Will Green be back next season?

June, 17, 2012
6/17/12
8:15
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Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty ImagesCould Jeff Green be back in green next season?
Will Jeff Green be back in Boston next season?

He politely declined requests from reporters during his time around the team at the end of the 2011-12 season -- one he sat out after an aortic aneurysm was detected in the preseason -- and his camp had been quiet about his potential to be back in green. His agent, David Falk, talked with Sports Illustrated recently and here's a few highlights from the article:
* Green's return to Boston -- like everything else with the Celtics -- could be dictated by Kevin Garnett. Said Falk: "I know that (the Celtics) want Jeff to come back, from (general manager) Danny (Ainge) to the owners to Doc and to his teammates. He loves Boston. We're waiting to see what happens with KG, what happens with Ray... There are other teams that could be very, very interesting to him around the league that will also have cap room."

* Falk said he has already had exploratory discussions with "12 to 14 teams." But it appears that there are no more than four frontrunners at the moment. Said the agent: "We've picked out three or four teams, of which Boston is one, that he has a high level of interest in talking to. I would say that Boston is the incumbent, but I've learned in this business not to assume things. Nothing is guaranteed."

* Falk is setting the bar pretty high for Green, suggesting he might be the top unrestricted free agent on the open market. "With the possible exception of (Brooklyn point guard) Deron Williams, I think that Jeff will probably be the No. 1 unrestricted free agent on the market," Falk said. "It's not like we have LeBron (James) and (Dwyane) Wade and all these guys floating around... I'd be very surprised if Deron Williams winds up anywhere besides Dallas or New Jersey (Brooklyn). So the next guy in the pecking order is Jeff Green."

What does it mean for Boston? A thin free-agent crop could drive up Green's price, even coming off of major heart surgery. It will be interesting to see if Boston is willing to pay -- either in price or contract length -- to keep Green around. If Green heads elsewhere, all that will remain from the Kendrick Perkins trade is the No. 22 pick in this year's draft (via the Clippers). Even still, the Celtics have to be responsible with their money, not overspending (or committing long term) if they desire to use those available funds to rebuild next offseason. Boston's best hope might be a short-term, fair-money deal (he originally inked at one-year, $9 million last offseason) that would help Green reestablish his value, but will the lure of long-term security entice him elsewhere?

Chris Forsberg

Celtics reporter, ESPNBoston.com

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TEAM LEADERS

POINTS
Jeff Green
PTS AST STL MIN
18.9 1.6 0.9 33.6
OTHER LEADERS
ReboundsJ. Sullinger 7.8
AssistsJ. Nelson 6.3
StealsJ. Nelson 1.5
BlocksK. Olynyk 0.8