You heard Danny Green, Cavs Nation.
It’s not done just yet.
After the Cleveland Cavaliers stood pat at the trade deadline, the Cavs are finalizing a deal to bring Green back to the Land for the first time since the 2009-10 season, according to a Sunday tweet from The Athletic Senior lead NBA Insider Shams Charania. The Cavs will sign him to a one-year, $2 million contract once he clears waivers from the Houston Rockets.
The Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Lakers and Phoenix Suns were also in contention for Green after he was bought out.
He will not be the end-all piece that will guide the Cavaliers to an NBA championship, but should he break Cleveland’s tight nine-man rotation, his skill set would be a welcomed part in the Cavs’ final push to their first playoff appearance since the 2017-18 season.
As always, Cavs Nation, it helps to go over the basics.
The 14-season NBA veteran averaged three points, 1.3 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game in three games played with the Memphis Grizzlies before the buyout, according to Basketball Reference.
Danny Green spent most of the 2022-23 season recovering from an ACL and LCL tear he suffered during a game against the Miami Heat. He was injured when Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid fell onto his left leg after a shot attempt. He returned to the Grizzlies lineup when the team faced the Portland Trail Blazers in early February, earning three total points after he made one of his four 3-point shot attempts.
The 35-year-old guard averaged 8.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game in 822 NBA games. He spent the last two seasons with the Sixers before he was traded to the Grizzlies along with the 23rd pick in the NBA draft for guard De’Anthony Melton.
A former second-round selection in the 2009 NBA draft, Danny Green played with the Cavs when the team featured center Zydrunas Ilgauskas in his last year with the Cavaliers, Hall-of-Fame center Shaquille O’Neal in his second-to-last year in the NBA and now-Cavs global ambassador Anderson Varejão. The Cavaliers went 61-21 in Green’s first season, fighting their way to the NBA playoffs before falling in the Eastern Conference semifinals to the Boston Celtics and the big three that won a ring in 2008.
Danny Green was on the final year of a two-year, $20 million contract he signed with the Philadelphia 76ers after he played eight games in the team’s 2021 playoff run.
“Bringing Danny back was a top priority for our organization this offseason,” said 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey in a 2021 statement.
“He has proven to be an important leader on and off the floor, and he knows what it takes to win an NBA title as a three-time champion. We are very happy that he’ll remain a crucial part of the 76ers.”
He hosts the “Inside the Green Room” podcast, a show co-hosted by ESPN Radio host Harrison Sanford that “offers an inside look into the life” of Green, according to the show’s Spotify description.
How would he fit?
After he explained why the team didn’t make a move at the deadline, Cavaliers President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman shared his thoughts on whether the Cavs would bring in any buyout additions to the roster on Thursday.
“Depends who becomes available,” Altman said, via Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. “We have a roster spot and then it has to fit. I promise you character is really, really important for us. That locker room is — it’s incredible. And I don’t know other locker rooms, I’m not in other locker rooms, but I know what we have going on is a rare thing where guys love playing for each other, it’s genuine.
“There’s relationships there, they care about each other. If there’s a person there that can add to that, we’ll do it. If not, if it’s a toss up, if it’s a jump ball, we’re good.”
Described as a “selfless, team-first, well-liked player” by Fedor, Danny Green seems to fit the mold of the high-character players the Cavs are looking for to keep the team’s comradery in a good spot.
The Cavaliers rank 12th in the NBA with a 36.4% shooting percentage from beyond the 3-point line, taking spots over every other Central Division rival while placing fourth in the Eastern Conference, according to the NBA.
But no team, especially in the modern era, can have enough 3-point shooting or depth at the wing spots.
Green would be a welcomed 3-point shooter off the bench. His 37.5% 3-point percentage will earn the fourth spot on the roster if the Cavs don’t count center Robin Lopez and forward Isaiah Mobley’s team-leading 66.7% and 50% from the line, respectively. Green notched six seasons of shooting 40% or above from the 3-point line, most recently making shots at a 40.5% clip in his first season with the 76ers.
Danny Green wasn’t the sharpshooter he became when he played for the Cavaliers, averaging a career-low 27.3% from beyond the arc when he first suited up for the Cavs in 2009. He transformed himself into a comfortable shooter during his days with the San Antonio Spurs, earning four seasons of hitting 40% or more of his long-range shots. He is averaging a comfortable 39.9% from the 3-point line in his lengthy NBA career, peaking at the 45.5% shooting percentage he averaged during Toronto’s 2018-19 championship run.
Green would also provide an extra veteran presence to the Cavaliers locker room, bringing three NBA championships and 165 playoff games to a team in a hopeful position to make the playoffs. Green could also take reps at the small forward spot, a role he played in his two seasons with the playoff-bound 76ers.
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The 35-year-old guard is one year older than Lopez and forward Kevin Love, making him the oldest player on the Cavs roster.
Danny Green would not need the ball in his hands to succeed on a team that has prioritized selfless basketball in the past. His usage rating of 14.4% this season, or “how often a player contributes to the outcome of a play,” puts him on par with Lakers forward Jarred Vanderbilt and New Orleans Pelicans center Jaxson Hayes.
His $2 million contract is more team-friendly than others.
Cleveland is $29.6 million above the NBA’s salary cap and $2.47 million under the luxury tax total, according to Spotrac. The $2 million will likely move the Cavaliers closer, but not over, the luxury tax total.
Once called a player who “embodies ‘3-and-D'” by NBC Sports Philadelphia 76ers writer Noah Levick, Danny Green spoke on becoming a primary defender in a 2021 interview after the uncertainty of the playing status of now-Nets guard Ben Simmons.
“… Defensively, I’d probably become the primary defender,” Green said on Sports Illustrated’s The Crossover NBA Show podcast. “Not saying it’s an issue or problem for me, but we have one less wing defender without him.
“Now it’s me and Matisse (Thybulle) — not saying other guys don’t play defense, but you’re talking about main defenders. Ben’s a big part of that.”
Either way, Cavs Nation, it always helps to have a veteran player return to the team that started his NBA career.
The Cavaliers will tip off against the San Antonio Spurs at 7 p.m. EST on Monday in Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. The game will be broadcasted on Bally Sports Ohio.