by Kevin Lipe
Yesterday, word started to trickle out (mostly from ESPN’s Marc Stein) that the Grizzlies had reached out to the Heat and Celtics about forwards Luol Deng and Jeff Green. Deng was named as the “top candidate”, but reports quickly emerged from Miami that the Grizzlies had merely called to ask about Deng’s availability and were rebuffed.
Things appear to have gotten a little more serious with the Boston Celtics this afternoon:
Hearing that the Jeff Green-to-Memphis trade talks are heating up. Discussions between the Celts and Grizz, I'm told, getting more serious— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 9, 2015
Still hurdles to clear, I'm told, for Boston to consummate Jeff Green deal. But Grizz, at present, are most serious suitor for Celts forward— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) January 9, 2015
Reports are that the Grizzlies have offered Tayshaun Prince (whose $7 million contract expires after this season) and a pick (but no word whether it’s a first or not.) There was this from Chris Mannix yesterday:
Boston has made it known they want a first round pick for Jeff Green, but belief around the league is they will eventually settle for less.— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixSI) January 8, 2015
So one hopes that if this deal does go down, the Griz can pull it off without giving up a first round pick to the Celtics for essentially taking back a player whose deal expires this year anyway.
I’m not crazy about this deal. Deng, I would’ve loved, but I just don’t think Green is that calibre of player. He seems to score in bursts, and then have long droughts of poor shooting performances—like another Grizzlies SF, Rudy Gay, but not as athletic. If the trade requires sending Tayshaun Prince to Boston (you guys just wait until you see that requiem appear in these pages) the Grizzlies will be down another capable backup power forward, without Celtics player Brandan Wright to show for it since Wright can’t be packaged in a deal with another player (since he was recently traded from Dallas to Boston in the Rondo deal).
Does this trade move the needle for the Grizzlies this year, and get them closer to an NBA championship? Maybe. Not by much, though. That Green would instantly be the most athletic wing on the team says more about the state of the Grizzlies’ wing rotation than it does about Green. But, there are ways in which it could work. Green is a good player. I just echo the sentiments of others, who think he might be better-served in a more free-flowing offensive system, not the Grizzlies’ bruising, methodical half-court style.
We’ll see. Green was offered to the Grizzlies way back in the Rudy Gay trade, but Levien & Co. turned the offer down. Chris Wallace seems to have his fingerprints on this one, and whether it happens or not, it’s clear that the Grizzlies are trying to make moves to shore up their title hopes this year. More as it develops.
Some sources have reported that the pick going to Boston would now be a New Orleans pick, while others have reported that it would a 2018 or 2019 Memphis first round pick going to Boston. Either way, it sounds like things are starting to shake loose and a deal continues to evolve.
Yahoo Sources: Boston, Memphis and New Orleans working framework of Green to Grizz, Pondexter to Pelicans, Prince/Salmons/pick to Celtics.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 10, 2015
Boston is nearing an agreement to send Jeff Green to Memphis for Tayshaun Prince and a first-round pick, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@WojYahooNBA) January 9, 2015