May 14, 2011, 10:00 AM EDT
Jeff Green is primarily known as “that guy who sucks that we traded Perkins for” in Boston. It’s not fair, he doesn’t play the same position as Perkins, didn’t ask to be traded, and had to try and fit into a tight-knit team making a championship run. He was set up to fail. Granted, he kind of failed, particularly with a key late turnover in Game 5 versus the Celtics, but still, he wasn’t put in a position to succeed.
But no matter how much animosity is built up for him, it appears the Celtics are serious about building around him. From ESPN Boston:
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge said he expects to make restricted free agent Jeff Green a qualifying offer prior to the July 1 deadline, in an effort to retain the services of the 24-year old forward and potentially make him a centerpiece of the club once the Big Three era comes to a close.
Wait, wait, it gets better.
Ainge told Boston sports radio station WEEI on Thursday that Green will likely play a much larger role for Boston next season (and in seasons beyond), teasing the possibility of him starting in place of someone like Paul Pierce or Ray Allen. Ainge backed off of that possibility a bit on Friday when he spoke with reporters, explaining that he was only suggesting it to illustrate how he would expect Green to do more for Boston next season if he inks a new deal.
“There’s some things that can be tweaked,” said Ainge. “That’s my whole point.”
Green’s versatile. This is true. But as someone who defended Green for years in OKC, Ainge needs to recognize that Green’s simply too big to play the 3 consistently, and doesn’t rebound. He is a huge rebounding liability at the power forward position. That makes him extremely difficult to play, regardless of how many 3-pointers he hits. Green has athleticism and upside, but has never shown the focus necessary for him to overcome his tweener status.
Yes, Green looked good at some rare times in the late regular and postseason. But he also showed a lack of resolve, concentration and ability to step up. The Celtics are still very much in sink or swim mode. And no matter how much Ainge tries to protect him, the minute Green signs a longer-term offer, which is the next step after the QO, the scrutiny and resentment will continue to rise. That’s the reality of Jeff Green’s unfortunate situation. Maybe he’ll surprise us.
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