Insiders assess Jeff Green's contract (cont.)
"You know that in a short period of time, Garnett, Pierce and [former Celtics guard Ray] Allen are all going to be gone. One year, two years -- they're not going to be there long term. And at that point, knowing that, you really have two options if you're Danny Ainge. One option is to move the team, trade [Rajon] Rondo, and start all over again. But if you believe that it takes three stars, three core players to create a championship team, and you know you have a 26-year-old Rondo, who is tremendous. If Jeff Green can be the second leg, and you can keep him, you're two-thirds of the way home. You don't have to nuke the team. So he represents a very strategic decision by the Celtics of how to manage the post-Big Three transition. Do you go to the bottom and start again, or do you try to keep it going?"
"These are clearly all win-now moves. With what Danny has in place, and if they all perform as expected and stay healthy, it's reasonable to think that they'll be playing Miami again in the Eastern Conference finals. Green has a bunch of money in likely bonuses, and a bunch more in unlikely bonuses. If they win a championship, it's $1.5 million. If they get to the Finals, it's $750,000. If they get to the conference finals, it's a half million. They'll have success, and his deal will probably wind up being worth $10 million a year."
"When Dallas won the title, I think Jason Terry was making more than that as a sixth man. [Terry made $10.6 million in 2010-11.] It all depends on the role in which they want to use him. If Jeff has to be a starter to justify his salary, then he's not going to be successful. You could have your No. 1 and No. 2 option, and then your third option could be coming off your bench. If Jeff gets in and they find a matchup that they like, he is their third guy. When Paul and Kevin retire, they have to get that big-time scorer to start -- whether it be a center or a shooting guard or something -- that they can rely on and where Jeff can fill in in that third spot. Jeff is never going to be a first or second option."
"Jeff acknowledges that he was way too deferential when he first got there because of the stature of the guys he was playing with. Now having watched the team for 16 months on the floor, and from the stands, I think he realizes that while they're great names and great players, for them to be successful, he's going to have to take a much more assertive role. I think Danny recognized all that in negotiations. So if you study, like I do -- I'm a student of economics and history -- and you realize that on virtually every one of the 16 playoffs teams, the top three players are all making approximately $10 million plus, I think what he got wasn't a record-setting deal and it wasn't a bad deal. It was a deal sort of right about where it should be."
"I don't think he's that badly overpaid at 100 percent health. I think it's a good contract. But throwing in the heart condition and not having an exclusion on a pre-existing condition to protect you? No matter what the doctors tell you, it's scary."
"[Boston's] own doctors assured the team that the risk of Jeff's suffering a recurrence of his injury is probably significantly lower than the risk of a player who never had it before suffering the same kind of problem. When the doctor in Cleveland did the surgery, he said Jeff would have had a bigger problem if he was coming back from an ACL than from what he had. The average person, when you hear heart condition, you have an emotional, visceral reaction. But the doctors worked hand in glove with Danny, and because Jeff spent most of the year in Boston -- almost the entire year; he was there all the time -- they were able to monitor him and realize that the emotional reaction was not an accurate indicator of the medical result of the surgery. He's 100 percent cured."
"It's not like it's a contract that they're never going to be able to trade if they want to go in a different direction. Every contract is tradable."
"But the problem from before is that when they did the Jeff Green trade, it was supposed to be sort of a one-foot-in-one-foot-out strategy, where you can still win but have your exit strategy away from the Big Three era in place. And I think pre-Jeff Green's heart condition, that was a reasonable player to go get. He's still a high-quality young player. He's not a max guy. He's not a mid-level guy. You can absorb that salary. But I think it's one of those deals where you can't get a little bit pregnant. Once you choose to give KG $36 million for three years and not trade Paul Pierce, then you give this deal to Green."