Gerald Green Returns to Where it All Started

BOSTON – Gerald Green – quite fittingly – is back in green.

The Boston Celtics announced Wednesday night that they have signed Green to a free-agent contract. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Boston chose Green with the 18th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft and the swingman spent his first two NBA seasons with the club. He was then dealt to Minnesota on July 31, 2007 as part of the package that landed Kevin Garnett in Boston.

Green is entering his 10th season in the league. He owns career averages of 10.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game and has shot 36.1 percent from long range.

Last season, as a member of the Miami Heat, Green posted averages of 8.9 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. Prior to his one-year run with Miami, Green had averaged double-figures in the scoring column during three of his previous four campaigns, including a career-high average of 15.8 PPG during 2013-14 with the Phoenix Suns.

Green fits right into head coach Brad Stevens’ mantra of positionless basketball. As a long, 6-foot-7 shooter with extreme athleticism, he can and will spend time at multiple positions.

Under Stevens’ system, Green is a fit at the “swing” and “wing” positions. He will help by scoring off the bounce, by spreading the floor, and by rising off the floor for above-the-rim finishes.

Although Green is not regarded as a high-level defender, he is serviceable at that end and is likely to improve under the guidance of Stevens and his coaching staff.

It will be a full-circle story if Green is able to make an impact on next season’s Celtics team. He was drafted by Danny Ainge 11 years ago, but his career has been a rollercoaster ever since.

Green, now 30 years old, entered the league as a 19-year-old super-athlete. He showed glimpses of stardom during his first two seasons with the C’s, including winning the 2007 Slam Dunk contest, and that’s why Minnesota wanted him included in Boston’s package for Garnett.

However, after a short stay with the Timberwolves that included only 29 games played, he was traded to the Rockets and then waived shortly thereafter, on March 8, 2008. Green signed with Dallas during the offseason, played 39 games with the Mavs, and then was out of the league – for nearly three full years.

For those who had seen Green’s highlight dunks and flashes of star potential, it was shocking to know that the then-23-year-old, with loads of ability, was unable to find a job in the NBA. That, however, was the bitter truth.

Green was forced to play two seasons overseas, in Russia (for two teams) and China, and one in the D-League, before finally getting another shot at the NBA in February of 2012. But even then, his future was in doubt.

The New Jersey Nets went out on a limb and signed Green to a 10-day contract – the type of contract that is most typically given to D-Leaguers as stopgaps for teams – on Feb. 27, 2012. Green showed enough promise, commitment and growth to garner a second 10-day contract.

Shortly thereafter, he began to make an impact in New Jersey. He scored 26 points in 23 minutes on March 10, 2012, during just his seventh game with the Nets. Four days later, he scored 26 points yet again. Green went on to score at least 15 points during 11 of his 31 games with New Jersey.

Green’s stretch with the Nets showed those around the league that he was ready to contribute full-time at the NBA level. He went on to sign a three-year, $10 million deal with Indiana during the 2012 offseason.

Green played well off of the bench for Indiana during 2012-13, scoring 7.0 PPG in 18 MPG, and was traded to Phoenix the following summer. The swingman went on to average 15.8 PPG and 11.9 PPG, respectively, during his two seasons with the Suns.

Now, after a one-year stop in Miami, Green is back where it all started more than 11 years ago.

His impact was quite minimal during his first stop in Boston, but a lot has changed since then. Green has matured, both as a person and as a player, and has proven that he can be a key rotational player.

Now he has a chance to make an impact on the highly-regarded Celtics during his second stint in green.