With LaMarcus Aldridge eyeing the San Antonio Spurs in free agency, it could become possible that Danny Green would be on the open market, and if that’s the case, the Chicago Bulls would be well-served to figure out a way to get him.
Green is one of the premiere 3-and-D players in the league. According to RealGM’s Shams Charania.
As the prime template of a three-and-defense player in today’s NBA, Green could command around $10 to $12 million as an unrestricted free agent, a former second-round NBA draft selection who will land his first major contract.
That price may seem steep, but when you consider all the different facets to what Green could bring to the Bulls, he’d be worth the cost.
First, on the offensive end, he would be the perfect complement to the slashing stylings of Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler. Butler is a decent enough three-point shooter, knocking down 37.8 percent of his attempts from deep last year, but they don’t come with great volume, sinking just 73 last year.
By comparison, Green is a 42.0 percent three-point shooter who made 191 last season. When you factor in Fred Hoiberg’s style of coaching which emphasizes the three, it becomes all the more advantageous to have a guy like Danny “My Shot Chart Is” Green on the court.
And it’s not just the actual threes going in, either. There’s the notion of gravity at play here. That’s the analytical observation that as players are a greater threat from the three-point line, the more “gravity” they have, meaning defenders stray less distance from them.
Green’s volume and efficiency from deep would render a huge impact on the “Slash Brothers,” Rose and Butler.
In addition to the offense, there’s the defensive side to things. Green is one of the top wing defenders in the league. His Defensive Real Plus-Minus was 2.16 last year, per ESPN.com. Putting Green and the two-time All-Defensive team Butler together on the perimeter would give the Bulls an enviable pairing.
And again, this wouldn’t just be about the player, but the fit. The Bulls recently signed Jim Boylen to be associate head coach. Mostly, he will be responsible for the defense. Previously, he designed the San Antonio Spurs defense, which relies heavily on switches.
Both Green and Butler can guard multiple positions. Having two wings that can handle switches at an elite level is a veritable luxury in today’s NBA. Furthermore, with Green already intimately familiar with Boylen’s schemes, he would be able to help the Bulls adapt to the new system.
The fit is unquestionable. Making it work would be a bit more of a challenge. There may be a way, though.
LaMarcus Aldridge has let it be known that he won’t be returning to the Trail Blazers and that his first choice is the Spurs. The Spurs are trying to figure out a way to finagle salaries to make that possible. The Bulls could take advantage of that by making the player movement possible.
A three-way trade with Aldridge and Green both agreeing to sign-and-trades could send Green to the Bulls, starting at $10 million (total of $33 million), Aldridge getting the max and the Trail Blazers (who also are likely to lose Robin Lopez) getting Tiago Splitter and Joakim Noah.
Noah wasn’t the same player last year as he was in his 2013-14 campaign when he was First-Team All-NBA, but he’s still a very serviceable player. And in a contract year and having had a full summer of rest, he could be better next year. He and Splitter give the Trail Blazers a pair of formidable big men, and frankly, they don’t have much of a bargaining position. It’s better than nothing.
The Spurs get their man. And the Bulls don’t only get Green, they also get just enough salary release that they can use the full mid-level exception and stay below the apron (the point $4 million above the tax level which teams can’t go over if they acquire a player via sign-and-trade), even if they keep Mike Dunleavy at around $3-4 million.
They could then use that to sign a player like Jeremy Lin or Mo Williams in free agency to resolve their backup point guard need. If Kirk Hinrich retires, they would also have access to their bi-annual exception, allowing them to add further depth.
The Bulls have little shot, either through trade or free agency, at landing a franchise player, but Green would certainly be an impact player and would be something worth pursuing, even if takes a little creativity to get him to the Windy City.