NBA

76ers faced stiff competition to retain Danny Green, and his return is a big boon for Philadelphia

The Philadelphia 76ers were able to re-sign Danny Green in free agency, but they faced some stiff competition as there was no shortage of suitors for his services. While speaking with media members on Wednesday, Green revealed that several teams, including the Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Golden State Warriors, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers and Charlotte Hornets were all interested in signing him. He also added that former Sixers center Dwight Howard tried to get Green to return to the Los Angeles Lakers, and former Sixers guard George Hill tried to recruit him to the Bucks. 

Ultimately, though, Green decided to re-up with the Sixers, largely due to the way the team is currently constructed. Green likes his role in Philadelphia, and he thinks the Sixers have a real opportunity in front of them. Plus, he didn’t want to join a team that wasn’t close to contention. 

“I like to win. At this point in my career, I couldn’t see myself being a rebuild guy,” Green said. “That’s a tough position to be in. I have good years left and I want to use those years to help put something special together — be a piece to a very nice puzzle. I think I have that here in Philly. 

“It’s tough to pass up on what I have now, what I can bring here, to go somewhere else for more money to try to help rebuild. Winning is something I’m used to. I think it’d be a culture shock to be in some type of other environment… But it’s always a priority for me to be on a winning team, be on a contender — and Philly’s always been that. We had a great shot, a great opportunity to bring everyone back, and I think we still have a great opportunity.” 

Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris also played a role in keeping Green in Philadelphia, as both players were in his ear over the offseason, telling him that he had to stay with the Sixers. 

“Joel [Embiid], [I] talked to him at the end of the season,” Green said. “He sent me a text like, ‘Yo, I really went you back. I understand the business side of it and you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family, but I would really love to have you here.’ Tobias [Harris] was calling me nonstop. We Face-Timed. We’re from the same area, so I know him well. We communicated throughout the process about what was going on.  

“He’d say, ‘Look, man, you can’t go there. I can’t lose you to that team’ — that type of thing,” Green added of Harris. “He’d say, ‘We’re going to make it happen. We’re going to make something work.’ It was great to hear that throughout the process, great to talk to my teammates and see how excited they were that I’m back. We had a great group; we had a lot of fun on and off the court. We gelled together well. We had good chemistry and we got along. A lot of those guys were excited and interested, and expressed that they wanted me back. And I’m glad I was able to come back, and we can hopefully do something special again this year.”  

There was some speculation regarding whether or not the relationship between the Sixers and Green would continue, especially after Green made some comments regarding Sixers fans following the team’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the playoffs. However after the deal was done, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey made it clear that keeping Green in a Sixers uniform was always a priority for the franchise. 

“Bringing Danny back was a top priority for our organization this offseason,” Morey said in a statement. “He has proven to be an important leader on and off the floor, and he knows what it takes to win an NBA title as a three-time champion. We are very happy that he’ll continue to remain a crucial part of the 76ers.”   

Retaining Green should have been a priority for Philly, as he was central to their success last season. On the offensive end, Green is a perfect fit for the Sixers, who possess several viable offensive options, including Embiid, Harris, Seth Curry and at times, Ben Simmons. Green provides those players with reliable floor-spacing, while not needing plays specifically ran for him. The Sixers have always needed reliable spacing around Embiid and Simmons, and Green provides exactly that while serving as the league’s deadliest corner three threat. 

On the other end of the floor, Green is still a very solid perimeter defender, albeit perhaps not quite as good as he once was. Nonetheless, he provides the Sixers with the type of two-way player that is at a premium in the league today. Not to mention that having a guy that has won three titles with three different teams in the locker room is ideal for a relatively young team trying to win a title of its own. 

Green’s overall value to Philadelphia became extremely evident during their second round series against Atlanta. Green was forced to miss the last four games of the series due to a calf injury, and Philadelphia lost three of those games. Despite Doc Rivers pushing buttons like he was on an elevator, he couldn’t find the right replacement. As a whole. the team just couldn’t replicate Green’s consistent two-way production in his absence. 

Matisse Thybulle got it done defensively, but the Hawks didn’t respect him on the offensive end. They sagged off of him when he was on the perimeter, and that negatively impacted the spacing for the rest of the team. That doesn’t happen when Green is on the floor. Reversely, Furkan Korkmaz provided Philadelphia with the floor-spacing it needed on the offensive end, but he was consistently targeted defensively. Again, that doesn’t happen to Green. Neither Thybulle or Korkmaz appeared ready to become a full-time starter had the Sixers lost Green in free agency. 

Given all that he meant to the team on both ends, some, including Green, think that the Sixers would have bested the Hawks in the conference semifinals if he wasn’t hurt. “I believe that if I was healthy, things might have been different,” Green said. “We definitely have some unfinished business.” 

We’ll never know if that series against Atlanta would have turned out differently if Green had remained healthy, but the Sixers are assuredly better off moving forward with Green still on the roster than they would have been had he inked elsewhere. 



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