While the top end of the NBA battle it out in the playoffs, the Boston Celtics, along with 13 other lottery teams, have already turned their attention towards the offseason and the improvements they can make looking towards a brighter 2014-15 season. Unsurprisingly, the speculation has already begun with forward Jeff Green, seemingly one of the most likely candidates to be on the move before next season. Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald says that Green is “eminently available” in trades, and with the 2013-14 playoffs showing how even the top of the league is, a number of teams could be interested in trading for the 27-year-old Green to try and put them over the top:
He was a volume scorer and shooter on a bad team, with two more years at $9.2 million each — the second not guaranteed — left on his contract. He’s eminently available if there’s a contender who believes Green can fit in as a third or fourth guy.
Jeff Green started every game for the Celtics this season and was the team’s leading scorer with 16.9 points per game. Green was given the green light offensively and had every opportunity to become a go-to scorer but was inconsistent, as his .412 shooting percentage shows that the increase of defensive attention had a dramatic effect on Green’s ability to score effectively. Green also pulled down 4.6 rebounds, dished out 1.7 assists and knocked down 1.6 three pointers per game. While his raw numbers show that he is an effective player at the NBA level, based on the opportunity he was given and his overall efficiency it shows that Green is far more suited to playing a role on a contending team rather than trying to be a focal point offensively.
As stated above, Green is paid well at $9.2 million per season for the next two years, but he is a valuable, versatile contributor with the ability to make a real difference if he is given the right role. Green is able to guard multiple positions, both on the wings or against power forwards which makes him extremely valuable in the playoffs. He has great length for the small forward position and can be relied on to guard the top forwards in the league for extended periods. Offensively, he has the ability to drive, post up on smaller players or shoot from outside. It is simply his assertiveness and efficiency that is a concern on that end.
Given the skill set, the contract and the landscape of the NBA right now, what teams would be most interested in Green via trade once the market opens this offseason?
The Rockets finished fourth in a tough Western Conference this season but have fallen into a 0-2 hole against the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round of the NBA playoffs. The Rockets loaded up on star talent over the past two seasons acquiring both James Harden and Dwight Howard, but the job now is to put the right pieces around their All-Stars in order to truly contend for a title. Green would give the Rockets another player who can create his own shot, but is more than happy to play a complimentary role. He would give the Rockets a solid defender to throw at the high scoring wings in the West, but with Dwight Howard in the paint he could also provide a valuable option as a small-ball power forward.
In order to acquire Green, the Rockets could send back up center Omer Asik, whom the Celtics have shown interest in in the past, but they also have young players like Chandler Parsons, Terrance Jones or Jeremy Lin that could be used in order to make a deal work. Green’s versatility defensively, ability to contribute on the offensive end and his relationship with Harden having played together in Oklahoma City could be reason enough for Houston to make a move for him in the offseason.
Despite having a roster seemingly full of talent, the Timberwolves failed to reach the playoffs in a tough Western Conference and only have one more season to prove to All-Star Kevin Love that he should resign there long-term. The Wolves have a strong frontcourt with Love and Nikola Pekovic, a playmaking point guard in Ricky Rubio and a shot-creating shooting guard in Kevin Martin but there is a huge hole in the line-up for a defensive small forward with the ability to shoot. Green would seemingly be a perfect fit to the existing starting lineup, his defensive ability is something the Timberwolves have sorely lacked and his shooting would be a welcome addition to spread the floor for the big men inside.
Having two big men inside capable of scoring 20-plus points every night and Martin who is a reliable option would mean Green would be able to settle into a role and not have the scrutiny of being a number one option as he was this season. The Wolves will most likely have the 13th pick in the 2014 draft which could interest the Celtics, along with players who could make the deal work in J.J. Barea, Alexei Shved, Luc Richard Mbah Moute or Chase Buddinger. If the Wolves are serious about building around Love, trading for Green could be the most logical move without mortgaging future assets.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors have become a staple in the Western Conference playoffs and one of the most exciting teams in the NBA. They have “The Splash Brothers” in the back court with solid, efficient contributors up front in Andrew Bogut and David Lee but seem to lack enough firepower to truly contend in a tough West. With Steph Curry at point guard, the Warriors have their superstar to build around and now need to find the right pieces to make a real run towards the top. They finished sixth this season and have lost Bogut prior to a tough match up with the Los Angeles Clippers which they currently trail 1-2.
The Warriors have a couple of young small forwards on the roster, as well as veteran Andre Iguodala but Green could give the Warriors tremendous versatility on both ends of the floor and allow Mark Jackson to play big or small depending on the match-up. If the Warriors were willing to move young swingman Harrison Barnes in a package for Green, the Celtics could continue their rebuilding project while the Warriors get a player far more likely to contribute immediately while they are trying to make the most of Curry’s prime years.
Where could you see him landing if Green does in fact wind up traded this off-season?