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[SI] Gerald Green - Man Without a Team

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Nero, Mar 27, 2008.

  1. Nero

    Nero Member

    Jun 12, 2002
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    SI on Green

    It was only a few short years ago that Gerald Green seemingly had the world by the tail.

    Drafted by one of the league's most storied franchises, Green opened the eyes of scouts and coaches alike with a mesmerizing display of athleticism in the NBA's post-draft summer league for the Celtics in 2005. The following year, Green announced his presence on the national stage by winning the dunk contest during All-Star weekend. He also had some productive games for Boston in 2006-07, making him an intriguing acquisition for Minnesota in last summer's Kevin Garnett trade.

    But now, less than a month after a second-place finish in another dunk contest, Green is sitting at home in Houston without a contract, his career at a crossroads at age 22.

    "Frankly, I've been surprised no one has picked him up to give him a look," Rockets general manager Daryl Morey told SI.com. "Before the KG trade, he was playing pretty well. He can shoot well and he was starting to attack the basket more. I think his defense is probably his biggest area to work on."

    So how does a player Celtics coach Doc Rivers -- speaking after the 2005 draft -- said reminded him of a young Tracy McGrady find himself waived by the Rockets so they could make room to sign Mike Harris?

    Surprisingly easily, as a matter of fact.

    Easy, of course, was supposed to be Green's game, described in the Boston Globe following his selection in the 2005 draft as filled with "unlimited promise and entertainment value" and by the Boston Herald as having shown "the grace and aerial precision of a Cirque du Soleil performer." With Paul Pierce, Al Jefferson and Delonte West, Green was part of a core "that anyone in the league would kill to have," Celtics director of basketball operations Danny Ainge said at the time.

    After a rookie season spent learning the fundamentals of team defense, the breadth of an NBA playbook and the speed of the game, Green appeared to be getting a grasp on his talent in 2006-07. In what would have been his sophomore season at Oklahoma State -- he had committed there before bypassing college for what many assumed would be a top-10 selection in the draft -- the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.4 points and shot a respectable 37 percent from the three-point line. Green notched double figures in scoring in 14 of the Celtics' final 25 games. The numbers were, indeed, McGrady-like, when comparing both players in their second years.

    "But when Kevin Garnett is calling, things get crazy," said Green's agent, Byron Irvin. The availability of the 2004 MVP prompted Boston to shift into win-now mode, and the Celtics sent the still-developing Green to the rebuilding Timberwolves as part of a package that included Jefferson and Ryan Gomes. The trade left Green to compete with 2005 first-round pick Rashad McCants and 2007 first-rounder Corey Brewer, among others, for minutes.

    "When Gerald went to Minnesota, they had so many young guys just like him -- 'potential guys' -- that they had to make a decision about the guys they had invested time in," Irvin said. "Minnesota didn't care about Gerald the same way Boston did because they hadn't put two years into him. The Timberwolves had already invested that kind of time into the likes of Rashad McCants."

    Green played a total of 80 minutes during Minnesota's 3-20 start. Combined with the team's decision not to pick up his contract option for next season, the lack of playing time sent Green a clear signal.

    "When you don't pick up a young kid's option ... and then when you don't play him that much ... he was thinking he's not part of their future," Irvin said. "He became more and more frustrated."

    Green also appeared more and more disinterested. In a game at the Target Center against the Lakers in early December, Green spent much of a first-half timeout chatting with an injured Theo Ratliff instead of sticking his nose into a team huddle. Inserted into the game a few minutes later, Green had the ball knocked away on his first touch, a turnover that led to a breakaway dunk for Kobe Bryant.

    Though injuries opened up playing time for Green, Irvin asked the Timberwolves for a trade in January. Minnesota vice president Kevin McHale complied with the request at the Feb. 21 trade deadline, dealing Green to Houston for Kirk Snyder, a 2010 second-round pick and cash.

    "He was probably just the farthest away from readiness to play in NBA games," McHale told the St. Paul Pioneer Press in explaining the trade. (McHale declined to comment for this story.)

    Green called the move to his hometown team "a dream come true," but his stay lasted less than three weeks. With emerging rookie Carl Landry suffering from a knee injury after Yao Ming already was lost to foot surgery, the Rockets needed more rebounding in the midst of what would become a 22-game winning streak. They signed Harris, a rookie forward from Rice, and released Green on March 8.

    "We started out after the deadline with only five healthy bigs, and then two of them went down, so I really had no choice but to add one," Morey said. "Gerald was the only player we had who didn't have future money or was in the rotation, so unfortunately, he got caught up in a numbers-roster deal. We have a good coaching staff for young players, a good player development staff; they were all sort of disappointed in me that we had to make a move in that direction."

    Green hasn't spoken much with the media since leaving the Rockets. He has spent the ensuing weeks sorting out how a career that began so brightly has fizzled so quickly.

    "Look, was he immature in some situations? Of course. He came out of high school; what would anyone expect?" Irvin said. "But he's a good kid. I think [this] has humbled him, and now he realizes he has to fight. But to discount anything he did [in Boston] because he was on bad teams, well, half of the league is filled with bad teams. Are we going to discount everyone's season on a bad team?"

    Irvin said at least a half dozen teams have shown interest in Green, an indication that as easily as the business of pro basketball can seemingly crush your dreams, it can just as easily open its doors to you if your legs are spry and your shooting stroke is true.

    At least Gerald Green hopes so.
  2. Asian Sensation

    Oct 29, 1999
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    Maybe there was a method behind the madness when Daryl Dawkins knocked Green's autographed shoes off the judges table in disgust. lol
  3. ReD_1

    ReD_1 Rookie

    Aug 4, 2007
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    Morey said he might bring back GG.
  4. dookiester

    dookiester Member

    Feb 5, 2003
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    it would be nice if the rockets get him back next year and he's turned his game up. im not giving up on the kid yet, he has exactly the type of talent we could use as another multi-skilled swingman (lets be honest, we have only one true swingman in tmac) if he ever harnesses it. although our roster is pretty packed as it is with harris being extended. we could probably do without novak as much as i love him and his stroke.
  5. durvasa

    durvasa Contributing Member

    Feb 11, 2006
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    So ... Minnesota didn't have enough room in their rotation to fit in Gerald Green, but they are able to start Kirk Snyder?

    Sorry. It's clear that they just didn't think Gerald Green was any good.
  6. therack06

    therack06 Member

    Feb 27, 2008
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    I think Minnesota's act of declining Green's 4th year option told everyone that they didn't think Green was any good. If they thought he could develop and just had too many people ahead of him, they could have picked up the option and traded some people away in the offseason while letting him develop in practice.
  7. RoxSqaud

    RoxSqaud Member

    Feb 21, 2008
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    I want gerald green back...........Dont lie u know u loved having him on the rockets and was waiting to see some killer dunks for us on fast breaks
  8. EbolaScola

    EbolaScola Member

    Mar 17, 2008
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    I'd like that too. I guess we'll have to see how Mike Harris turns out.
  9. Nice Rollin

    Nice Rollin Contributing Member

    Mar 30, 2006
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    yeah, cuz thats pretty much all he brings
  10. A_3PO

    A_3PO Member

    Apr 29, 2006
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    It doesn't look good for him. He may not have the heart, brains or professionalism to be successful in the NBA.

    Or maybe he needs more time.
  11. fadeawayjae

    fadeawayjae Member

    Jul 29, 2007
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    i think he should've went to college to work on his fundamentals
  12. stipendlax

    stipendlax Member

    Mar 3, 2008
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    Not Novak! I say he can still be very valuable to this team, we just need to utilize him more.

    If anything, we could probably do without Harris...
  13. Angkor Wat

    Angkor Wat Member

    Jun 14, 2007
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    Gerald Green is still on the team if Yao doesn't get hurt. Morey just confirmed that he had to cut Green to make room for a big. It was the most logical cut. If the player development staff was disappointed in the move, then they must see something in Green. Hopefully, he works his butt off in the off season and does well enough to make the team. This is exactly what Gerald Green needed.
  14. SamFisher

    SamFisher Virtuous

    Apr 14, 2003
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    He could probably be a superstar in a lesser league, such as the Greek one.

    As past history has shown us, many NBA failures are able to find superstardom there.
  15. xomox

    xomox Contributing Member

    Jun 4, 2005
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    but then he would have to compete with vspan. and it's hard to shine when you're compared to vspan.
  16. rn_xw

    rn_xw Member

    Mar 28, 2006
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    I have to agree with that. Two T-mac alike players going at each other. That would make the Greek league way more entertaining than NBA.
  17. UTweezer

    UTweezer Contributing Member

    Feb 26, 2002
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    shiet man...Green always helps me out on NBA 2K8....

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