The Wizards have interest in Jeff Green - would a trade work?
In January I wrote about what the potential trade value of Jeff Green might be. One of the teams I mentioned the Celtics shopping him to was the Wizards, in a swap for Trevor Ariza's expiring contract. Conveniently enough, Zach Lowe of Grantland is now reporting that the Wizards have "long liked Jeff Green." Only this time, as a replacement for Ariza if he were to leave in free agency this summer.
Wouldn't everyone have been much happier had they just listened to me four months ago? If Ariza does walk, completing a trade for Green becomes much more difficult. Primarily because Washington does not have much else to offer that would interest Danny Ainge. But hey, Celtics talk is pretty dull until the lottery, so let's try anyway.
To make matters worse, the Wizards have nine expiring contracts after this season, meaning we are left with very little to work with. However, there is one option worth discussing (note that contracts do not include this season):
Washington gets: Jeff Green (2-years/$18.4M remaining)
Boston gets: Otto Porter (3-years/$15M remaining - 2-years are team option), Andre Miller (1-year/$4.6M remaining) and a future 1st-round-pick
So, for starters the numbers match up on this trade. That's always a start, but there are a lot of ways you can view this move if you are Ainge -- and it really all depends what you want to do with Porter.
Porter was the third-overall pick in last year's draft, which I never understood at the time. He confirmed my suspicion, putting forward an abysmal rookie season for the Wiz. In only 37 games played, Porter posted averages of merely 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds -- not exactly what you hope for from a top-three pick.
There's a catch with Porter's contract, though. The final two years are team options. Porter is on the books for $4.47M next season, if the Celtics are unhappy with him after next season, they can let him walk in 2015 along with Andre Miller.
On the contrary, if Porter reached his potential in Boston, Ainge would have him under control for $4.66M in 2015-16 and $5.89M in 2016-17 if he chose to. But getting the 1st-rounder from Washington would probably help Danny feel comfortable taking on the contract.
This leaves two remaining questions.
1. If Boston wants to win next season, are they ok with making a trade that doesn't make them better?
This is a tough one. I believe the plan was to only "tank" for one season, then try and build things back up. If Ainge is able to make some win-now moves this summer, Jeff Green might be worth keeping around, even if he has to get paid a year longer than Miller and Porter. On the other hand, Ainge would still get a draft pick to build with, and could roll the dice on Porter. In the end, I would take the cap flexibility and do the trade.
2. Is Washington ok with sacrificing a pick and giving up on Porter to replace Ariza?
The draft pick is no longer a huge deal to the Wizards, something we haven't been able to say for a while. They are a legit playoff team now as long as they continue to put pieces around John Wall and Bradley Beal. And that's exactly why they need to make this trade if they don't re-sign Ariza. No need to wait on Porter, take Green and keep winning now. Washington can't afford to move backwards, this move prevents that.
If it came down to it (meaning Ariza signs elsewhere), I would try and make this trade if I were either team in this situation. The pieces moving are not ideal for either side, but it does help both franchises get closer to their ultimate goal more than it hurts.
Now will it happen? Well, that's a different question. But I'll venture a guess: Jeff Green's name will come up in trade rumors this summer. Bold indeed.
Follow Julian on Twitter @julianedlow
Source: Zach Lowe, Grantland