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League says information not shared reason Thunder surrender pick to Celtics

Jun 26, 2012, 7:14 PM EDT

Jeff Green Getty Images

Tuesday the NBA announced that the Oklahoma City Thunder had to surrender their 2013 second round pick to the Boston Celtics as added compensation in the Jeff Green trade.

Which raised a lot of eyebrows. Why the punishment, what was being withheld? So now the NBA has given its explanation. And my eyebrows are still up.

Green was sent to Boston (and Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City) in a 2011 trading deadline move. Green played the rest of that season for the Celtics and was going to have a key sixth man role with the team this year — until doctors discovered a heart condition that required major surgery. Green was out for the year. (He is now a free agent expected to re-sign with Boston for next season).

Boston filed a complaint after that that the league and David Stern looked into, which led to the pick being surrendered to Boston. Here was the League’s official explanation:

Stern found that there was no evidence of bad faith or any intent to withhold information on the part of Thunder management or its physicians, but that Oklahoma City’s cardiologists were in possession of information about Jeff Green that was not shared with Thunder management and that should have been disclosed to the Celtics in connection with the trade of Green in February 2011.

Under NBA rules, teams are required to disclose to each other in connection with trades any information in their possession or control about a player’s prior injuries, illnesses, or other health conditions that could affect the player’s ability to play NBA basketball at any point in the future.

This still does not puzzle out for me.

The league is saying the Thunder’s cardiologist had information that there could be a future medical issue with Green that he never passed along to Thunder management? I find that a hard pill to swallow. Telling them what he finds in stress tests and other physicals is his job.

Was the information so minor he didn’t think it warranted being passed along? Were people just incompetent?

Also, if there is no bad faith, the league is still going to punish the Thunder?

There are still a lot of questions to be answered here.

  1. borderline1988 - Jun 26, 2012 at 7:36 PM

    Maybe the Thunder management knew about it, but there’s no way to prove it and they are denying any knowledge of it.

    Except that the information is on a medical chart somewhere in Oklahoma City, so team doctors must have been aware of the condition.

    • pudgalvin - Jun 26, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      I have a really hard time believing that a team would neglect something so serious. Seems to me that it was just a small thing that was overlooked, and the league wanted to remind teams to be more thorough when dealing with these things. Nobody is going to miss a 2nd rounder, and it lets teams know they need cross their t’s and dot their i’s in these matters.

  2. seanb20124 - Jun 26, 2012 at 8:26 PM

    So the Thunder could have killed J Green

    • drunkenjunk - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:12 PM

      if okc knew, the Celtics deserve more than a 2nd rounder.

  3. giselleisasucubus - Jun 26, 2012 at 9:26 PM

    Everyone got pissed at me when I was on my soapbox about this back when the heart condition was reported. I thought they should have got cap relief similar to the Knicks when Antonio McDyess blew out his knee (there was no reason the Knicks should have got relief, he was a FA and it was his knee, not his heart. Sh** happens) A second round pick? The Celtics should have a salary cap exemption up to 9mil w/Green which all wouldn’t go towards the cap. The Celtics got screwed on this deal.

  4. ufullpj - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:00 AM

    Let’s be real. OKC had KD, Westbrook to sign and lock-up; Harden started emerging, so he wasn’t going anywhere. The next best trade chip was a solid player & citizen in Jeff Green for a bruiser like Perkins. Perkins played the rest of the year, and the irregularity was discovered 9 months later. Give me a break.

    What Stern is alleging – and thankfully, this time it’s not that Sam Presti is beating his wife – is that the Thunder, or their doctors, are guilty of negligence and knowingly withheld life-threatening information. That’s a big f-ing assertion.

    Stern may be watching a bit too much Roger Goodell and believing that, suddenly, the burden of proof is nothing more than a suggestion…it’s an option that can be added later.

    Bottom line – Jeff Green got the surgery and should be good. Really, that’s all that matters. Stern’s ridiculous theatrics and shallow attempt at “justice” shouldn’t take away from Green’s health.

  5. j0esixpack - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:01 AM

    They knew. They can’t prove it though.

    This is akin to OJ Simpson getting off on the criminal charge and then found culpable in a civil case – only, of course this is much more serious because its basketball.

  6. ttomfor1 - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    This isn’t surprising to me, the NBA is corrupt… The lakers are starting to fall so soon they will be handed compensatory picks too.. Seriously if this were say the Bobcats or the Timberwolves no compensatory picks would have been given…

  7. bandanamac - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:24 AM

    Don’t the Celtics perform their own physical upon acquiring a player? Are the Thunder docs more thorough than the Celtics docs?

    • slopmcflop - Jun 27, 2012 at 12:30 PM

      Yeah, that’s what I’m curious about.

      If it was something major that was withheld, wouldn’t the Celtics physicians have picked up on it? And if it was something so minor that the Celtics themselves missed it, why make the Thunder surrender the pick?

      Stern really needs to come forward and be a lot more clear about this, because this “explanation” just seems to raise more questions.

  8. finalword33 - Jun 27, 2012 at 8:53 AM

    This is ALL on the refs.

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