According to Michael Scotto from HoopsHype, the Boston Celtics have expressed interest in acquiring Jeff Green and Jalen Smith in recent weeks, per league sources. Scotto also shared that he's hearing Boston has made "several calls doing due diligence" on a handful of other players.
The Celtics selected Green with the fifth pick in the 2007 Draft, but they had already agreed to trade him, Wally Szczerbiak, and Delonte West to the then Seattle Sonics in exchange for Ray Allen. The move served as a forerunner to Kevin Garnett coming to Boston to revive the franchise. Four years later, the Celtics acquired Green and Nenad Krstic in a deal that sent Kendrick Perkins and Nate Robinson to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
As has often been the case throughout his career, Green was inconsistent during his time in Boston. After taking his talents around the league, Green had a productive 2020-21 campaign with the Brooklyn Nets, including shooting a career-best 41.2 percent from beyond the arc on an average of 3.7 three-point attempts per game. This summer, he signed a two-year deal with the Denver Nuggets for a portion of their mid-level exception.
Now in his 14th season, the 35-year-old Green is averaging 10.1 points and 3.1 rebounds while starting in 24 of the 36 games he's played in for a Nuggets team that lost Michael Porter Jr. for the season after just nine games and has dealt with other injuries in their front-court. Denver is currently sixth in the West.
Taking a flyer on a big wing who fits in Boston's offensive system and who Ime Udoka's familiar with from their time together in Brooklyn is a logical move. However, this season, Green's three-point shooting has plummeted. He's converting just 31.8% of his 2.4 long-range attempts per game. His shooting from beyond the arc last year was an outlier. It's the only time he's made at least 40% of his three-point attempts.
If the Celtics ever make the change of inserting Grant Williams into the starting lineup for Al Horford, bringing Green off the bench as a big wing is more palatable, but they should be aiming higher. And if the starting five remains intact, Green eating into Williams's minutes would be a mistake. It's also worth noting that the second year of Green's contract is a $4.5 million player option, meaning he could end up being a rental.
The same is true for Jalen Smith, which is why teams around the league, including the Celtics, will be reluctant to acquire him. The former lottery pick is starting to flash his potential after being thrust into the rotation due to Deandre Ayton and JaVale McGee's absences. In 19 games, including four starts, the Maryland alum's averaging 7.5 points and 5.3 rebounds in 14.3 minutes per game.
The problem is that before the season, the Phoenix Suns declined the team rookie option they had on Smith, meaning neither them nor any team who acquires him can offer him more than $4.7 million. Otherwise, he's an unrestricted free agent. As a result, even though the Suns would likely prefer to trade Smith to bolster their roster ahead of the playoffs, their best option may be to keep him.
Scotto also adds that he's heard Boston has made Dennis Schroder and Aaron Nesmith available in trades. The former is likely to get dealt. His ability to get to the rim and generate points in the paint is a welcome addition to the Celtics' offense. But between being turnover-prone, a below-average three-point shooter, and not providing much as a facilitator, he doesn't address the team's most pressing needs. Even if he did, he came to Boston on a one-year, $5.9 million contract that his next deal will exceed easily. Due to their financial constraints and not having his Bird rights, the Celtics are limited in how much they can offer him. The expectation has always been that this is a one-year arrangement, and it likely won't last beyond the trade deadline.
As for Nesmith, last season's 14th-overall pick has struggled for playing time. He plays hard and provides an infusion of energy when he gets into games, but in limited minutes and touches, and while often being confined to the corners, he's yet to find his rhythm as a shooter. Nesmith is converting just 23.4 percent of the 2.3 threes he's averaging during 10.7 minutes in the 28 games he's played this season. There's a good shooter in there, but this isn't the way to tap into that ability, and if how he gets utilized, reduced to a stationary shooter who's not working off screens, and the opportunities he's getting won't change, then Boston's better off trading him.