Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Updated: August 23, 11:35 AM ET
Jeff Green's Celtics deal is official
By Greg Payne
Special to ESPNBoston.com
The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday evening they have officially signed forward Jeff Green, ending more than a month of speculation over his contract status.
Boston and Green have had a handshake agreement in place since mid-July, but nothing became official until Wednesday. Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge and Green's agent, David Falk, maintained during the lengthy delay that the deal eventually would get done, but wouldn't shed light on what was holding up the process.
"We are thrilled to have Jeff back with the Celtics," Ainge said in a statement on the Celtics' official website. "Jeff's versatility on offense and ability to guard players out on the perimeter is something that we are looking forward to having on the court this season."
While it hasn't been confirmed what exactly kept the deal from becoming official, speculation surely will revolve around a stipulation in Green's contract related to his health. He missed the entirety of the 2011-2012 season after he underwent heart surgery to repair an aortic aneurysm. Additionally, there could have been debate over the length and value of Green's new deal, rumored to be for four years and approximately $36 million.
The Celtics originally acquired Green as part of a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2010-2011 season. Boston traded center Kendrick Perkins and guard Nate Robinson in exchange for Green, center Nenad Krstic, and a future first-round draft pick from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Green played in 26 games for the Celtics that season, averaging 9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in 23.5 minutes per game. After struggling to find consistency within Celtics coach Doc Rivers' system, Green was expected to return for the 2011-2012 season and provide versatility between the small forward and power forward positions. But his heart condition was revealed during a routine physical prior to the start of the lockout-shortened campaign, and the Celtics voided his contract.
Green made several appearances in the Celtics' locker room and even alongside the team on the bench during its playoff run last season. He told the team's website that it was a "no-brainer" choosing to return to Boston to support them, and that same clarity held true when it came time to re-sign with the Celtics long-term. Green said he has a lot to prove moving forward, as he's sure he'll face plenty of critics who will doubt him in the aftermath of his surgery. But he's ready to embrace a more assertive game, now that he's faced a very real taste of his NBA mortality.
"I'll still be the same player, but I think just my outlook on the time I have in this league has changed," Green told Celtics.com. "I think I have to be more assertive, more aggressive in different areas, not necessarily just scoring. I just have to change my outlook and my approach of the game, and that time that I had off and seeing certain spots on the floor where I can help, really helped my mindset."