The San Antonio Spurs have had a bizarre season and upcoming free agents like Danny Green have undoubtedly noticed the chaos.
ESPN’s Zach Lowe speculated that Green, who can become an unrestricted free agent due to his $10,000,000 player option, will not play for the Spurs next season (via The Lowe Post):
“I’m very curious to see what Danny does in free agency this summer. He has a player option for [$10,000,000], which he should probably turn down. This is not sourced. I just get the sense that relationship is probably ready to be severed. If I had to guess, I’d guess he’d sign somewhere else and they’re ready for him to sign somewhere else.”
While FiveThirtyEight’s Chris Herring suggested he believes Green is the type of player who would prefer to play for a title contender, he is no longer sure that is the identity in San Antonio with lingering troubles surrounding Kawhi Leonard.
Green is a good spot-up scorer who has also been excellent when he is given handoff opportunities for the Spurs. He ranks No. 10 overall in efficiency (1.15 points per possession) among those with as many possessions so far this season, per Synergy Sports.
Last season, he excelled when shooting off screens — averaging 1.24 PPP. This put him No. 6 overall (minimum: 40 possessions) during his 2016-17 campaign.
He ranks No. 5 overall (minimum: 40 field goal attempts) on right corner three-pointers this year. According to Cleaning The Glass, Green is in the 94th percentile on total corner three-pointers.
Many teams around the league would covet such a sharpshooter. Based on FiveThirtyEight’s CARMELO Projections, he is worth around $60 million over five years for an average annual value of approximately $11.9 million.
One front office that may have an interest is the Philadelphia 76ers, who will have cap space to bring him to their roster. Green played for their head coach Brett Brown, who was previously director of player personnel and an assistant coach for the Spurs.
Green has called Brown “amazing” and said that he brightened up practices and made his life much easier. Philadelphia has run handoffs more often than all but two teams in the Eastern Conference so far this season.
Also, Philadelphia’s front office clearly values shooting and understands that they need sharpshooters around their young franchise cornerstones, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. That’s why they signed JJ Redick to a one-year deal worth $23 million this past summer, and then added Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova recently. It’s worth noting that all three shooters will be unrestricted free agents this summer.
Jacque Vaughn (an assistant for the Nets) were both assistant coaches for the Spurs. No team in the Eastern Conference has used spot-up possessions more often than Brooklyn, per NBA.com.
Marks has made an effort to sign veterans who can help the team build a winning culture (such as Trevor Booker, Jeremy Lin, Luis Scola, Greivis Vasquez, Randy Foye, Chase Budinger and Quincy Acy). Green would certainly fit that mold, although it’s unclear if he’d be willing to join a non-playoff team that’s still in the process of rebuilding.
Mike Budenholzer, now the head coach for the Atlanta Hawks, previously coached Green as a top assistant for San Antonio. He was there when the wing first arrived to the Spurs in 2010. Atlanta has run possessions off screens more often than any other team in the East. But, again, would Green be willing to join a lottery team just based on his relationship with Budenholzer?
Jim Boylen (the associate head coach of the Chicago Bulls) coached Green earlier in his career as well.
Perhaps his most notable connection is to Chad Forcier (currently with the Orlando Magic), who is credited with helping the 6-foot-6 player develop his shot. Green has spoken quite highly of the lead Orlando assistant (via Express-News):
“The things he was telling me to do, it translated right over to the game right away … He’s very positive. His analogies were sometimes crazy and off the wall, but they made sense.”
All five of these teams mentioned above (Sixers, Nets, Hawks, Bulls and Magic) enter the offseason with the most available practical cap space in the NBA, per Spotrac.
Teams like Brooklyn, Atlanta, Chicago and Orlando would likely have to pay Green significantly more than other possible suitors since he’d be turning down the chance to compete for a title (just as Redick got his huge one-year payday from Philadelphia because he walked away from multi-year deals with interested contenders, including the Houston Rockets).
If he does not re-sign with the Spurs, as suggested by Lowe, expect all of these teams (among others) to pursue him this summer.