Over the past few days, there have been murmurs that the Cleveland Cavaliers are interested in bringing in Zach Randolph, Jose Calderon, and Jamal Crawford, the second of which the wine and gold did sign and the latter could join the Cavs if he so chooses after officially being bought out by the Atlanta Hawks on Friday. But Friday night, after there wasn’t a single report that Cleveland even showed interest in him, the Cavs signed forward Jeff Green to a one-year, $2.3 million deal, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Like Calderon, Green is coming off his worst statistical season of his career. In 69 games (11 starts) with the Magic last season, he averaged 9.2 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.2 assists while shooting 39.4 percent from the floor and 27.5 percent from beyond the arc in 22.2 minutes per game. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound forward had just a 97.5 offensive rating and 106.6 defensive rating after signing a one-year, $15 million deal with Orlando prior to the 2016-17 season.
During his nine-year career so far, he has averaged 13.5 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.6 assists while shooting 43.5 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent from long distance in 705 games (484 starts). He may not be much of a shooter and although he’s coming off such a disappointing season, the 30-year-old (who will be 31 next month) adds depth and versatility to the frontcourt. Not only that, but he’s athletic enough to play multiple positions as well, which the Cavs will love.
Much like he did with Crawford this week, LeBron James also spoke to Green before the veteran decided to come to Cleveland.
LeBron James had active conversations with Jeff Green before decision to sign with Cavs, sources said.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) July 8, 2017
Although No. 23 may not be actively recruiting players to join the Cavs, it’s a positive sign that he is talking to free agents when they come to him first. If Crawford comes to Cleveland as well, James will be 2-for-2 in talking to players who then sign with the wine and gold.
Green did not play in Orlando’s final 11 regular season games last season because of back issues. Even so, he admitted that if it were the playoffs, he would have played. Here’s what he told Orlando Sentinel’s Josh Robbins about being shutdown by the Magic:
“I want to play. I wanted to finish out the games, but I’ve got to make sure I’m right before I step out on the floor. But it was the team’s decision to shut me down. If it was the playoffs, I could play. But it makes no sense at this point to try to come back and force the issue.”
Although he seems to be over his back problems, the former Georgetown standout was forced to sit out the 2011-12 season at the age of 25 following open heart surgery to fix a heart condition. The fact that he has made it back to the NBA following such surgery is incredible, to say the least.
Green’s contract may only be worth the veteran’s minimum set at $2.3 million, but due to the fact that the Cavs’ payroll is so far over the cap and in the repeater tax, the signing will cost Dan Gilbert a total of $8 million. The team’s payroll is now just over $135 million, with an additional $46 million in luxury tax.
With the inability to offer much in terms of money, getting a player like Green is great value for the Cavs. He may have struggled last season, but players seem to play much better when they have the best player in the world as a teammate. With his athletic ability, Green can turn into a very good (and cheap) signing for Cleveland this season.