Differing views of Jeff Green’s big contract in Boston

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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.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.