Go for the Green
Cavaliers Continue Offseason Construction; Ink Veteran Small Forward
After dropping the Finals in five games this past June, it seemed like Bobby Womack wasn’t the only native Clevelander who left his heart in San Francisco.
Less than a month removed from the end of the Wine & Gold’s recent run, it seems like some fans and pundits have already forgotten just how close the Cavaliers came to making Golden State sweat out an even series heading back to Cali after Game 4.
The Cavaliers led the Warriors by six points with three minutes to play in Game 3 of this past Finals. Had they been able to close that contest out, and considering the beating they gave the Dubs in Game 4, the series might have gone a completely different direction.
Of course, it did not. And the Cavaliers find themselves re-tooling this offseason – shoring up not just for Golden State, but the rest of the league that’s now in hot pursuit of – and gaining quickly on – both Finals combatants.
On Monday, the Cavs officially announced the signing of backup point guard José Calderón – fortifying a roster spot that’d been a question mark through the better part of the previous season.
On Tuesday, the team unveiled another veteran free agent acquisition in forward Jeff Green.
After starring for three seasons at Georgetown, Green was originally drafted by the Celtics with the fifth overall pick of the 2007 Draft before being immediately shipped to Seattle in the blockbuster deal that brought Ray Allen and Big Baby Davis to Boston in exchange for Green and our old friends, Wally Szczerbiak and Delonte West.
In his rookie year, he and his fellow freshman teammate, Kevin Durant, were both named to the All-Rookie First Team. Green averaged 10.5 points per in his first season with the Sonics and as the team relocated to Oklahoma City, he remained the model of consistency – posting double-digit scoring in eight of his first nine seasons in the league.
Green’s best year came in his second season after being traded back to Boston (along with Nenad Krstic in exchange for Nate Robinson and another old friend, Kendrick Perkins) – starting all 82 games for the Celtics in 2013-14, averaging 16.9 points per.
Like Calderón, Cleveland’s other offseason acquisition, Green – who spent all of last season with Orlando – isn’t the flashiest player in the Association. But the Cavaliers have plenty of flash up and down the roster. What they need are consistent veterans to fill the gaps that Golden State exploited earlier this summer.
Green is the perfect jack-of-all-trades backup for LeBron James. He’s a career 43 percent shooter from the floor; 33 percent from long-range. The Maryland native has been a solid rebounder (4.7 rpg) and assist man (1.7 apg) over his career.
And his durability can’t be questioned. Green has never played fewer than 69 games in any season.
Green is no stranger to postseason play – doing playoff tours with the Thunder, Celtics, Grizzlies and Clippers. In Boston’s six-game First Round loss to J.R. Smith’s Knicks back in 2012-13, Green averaged 20.6 points per.
Overall, he’s played in 38 postseason contests, starting 15.
The Cavaliers haven’t made major moves so far this summer. But for a team that made its third straight trip to the Finals, they don’t really have to at this point.
So, while other teams make dramatic moves and their newly-minted free agents win the press conference, the Wine & Gold will be concentrating on making the moves to win the actual Conference.