March 26, 2023

The N.B.A.’s Roving Role Player Hopes to Settle Down in Brooklyn

Green’s lack of multiyear offers hasn’t gone unnoticed. After he agreed to yet another minimum deal, with the Jazz in 2019, Dwyane Wade said in a viral Twitter post: “I do NOT understand how and why Jeff Green keep signing these 1 year deals for the minimum. This is now 3 years in a row. He’s never injured, He’s never been a problem in the locker room, He’s athletic, he can shoot the 3, he can guard multiple positions and he’s not old.”

DeAndre Jordan, Green’s friend and Nets teammate, called it “a little unfair,” but added, “Obviously, teams want him because he continues to get signed.”

For a year.

So instead, Green has settled for life as a professional basketball nomad.

Green, a native of Cheverly, Md., began his N.B.A. journey in 2007 after three years at Georgetown. He was drafted fifth overall by the Boston Celtics and immediately traded to the Seattle SuperSonics in a package for Ray Allen. The Sonics had already drafted Durant at No. 2 overall. Because of Green’s athleticism and scoring ability, there was hope that Green would become a star next to Durant.

That never materialized. At his best, Green has showed a talent for scoring, but not much else — which helps explain why he hasn’t been able to settle with one franchise. And while in some cases an N.B.A. player might bounce around because of concerns about locker room presence, Green has a positive reputation off the court.

Kevin Ollie, a teammate of Green’s in Oklahoma City after the Seattle franchise moved, said Green’s personality was “bubbly,” but “detail-oriented” on the floor. “You see the hard work, but then you see love behind the hard work,” he said.

Ollie knows what it’s like to move around: He played for 11 teams, one more than Green. He is one of around 200 teammates that Green has played with in his N.B.A. career. Ollie said one of the challenges of playing for so many teams was constantly having to uproot his family, particularly his children. Green said his wife, Stephanie, “makes it very easy.”

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