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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Green: AJ gave me opportunity of a lifetime

By Mike Mazzeo

Indiana Pacers guard/forward Gerald Green is forever grateful to former Brooklyn Nets coach Avery Johnson. Because without Johnson, Green would’ve never been able to revive his career.

“He gave me the opportunity of a lifetime,” Green said prior to Sunday night’s Nets-Pacers game at Barclays Center. “I don’t think any other coach would’ve done that besides Avery.”

Johnson worked out Green last season before signing the 26-year-old wing to a 10-day contract. Green ended up parlaying that 10-day contract into a guaranteed contract for the rest of the 2011-12 campaign, and put up 12.9 points in 31 games.

Green wanted to stay with the Nets, but they could only offer him a one-year, minimum deal because they didn’t have his Bird Rights. So Green decided to go to Indiana for three years, $10 million -- along with an increased role.

Green also considered the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers before becoming a Pacer. Still, he said it came down to Indiana and Brooklyn.

“Definitely I wanted to come back and play for the Nets, but the opportunity to play in Indiana was greater for me, brighter for my future, so I decided to come here,” Green said.

Green called Johnson’s firing “maybe a bit unfair.

"But that’s how this business goes, you’ve just gotta roll with the punches.”

Green reached out to Johnson upon his dismissal.

“I just thanked him for everything he’s done for me. It was really tough, because if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be sitting here doing this interview,” Green said.