Whether it was a calculated maneuver to save themselves money or a generous move to help out a young player who caught an extremely bad break (but also found the break which was a wonderfully good break), the result is the same. Jeff Green will be an unrestricted free agent when he returns to the NBA. ESPN reports:
That’s because the Boston Celtics, in a move that was not made public, withdrew Green’s qualifying offer in mid-December, right around the time he failed his physical and had his one-year, $9 million contract voided. The move means Green is now an unrestricted free agent. Had the offer not been withdrawn, and the Celtics were under no obligation whatsoever to do so, Green would have been a restricted free agent, with the Celtics able to match any offer he might get from another team.
Asked about the decision on Friday, Celtics general manager Danny Ainge, citing Green’s impending surgery, said he preferred not to discuss the matter. He did confirm it, however. It may have been nothing more than a goodwill gesture on the part of the Celtics to Green and his agent, David Falk, who said the team has been “phenomenal” in handling the situation.
It’s impossible to know how this plays out. Green could be back as early as next year. It could be two years. It’s heart surgery, for crying out loud. His first priority ts to take care of himself and his family. But when he does get back, this could be a phenomenally good development for him. He’ll be eligible for more years and more raises, though obviously getting back from heart surgery will complicate those matters. It means locking up a larger deal off the bat rather than going through a year of struggles coming off, again, heart surgery.And it may mean finding a better fit for himself. He’s close to the players in Boston now, spending time with them this season. But Green is also being asked to do so much for Boston in a hostile environment, looking elsewhere might be the best plan for him. Even if he can’t return to OKC and his good friends there, he might be able to join a younger team or one a little more away from the spotlight.
Having this condition develop is one of the worst things that could have happened to Green. But at least the way it worked out in terms of his professional life seem to be pretty good. We’ll keep you updated on his status after surgery.