A Veteran Presence

This feature article is presented by Betway.

When the Cavaliers were looking to fortify their roster with a Playoff-experienced NBA veteran just before the All-Star Break, there weren’t many players around who’d witnessed more postseason wars than Danny Green.

The team’s core is an average age of around 24 years of age and, save Jarrett Allen and Donovan Mitchell, none of them had any real postseason experience. Midway through February, Cleveland was about to work out an agreement to part ways with Kevin Love and was looking to fill the veteran void.

Green, originally drafted by the Wine & Gold with the 46th overall pick out of North Carolina back in 2009, had only played in three games with Memphis earlier this season before being dealt to Houston as part of a three-team deal at the Deadline. He was released on February 12 and signed as free agent with Cleveland two days later.

The former Tarheel had played in 822 career contests before his return to the North Coast – logging time with the Cavs, Spurs, Raptors, Lakers, Sixers and Grizzlies.

Green also brought Championship pedigree to the young Cavaliers. He’s one of just four players in league history to have won an NBA title with three different franchises – along with LeBron James, Robert Horry and John Salley. Green won one of those three titles alongside LeBron with the Lakers back in 2020. He was part of the Raptors squad that shocked Golden State in 2018 and Spurs team that shocked LeBron and the Heat in 2014. (Green also won the NCAA Championship with UNC before he was drafted in 2009.) 

In all, Green had amassed 165 games of postseason experience – second among active players behind only James and Andre Iguodala – and he would see action in four of Cleveland’s five First Round contests against New York this past spring.

Green would only see action in nine of Cleveland’s next 19 games after being acquired, but the 14th-year man flashed his old form in the final two games of the regular season – averaging 17.0 points per off the bench, shooting an even 50 percent from the floor and 42 percent (8-of-19) from beyond the arc. 

Coming into this season, Green had canned at least 100 triples in 11 of his previous 13 years, and his 1,577 three-pointers overall rank him 14th among all active players.  

Like the rest of the squad, Green wasn’t exactly his best in this year’s brief Playoff run – averaging 10.0 minutes per in those four appearances, finishing with three points, four boards and a pair of steals in 19 minutes of action in Game 2, but barely denting the boxscore over the final three games of the series. 

HIGHLIGHT – With the Cavaliers postseason positioning locked up heading into the final week of the season, J.B. Bickerstaff looked to his second unit to close out the campaign. 

And in the penultimate game of the season – the second of two straight in Orlando – Green stepped off the bench and into the hot tub time machine – going off for a team-high 21 points in a 26-point drubbing of the Magic. 

In that contest, the New York native went 8-of-14 from the floor, including 5-of-9 from three-point range, adding three boards, three assists, three steals and a blocked shot in just 26 minutes of work. 

BY THE NUMBERS – 5 … more games of Playoff experience that Danny Green had coming into the Knicks series (165) than the rest of the Cavaliers roster combined (160). 

QUOTABLE – Danny Green, on the players he learned from over his 14-year career …

“I learned from all my vets, man. I mean, I was in San Antonio for seven years. But my first year in Cleveland, my rookie year, it was Bron, Shaq, we had those guys. We had Mo Williams. Anthony Parker was a true professional. Jamario Moon, Delonte West. Andy, who’s still here. So, we had a lot of guys that I could learn from. I was the only rookie, and I was a sponge. And then in San Antonio, there was Tim, Tony, Manu. Popp. I learned how to be a professional.” 

LOOKING AHEAD – The Cavaliers have some question marks regarding the second unit heading into this offseason. The team certainly doesn’t need to get any younger and can always use veteran leadership – especially if it can shoot from beyond the arc. 

Danny Green is near the end of his NBA career, having dealt with knee issues over the past couple of seasons. But if decides to return for season No. 15, there’s always a chance he could give it another go in Cleveland.