Now that Deng has been dealt - What is Jeff Green's value?

The Chicago Bulls have officially waived Andrew Bynum after acquiring him from the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Luol Deng trade. This means the Bulls essentially parted with Deng for three draft picks. Here is Chicago's return: Sacramento's 2014 first-round-pick (top 12 protected 2014 and top 10 protected in 2015 and 2016 until it turns into a second-rounder), Portland's 2015 and 2016 second-round-picks and the right to swap 2015 first-rounders with Cleveland (as long as Cleveland is not in the lottery).

Wrap your brain around that. Basically there is the potential for a mid-round first-round-pick, BUT this trade could easily turn into three second-round-picks for Luol Deng! The Bulls of course will save millions of dollars as well. If so, what a steal for the Cavs, but Celtics fans don't care about that.

What this does relate to is the value that Danny Ainge could get back in a potential Jeff Green trade. With Deng (a more desirable piece than Green) now off the market, Green could be the next best small forward that teams will inquire about.

There are some problems that may prevent dealing Jeff Green though:

1. Luol Deng is much better than Jeff Green: This is a fact. Over their career's, Deng has averaged more PPG, RPG, APG and SPG than Green, while contributing at a much more consistent level. Deng is also known as a better defender than Green, although Green is certainly not below average.

This was a unique trade, but overall, Deng did not require too much in return from Cleveland.

2. Deng's contract expires this season/Green has two more years on his deal: The Cavs most likely made this deal with expectations that they will be able to re-sign Deng and make him a part of their core moving forward. However, if this were to change, they are not locked in with Deng unless they chose to be.

Green on the other hand is signed through 2015-16 (assuming he opts into his player option), earning a total of $18.4 million the next two seasons. This makes Green not only less talented than Deng, but more difficult to deal as well.

With Green's contract, it is looking increasingly likely that if he were dealt, it would be closer to a Courtney Lee type deal to clear salary cap than to bring talent back in return. It would be fair to ask for a second-round-pick or two, but in general, an expiring contract that gets Danny Ainge off the hook on paying Green until 2016 would be huge.

3. Not many teams that want to win now need a SF: If you asked this question last week, the team would have been the Cavs, but now lets take a look at who could use Green's services:

  • Old pals Larry Bird and Danny Ainge could try and cook something up to add depth to the Pacers, but contracts are very tough to match up. The only realistic thing that could work would be Danny Granger for Jeff Green and Indiana would have to be willing to take on Keith Bogans for the rest of the season. Granger is in the last year of his deal and would come off the books for $14 million, is that a big enough prize for Green? Does Green help Indy win more than Granger?
  • The Wizards could upgrade at SF by swapping Trevor Ariza for Green, the contracts work and Ariza is in the last year of his deal. If this were the case, Boston would ask for draft pick considerations or a cheap young player such as Glen Rice Jr.
  • Out west Houston has been mentioned as a landing spot for Green, but outside of Asik there is really nothing to offer.
  • Doc River's Clippers could maybe use the help, but they don't have any expiring contracts that would match either. 
  • If Phoenix has bought in to trying to win now, they could add the Green/Bogans package for Emeka Okafor's expiring deal much like the Granger deal. If the Suns wanted to add help on the interior, they could sub out Bogans and take Brandon Bass in a deal that would REALLY clear some cap space for Boston. 

Although all of these deals work in the trade machine (and keep in mind draft picks could be added), none of them seem very realistic. At this stage I think Boston should be willing to move on from Green for any of those packages above, or any similar ones.

4. This poses the question: What was Ainge thinking when he signed Green to four years? Ainge knew all along that he was going to have to "blow it up" in Boston… probably sooner rather than later. It ended up happening one year after signing Green to a huge four year deal. Jeff Green was coming back from his heart condition and had a lot to prove, a one or two year deal would have been acceptable.

In retrospect, this signing could be a handcuff to Ainge throughout the rebuild as Green appears to be becoming less and less a part of it. The realistic expectation at this point should be to accept a deal like the ones above for Green, cut your losses and clear the cap space rather than ask for something you won't get. That is of course unless Ainge still sees Green a part of Boston's future going forward…

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