Jeff Green signed to a four year, $36 million deal with the Celtics last summer. The fourth year is a player option and it contains a number of incentive clauses that could take it up to a $40 million deal.
That for a guy that Oklahoma City wanted to move and who missed last season to have heart surgery.
A lot of people around the league shook their heads at that contract. I’ve said here more than once that GM Danny Ainge overpaid. And gave too long a deal. Celtics fans have defended Green as the kind of young, athletic player they need and someone that can help them win now and transition to a new era after Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett retire.
Sam Amick at Sports Illustrated has a great piece where he talked to a few people about the situation and got different perspectives on the deal. Go read it.
Here are a couple highlights, starting with Green’s agent David Faulk:
“Like most deals, there will probably be people who think that he was overpaid. I always feel he could have got a little more money, but because Jeff had such a strong feeling about returning to Boston, he [did this deal]. I feel that if he would’ve told me, ‘I don’t care where I go, just get me the most money,’ then he probably could’ve gotten $11 or $12 million a year.”
However, a GM from another team wasn’t as impressed, but said Ainge really had no choice because he couldn’t let Green walk.
“Go back to that deal that Danny made (trading Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City). He made a deal for Nenad Krstic, who’s now in Russia; Jeff Green, who missed a season with a heart condition; and the Clippers’ pick, which was supposed to be this jewel of a pick but ended up being 22nd….
“You’re talking about a guy who you’re now making a part of your future who Oklahoma City knew they couldn’t win a championship with. He doesn’t have a position. He doesn’t rebound it well enough to be a power forward, he doesn’t shoot it well enough to be a small forward, he isn’t quick enough to be a small forward, so you can’t replace Kevin Garnett and you can’t replace Paul Pierce. So not only do you overpay him, but you don’t get an [injury] exclusion on the heart?”
Go read the entire thing, each person (including a scout for an Eastern Conference team) debate back and forth, basically.
It comes down to this — it’s on Green now. He’s got the big deal and he’s going to have the big role as sixth man on a top-flight team. He can’t hide, he can’t be average. He needs to play better than he did in his first months in Boston, he needs to be part of the win-now team the Celtics have assembled.
We’re all watching. Green has to perform.