According to USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt, the Cavaliers have agreed to a contract with free agent forward Jeff Green. And per ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, the deal is for the minimum. That means Green’s deal will be for $2.3 million and cost the Cavs $8 million due to Cleveland’s being due to pay the luxury tax. Per Windhorst, LeBron James also had “active conversations” with Green before the deal was agreed to.
Green, who will be 31 when the season stars, spent last season with the Orlando Magic where he averaged 9.2 points while shooting 39.4 percent from the field and 27.5 percent from three. Before Orlando, he played for the Clippers, Grizzles, Celtics and Thunder/Sonics. For his career, he’s a 47.5 percent shooter from the field and a 33.3 percent shooter from three.
At 6’9” and 235 pounds, Green has the size to give the Cavs depth at two spots a la Richard Jefferson. And behind James, he’ll be asked to do less than ever before. If he can play defense, shoot a bit and cut off ball, coach Tyronn Lue could find minutes for him if only to help keep LeBron fresh. Green could be the 2017-18 version of Derrick Williams, who now seems less likely to return.
Green also isn’t an older player like 36-year-old Jose Calderon, the only other player Cleveland has signed this summer. He’s not young, but he’s won’t age up Cleveland’s roster in the way other players would. In the context of the Cavs, he certainly could be playable and see decent minutes.
Getting him for the minimum is a solid value too, as it keeps up the Cavs’ taxpayer mid-level exception open for other players. That could be Cedi Osman or another veteran Cleveland deems worthy of that money. But at this point in free agency, Osman is the more likely signing. And with the roster now at 13 players, there’s still work to be done. Green doesn’t exactly improve Cleveland in a meaningful way, but he doesn’t hurt either.