Nov. 26, 2010; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green (22) smiles as he walks up court against the Indiana Pacers at Conseco Fieldhouse. Oklahoma City defeated Indiana 110-106. Mandatory credit: Michael Hickey-US PRESSWIRE

Former Thunder Jeff Green close to 4-year, $40 million deal with Boston Celtics

May 9, 2011; Boston, MA, USA; Boston Celtics forward Jeff Green (8) looks to pass while guarded by Miami Heat guard Mike Miller (13) during the third quarter at TD Garden. Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

Former Oklahoma City Thunder forward Jeff Green is close to signing a 4-year, $40 million deal with the Boston Celtics, according to Sam Amick of SI.com.

Green was traded from the Thunder in the 2010-11 season to Boston for Kendrick Perkins. Green missed the entire 2011-12 season with heart surgery.

Despite that and not having a very good run with the Celtics in the short time he was with the team (9.8 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in 26 games), Boston is looking to offer him $10 million per year.

Green was a very good player in Oklahoma City. Drafted the same season as Kevin Durant he was very much a big part of the team’s future before being traded. In his second and third seasons in the league, Green averaged around 16 points and six rebounds per game for OKC.

In fact, Green was very much missed by the Thunder this season. He was traded for Perkins in 2011 so that the Thunder had more size to combat the Los Angeles Lakers’ bigs, Andrew Bynum and Pau Gasol.

In the 2012 playoffs, Green would have been perfect for the series against San Antonio and Miami. The Thunder played a lot of small lineups in both of those series and Perkins was left pretty much ineffective.

Green would have brought the Thunder more versatility and could have possibly swung the title in the Thunder’s way.

One thing is for sure though, with the Thunder so concerned about saving cap to keep James Harden and Serge Ibaka in the coming years, keeping Green on the roster would only have made that tougher. At $10 million per year, there’s no way the Thunder could have kept Green for much longer.

That’s part of what the Thunder model is too. It’s about drafting well, developing talent and then also making moves via trades or free agency that make sense. That’s part of why Green was traded. Thunder management knew what they had in Harden and Ibaka and it would have become impossible to keep Green too.

That’s also why when rumors surfaced about Harden possibly being traded to the Charlotte Bobcats before the NBA Draft so that OKC could get Bradley Beal, it wasn’t that shocking. That would have been a move consistent with what the Thunder are doing in building their team. Selling high on Harden, committing to Durant-Westbrook-Ibaka and taking a chance on a rookie that GM Sam Presti liked wouldn’t have been a terrible move.

But we are where we are now. The Thunder are trying to find a way to keep Harden and Ibaka and the chances of doing so don’t look all that great, especially when you look around at the kind of contracts being handed out this summer.

Eric Gordon basically guaranteed Harden would receive a max-deal next summer. Players like Omer Asik and JaVale McGee will show why Ibaka could also be in the market for $10-plus million per season.

The most likely scenario is still for the Thunder to extend Harden this summer but Ibaka may be another story. And as much as the Thunder missed Green this year, imagine if they were trying to hang on to him as well now.

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Tags: Boston Celtics James Harden Jeff Green Kendrick Perkins Kevin Durant Miami Heat NBA Finals NBA Free Agency Oklahoma City Thunder Russell Westbrook Serge Ibaka

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