Boston Celtics fans looking for the organization to go all-in on the rebuild might get their wish, as the Memphis Grizzlies are in pursuit of Jeff Green, which was first reported by ESPN's Marc Stein. The Grizzlies desperately need to upgrade the wing position, though Stein adds that "no deal is imminent."
Memphis Grizzlies actively trying to acquire Luol Deng or Jeff Green
The Grizzlies, looking to bolster their scoring options on the wing in the ever-competitive Western Conference, are actively trying to obtain either Miami's Luol Deng or Boston's Jeff Green via trade ahead of the Feb. 19 trade deadline, according to league sources.
Keep in mind that Boston was reportedly in 3-way trade conversations with Cleveland and Memphis or Denver just a few weeks ago around Christmas. It's appropriate that this rumor comes only hours after the Cavaliers ultimately found a deal that worked with the Nuggets for Timofey Mozgov, so maybe the Celtics and Grizzlies will soon be able to find a deal themselves.
Even though Stein reports that Memphis would add future draft pick compensation in any potential trade, I find that extremely unlikely because of the protections placed on their first round pick that will eventually be sent to Denver. Their pick is protected for the top 15 in 2015 and 2016, and it's highly unlikely they miss the playoffs either season, but then in 2017 it's only top 5 protected, meaning it'll likely be conveyed that year.
But that would mean Memphis, in all likelihood, wouldn't send a first round pick to Boston until 2019. Would the Celtics really be willing to wait that long as compensation for Jeff Green? And what if they gave multiple second round picks instead? It's unlikely they would be in either case considering the stack of draft picks they're already sitting on.
At the time of the 3-way trade rumors, I speculated that Boston could send Green to Memphis, receive Tayshaun Prince's expiring contract, and get rookie guard Jordan Adams as the prize in the trade. This is still the package I would like to see the Celtics try for, even if Memphis is reluctant to deal their 2014 first rounder in Adams.
Boston would have to waive Jameer Nelson or include Phil Pressey in this idea to complete it, or work out a separate trade with another team, but it'd still be worth it. Even though Boston has an overflow of depth at the guard position, Adams would be a nice fit off the bench if he reaches his potential as auxiliary scorer that can get buckets in a number of different ways. Adams isn't an advanced ball handler by any means, but he projects well as a player that can excel in the pick-and-roll because of his ability to pull-up, drive and draw fouls, and make the right pass.
At the risk of over-analyzing a rumor, trading Jeff Green is probably Boston's best option at removing the "blockers" currently preventing numerous players from receiving minutes. Green plays about 33 minutes per game, which would end up being distributed elsewhere on the roster.
Here's how things would look if Green were gone and Boston received a package of Adams and Prince:
|C||Tyler Zeller||26||Kelly Olynyk||26||Brandan Wright||0|
|PF||Jared Sullinger||26||Brandon Bass||18||Gerald Wallace||0|
|SF||Jae Crowder||20||James Young||16||Tayshaun Prince||0|
|SG||Avery Bradley||28||Marcus Thornton||20||Jordan Adams||15|
|PG||Evan Turner||25||Marcus Smart||20||Phil Pressey||0|
Virtually every player in the backcourt would receive more playing time with his trade, which would benefit the team in the long-term. It could also help raise the value of any young player this summer, in the event an unexpected opportunity for a blockbuster trade came around. That's unlikely, but you never know, and it's a factor to consider.
The bottom-line is that Green is probably not in the long-term plans of the Boston Celtics, nor should he be. There is a shortage of talented small forwards in the 2015 NBA free agent class that possess the ability that Green has, but it would not be wise for a team in Boston's transitional phase to give him a large contract with an annual value of $12 to $15 million, which he could receive this summer.
If Boston is able to wrangle Jordan Adams out of a deal with Memphis, then that's a big win for the organization, but if they must settle for a first round draft pick that they probably wouldn't receive until 2019, then they should still take it. Jeff Green's play has declined as of late, and they can't risk his trade value following suit.