Adrian Wojnarowski was a guest on SiriusXM radio this morning and discussed the NBA's fast-approaching trade deadline on February 20th. One of the players mentioned was Boston Celtics small forward Jeff Green. Wojnarowski said that he thinks Green will be traded by Boston before the deadline or during the offseason.
Wojnarowski was in Boston the past weekend for Friday's game against the Thunder and Sunday's reunion with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. Even though he was here to write his tremendous story about Truth and KG, there is a chance that he found out some new information about possible trades in the upcoming weeks.
Sure, there's always a possibility that Wojnarowski became aware of some rumblings that Green may be dealt while spending three days in Boston. After all, this is Woj, the man that breaks nearly every trade in the NBA.
The 27-year-old Green hasn't developed as well as the Celtics thought he would when they traded for him in 2011, and his inconsistencies may be something they want to rid themselves of -- especially when he's owed over $9.2 million the next two seasons.
Despite Green's issues, he's still a very good player who can only help when he's in a reserve role. It's a no-brainer for teams that need a stretch-forward to have interest in Green.
There's a lot of talk about Boston revisiting a deal with Houston for Omer Asik, but their fervent owner, Daryl Morey, has consistently said that any deal involving Asik is highly unlikely.
Not too many other organizations would be able to meet Boston's demands for Green, but there is one team that often goes unnoticed:
At 26-18, the Suns are in seventh place of the stacked Western Conference, and need to bolster their lineup after losing one of the NBA's rising stars, Eric Bledsoe, to an unfortunate knee injury. Even with him, they are weak at the small forward position, and could use a player like Jeff Green.
Phoenix has Emeka Okafor on their roster, who has an attractive expiring contract valued at a whopping $14.5 million dollars. Okafor could be the answer for the Celtics' desire to open up even more salary-cap space this summer. And with six potential first round draft picks over the next two years, the Suns have plenty of assets to deal.
Interestingly, Woj wrote about Okafor in a column tonight, expressing Ryan McDonough's readiness to deal him and draft picks for a player that can help their chances in the playoffs.
McDonough worked in the Celtics organization as an assistant to Danny Ainge, so they have obviously forged a close relationship over the years. It only makes sense that they could be trading partners in a deal that could send Green and a contract filler (like Keith Bogans) to Phoenix for Okafor and a first round draft pick.
But Wojnarowski also mentions that the Suns would be willing to "absorb a veteran player on a short-term deal," just as long as the contract doesn't cripple their salary-cap space in the near future.
Gerald Wallace comes to mind, especially considering Bulls.com writer Sam Smith said last week that Boston could be looking to deal Jeff Green in a package deal with him. He is most certainly an overpaid player, but his contract wouldn't handcuff a franchise.
Wallace is owed over $10.1 million in 2014/15, but could be used as an expiring contract in a trade during the 2015/16 season. For a team like Phoenix and their generous amount of cap space (they have the 29th lowest payroll this season, and owe only $36.2 in '14), Wallace's contract could actually be a valued commodity two seasons from now, just like Okafor's is now.
Maybe Danny Ainge has a partner in Phoenix, and could bundle Green and Wallace together, which would open up over $19 million in cap room this offseason. In return, the Celtics could receive Okafor's expiring contract, though a future first round draft pick would likely be necessary to complete the deal considering Green's youthful talent.
In both of these suggested trades, the one involving Wallace being less likely, the Phoenix Suns would strengthen their team, which could make them a legitimate contender when Eric Bledsoe returns after the All Star break. And for the Boston Celtics, it would be another move intended to at build towards a bright future. Some fans may even call it "tank mode," but is that really fair to suggest when the Celtics have already lost 17 of their last 20 games?