Celtics close to reuniting with Green

Celtics close to reuniting with Green
August 22, 2012, 10:36 pm
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BOSTON All that stands between Jeff Green and the Boston Celtics officially reuniting are a few crossed T's and dotted I's.
Danny Ainge, Boston's president of basketball operations, told CSNNE.com on Wednesday that the long-awaited return of Green back to the Celtics should become official any day now.
"There's just paperwork stuff now," Ainge told CSNNE.com. "We're waiting to get signatures, league approval and all that stuff."
It's not clear if Green meant to get Celtics Nation fired up about his return, but there was increased speculation on Wednesday that his contract was officially done when Green sent a one-word message -- "Finally!!!" -- via Twitter.After weeks in which both sides seemingly had the framework in place for a four-year deal that's expected to average 9 million per season, multiple league sources confirmed on Wednesday that a deal would become official soon.
While some may scoff at the idea of Green coming off the C's bench pulling down what's considered a starter's salary, the Celtics are essentially banking on him -- literally -- outperforming his contract akin to what Rajon Rondo did after he signed an extension with the C's in 2009.
At the time, signing Rondo to a five-year, 55 million contract was seen in some NBA circles as a bit excessive.
He was a point guard with a not-so-great jumper (OK, a bad jumper), benefiting heavily from a talented trio of Hall of Famers in Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen (now with the Miami Heat).
But in hindsight, it turned out to be money well spent.
Rondo's shooting stroke has improved and his court vision is unmatched in the NBA.
And while his jumper isn't on par with some of the NBA's other elite point guards, Rondo's all-around game has established him as one of the game's best and brightest playmakers.
With an aging core of veterans around him, the 6-foot-1 guard -- an all-star each of the last three seasons -- has established himself as the future face of the franchise once Garnett and Pierce retire.As for Green, no one knows exactly what to expect after he missed all of last season following heart surgery.
While all indications are that he has made a full recovery and might actually be even more fit now, skepticism will remain in play until Green returns to action.
"When I sat with Jeff through the medical process and saw four different specialists about his heart, it was pretty clear that Jeff would return and that he would be in even better condition and in better shape," Ainge said in an earlier interview. "After his procedure, everything has gone great. He'll be out on the basketball court going full tilt very soon."
During his time away from the game, Green was back in Boston quickly.
He would sit on the bench, one of the first faces you see when the Celtics made a big play and the cameras panned on the sideline. A significant part of his recovery time was spent in Boston as well.
So even as fans became somewhat frustrated and concerned about the length of time it has taken for his contract to become official, the C's brass and Green's camp never wavered in their belief that the 2012-2013 NBA season would begin with Jeff Green in a Celtics uniform.
For Boston, this should complete what has been a whirlwind of a summer that included the highs of maneuvering a highly complicated sign-and-trade to acquire Courtney Lee from Houston, and the low point being Ray Allen's decision to leave Boston and play for Miami at half the salary he would have earned had he remained a Celtic.
But Danny Ainge wouldn't be Danny Ainge if he wasn't at the very least open to the idea of pulling off another deal between now and training camp.
When asked if the Green signing would be the last major deal for the C's this offseason, Ainge said, "I don't know the answer to that. It depends on what opportunities are out there, but I like where we are right now."
The roster that Ainge has assembled is arguably the deepest Doc Rivers has ever had to work with in terms of talent in both the starting lineup and coming off the bench -- and that was before the addition of Green.
His return can only improve the Celtics' chances at achieving the only kind of success that this franchise fully embraces -- winning a championship.