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This seems to be one of those instances where something was made out of nothing. There doesn’t seem to be an even slightly legitimate report out there that Green asked for a trade. However, someone contacted Green saying he did and he felt the need to go out and publicly make sure that the story didn’t catch fire. While he didn’t have anything to worry about, there’s nothing wrong with pledging your allegiance to a struggling team to demonstrate your loyalty.
Green does have the ability to become a free agent at season’s end by declining a $9.2 million option for next season. He’s averaging 18.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game this season and could be the target of contending teams looking for that missing piece. However, the Celtics’ decision to trade him is going to be determined by the quality of the offer, not whether Green wants out or not.
As rough as this season is going for the Celtics, nobody has more right to be upset than All-Star point guard Rajon Rondo, who has used every opportunity that has come his way to state he’s happy in Boston and open to the prospect of staying there long term. With Rondo carrying himself in the manner he is, there’s no way a player like Green, who is a fine player but not of the same caliber as Rondo, could go to the front office and demand a trade without taking a big public relations hit.
This summer Green is going to have to weigh the pros and cons with exploring free agency or waiting another season. He’s putting up big numbers, but hasn’t proven himself as someone who can help a team win at a high level in a featured role since leaving Oklahoma City. He may be able to get a raise from his current annual salary of $9.2 million and get some long-term security, but if he can help turn the Celtics around and get them back into the playoff mix in the Eastern Conference by the end of next season, he’ll have a lot bargaining power than he would after just putting up numbers that are going to be viewed as inflated because he’s on a team with a lack of depth.
Add the Celtics to the long list of teams after Marc Gasol, but right now it’s becoming increasingly hard to believe that he is going to leave Memphis. As much turmoil as the franchise has experienced in the front office, they’re one of the best teams in the league right now and Gasol has grown into a star during his time with the franchise, the only one he knows.
Typically when a star is lured away in free agency it’s because he doesn’t believe that his current team can contend. But, Gasol has grown so close to his teammates in Memphis and has so much confidence in him that it’s hard to believe he’s going to question whether he can continue to be successful there. The Grizzlies also have the ability to offer a five year, maximum contract to Gasol, an advantage no other team will have. Other teams will only be able to offer him a four year contract.
Gasol is averaging 19.1 points, 7.8 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.3 steals per game. An argument can be made that he’s the best center in the league right now, although the play of DeMarcus Cousins keeps it from being a unanimous consensus. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers, two teams who are near the bottom of their conferences right now, are expected to the teams who go after Gasol the hardest this offseason.
Whiteside is currently averaging 22 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks a game in the D-League, which has him at the top of the call up list. He spent some time with the Grizzlies recently, but the HEAT could end up being a nice long-term fit given their need for a center, a position that they kind of phased out with LeBron James on the team but now use more, especially with Chris Anderson going down on Sunday night.
Whiteside came out of Marshall after just one year. The hype was excessive going into the draft process as he had a couple of triple-doubles under his belt, but Whiteside quickly fell out of favor as teams realized how immature and raw he was.
Now Whiteside is fueled by his NBA struggles and looks poised to finally make his presence felt.
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