Celtics pull Jeff Green from lineup amid trade rumors
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) The Boston Celtics made one trade Friday night, and it looks as if Jeff Green could be on the move, too.
Green was pulled from the starting lineup moments before Boston’s 107-103 overtime loss at Indiana. He did not suit up for the game, and wasn’t listed on the Celtics’ injury report.
A person with knowledge of the talks told The Associated Press that the Celtics and Grizzlies were discussing a deal that would send Green to Memphis. The person requested anonymity because a deal had not been completed.
Negotiations stretched late into the night on Friday, with the teams discussing other players and draft picks, as well as possibly adding a third team to the mix.
Green is averaging a team-best 17.6 points, but the Celtics (12-22) are rebuilding and the Grizzlies (25-11) are contending in the tough Western Conference. All Boston coach Brad Stevens would say about Green’s absence is he also won’t be with the team this weekend.
The Celtics did announce a trade with Phoenix, sending Brandan Wright to the Suns for a protected first-round draft pick. The 6-foot-10 Wright came to Boston in the Dec. 18 trade that sent guard Rajon Rondo to the Mavericks.
The draft pick, which originally belonged to Minnesota, is top-12 protected in 2015 and 2016. If the pick is not used by 2016, then the Timberwolves would instead give up their second-round picks in 2016 and 2017.
The 6-foot-9 Green has career averages of 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds in 511 games.
”It’s all part of the business and we’re all professionals,” Celtics guard Avery Bradley said. ”All we can do is focus on the game, even Jeff. He was focused as well, and we still don’t know what’s going on.”
Clearly, though, the wheeling-and-dealing for Boston has created some strange circumstances.
”It was very different,” Stevens said. ”It changes your pregame speech a little bit. It’s a jolt to your system.”
Memphis lost 106-95 at New Orleans on Friday night. The addition of Green would give the rugged Grizzlies a versatile scorer to go along with their stout defense.
Memphis veteran Tayshaun Prince was bracing for a possible relocation.
”Obviously, everybody was getting wind of what was going on. … I’ve been in this league for 13 years,” Prince said. ”Ever since I signed my first deal in Detroit, I was on the trading block every year. You know what I’m saying? Ever since I signed my deal after that first year, I was on the trading block every year, so it’s part of the business. And if that’s the case, then so be it.”
Memphis’ competition out West also has been active. Houston added Josh Smith and Corey Brewer. Dallas traded for Rajon Rondo, and Oklahoma City swung a deal to land Dion Waiters from Cleveland.
If the 28-year-old Green is moving on, Boston will feel it.
”It’s hard to see anyone go,” Bradley said. ”If (Green) is here, or somewhere else, we can only hope he does well.”
AP Basketball Writer Jon Krawczynski in Minneapolis and AP Sports Writer Brett Martel in New Orleans contributed to this report.