Jeff Green Still Has Much to Prove With Celtics if He Chooses to Return

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Jeff Green Still Has Much to Prove With Celtics if He Chooses to ReturnMuch of the Celtics' rebuilding plan — should they decide to rebuild at all — rests on whether Jeff Green will be back in a Celtics uniform.

Green was expected to bolster Boston's bench until an aortic aneurysm discovered shortly before the season wiped out his entire 2011-12 campaign. His health issue turned out to be only the first domino to fall, as Jermaine O'Neal, Chris Wilcox and Avery Bradley all ended up sidelined at the end of the season for various reasons.

In a goodwill gesture, the Celtics withdrew their qualifying offer to Green in December. Instead of the Celtics having the right to match any contract offer Green receives from another team this summer, Green is now an unrestricted free agent. The Celtics were assumed to be his preferred destination regardless, but David Falk, his agent, told SI.com that Green may have other suitors when the free agency period commences in July.

Still, the Celtics would have advantages under the collective bargaining agreement in signing Green, either to a long-term contract or for a sign-and-trade. This latter possibility should not be discounted, as it is how Glen Davis and his four-year, $26 million contract came to be in Orlando.

As Paul Pierce enters the final guaranteed year of his deal, the Celtics may need to begin planning for the future at small forward. They could address that with a cheaper and younger (yet riskier) player such as Royce White in the draft, or keep a proven yet promising commodity in Green.

Should the Celtics keep Jeff Green or let him go?

Photo via Flickr/Keith Allison

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