward who can defend individual players, hit 3-pointers and drive to the basket. There’s no question Green would be available for the right price, but what could the Celtics get in return if the Wizards called?
Not much. Bradley Beal is off the table (don’t be stupid), Marcin Gortat and Trevor Ariza are free agents this offseason, and Boston has no interest/use for Nene’s $13 million a year deal. It’s tough to imagine that Green — in today’s trading market — would command a first round draft pick, but Phoenix owns Washington’s pick either way, and since Phoenix owns Washington’s pick, the Wizards can’t trade their 2015 either. That leaves second-round picks and expiring contracts, which — frankly — would be a disappointing-but-realistic haul for a player as talented as Green. There are plenty of ways to get the deal done contractually (there are always ways to make such things work), but none of them would be particularly easy, and the Wizards simply don’t have much available that Boston would bend over backwards to get.
This begs the question: How important do you consider Jeff Green to this team? Do you see the talent he demonstrated in 2012-13 and demand a premium on him, hoping someone overpays and staying content to keep him (and continue paying him $9 million a year) if no one does? It’s a possibility. We’ve said this so much it’s become a cliche, but Green is a nice fourth option if you can find options 1-3. Presumably, the Celtics are hoping Rondo is one of those top three options, and presumably they are hoping to either draft or trade for the other two. With that in mind, maybe keeping Green around wouldn’t be the worst thing.
On the other hand, teams build around stars, not role players. Clearing Green’s salary and gaining a draft pick or two — second round or otherwise — might be worth it since he was brought in to compliment two players who won’t have played for the franchise in two years at the start of next season.
Green will be 28 at that point. He is what he is by now. The bad news is that Green seems to have reached his ceiling as a player. The good news is that since the Celtics know what Green is, they should find valuing him as a trade chip pretty simple.
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