The more I think about Green's salary, which many fans and NBA "experts" found to be overly lavish, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that Ainge paid Green that amount in order to better facilitate a trade for a major talent in this league. That makes Ainge a genius.
See, Ainge knows that in order to bring in a key talent, he'll need the matching salaries to send out. He did a fantastic job locking up a number of trade-able productive players at mid-level deals: Bass @ $6.5, Lee @ $5, Terry @ $5; and a number of guys at the vet min. But, in order to bring in a player making $14 million (for example), Ainge would need to send out a host of players at those lower amounts (Bass/Lee/Sully or Bradley) or one of those players and Jeff Green's $9 million (Bass/Green). Ainge doesn't want to trade three or four productive players for one productive player, so he was smart to lock up Green at a salary level that better facilitates a trade for a major player. He now has multiple salaries at different levels to enable a better trade. He's a genius.
You may say that Green isn't worth $9 million and another team would be silly to bring him on at that amount. Well, I counter with the fact that he is still young, athletic, locked up for three more seasons, and teams make silly moves all the time. If you're trading away an upcoming FA because you don't think you can re-sign him (e.g. Josh Smith), you can do worse than pick up three years of Jeff Green.
I know Ainge is positioning himself for a major trade in the coming season or two, and this Green contract is going to be a huge piece to that trade.
In many ways, the Green signing is Ainge's best of the off-season!