When the Grizzlies traded for Jeff Green in January, there was concern Memphis would get only a half-season rental.
Green had a $9.2 million player option for next season, and it seemed reasonably likely he’d opt out. After all, the Celtics dealt him because they didn’t want to risk losing him for nothing.
But Green underwhelmed – especially in the playoffs, where he shot 33% from the field and 22% from beyond the arc and produced a PER of 7.9. Why did Memphis buck my prediction model and beat the Trail Blazers in the first round? The biggest reason was Dave Joerger pulling Green from the starting lineup.
As Green’s stock fell, the equation turned. The Grizzlies shouldn’t have feared losing Green after the season. They should have wanted him to opt out.
Alas, Green could see the same math.
Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:
If Green opted out, the Grizzlies could have had about $8.5 million in cap room in addition to re-signing Marc Gasol to a max contract.
As it stands, the only way they’ll have cap room now is if Gasol leaves or they trade other players. They’ll still have the $5,464,000 mid-level exception, but so will many other teams. That cap room would have provided an edge.
On the bright side, hope is far from lost with Green. He’s still talented, and at 29 this summer, he shouldn’t be in rapid decline. The Grizzlies might still emerge from this with a decent-enough starting small forward, though they certainly shouldn’t count on having one.
For Green, he misses a good chance to hit free agency while he’s still generally accepted to be in his prime. But after last season, he had no real choice. At least he’ll be trying again when the salary cap spikes.