It’s been a great offseason for Sixers vet Danny Green, who signed a rich new contract and married his longtime girlfriend, Blair Bashen. The three-time NBA champ discusses his decision to return to Philly, the Sixers’ title hopes, the fate of Ben Simmons and much more.
Howard Beck: So as we sit here in late August discussing all this and training camps are about a month away, there's obviously like the one big—and this is the elephant in the room in this whole discussion of contention in the East and everything else—we don't know the future of Ben Simmons.
You decide to re-sign with this team that’s built around two stars. One of those stars, we don't really know what's going to happen, if he's going to be traded by opening night or maybe later than that, some point. How closely are you paying attention to it? I assume this is at least some subject of conversation as you and your teammates are texting each other in the summer?
Danny Green: I was just working out with one of our coaches here and we were just talking about what's going on, what they've heard. We don't hear from the higher-ups. We don't get that intel or they don't consult with us before they make moves here. We’re hearing who we might get, who we might lose. We're all very interested in paying very close attention to it.
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Ben, as rough of an end as he had—I mean, it was rough media-wise—I think he still played great defensively, rebounded the ball well and did his job. And I was not there to help. But as rough as it was for him, probably mentally, emotionally and for the city and for people who bashed him, he's still a very good player. And we need him. We need him to excel. I need him to excel. So that's going to be a big part of how I'm able to play within the system, how we operate within the system, because he produces a lot of transition, produces a lot of open threes. That's kind of what I do.
There’s also a great defender. So we need him and we're all trying to just get on board and get everything in the past, leave it in the past and move forward with the next season. But we don't know where that's at with the organization, where he's at with it.
But for the most part I'm going with the mindset that he's going to be with us and that we need him and you just try to get him on board. That's the mentality I have, and hopefully he has the same one.
HB: If he’s not there, what changes for you? I mean, everybody looks at it through their own prism of, O.K., my role on the team and who I play off of and who I've got a good vibe with, good chemistry with, whatever. If Ben Simmons is somewhere else on opening night, which you don't have to agree but in my mind, I think it's inevitable, I think it's almost a given because I just think it's going to be really tough to keep him after all that's happened, all that's been discussed, all that's been in the media.
So what changes for Danny Green to not have Ben Simmons as the guy orchestrating out there and pushing it on the break and everything, breaking down defense, getting you open threes?
DG: That’s going to be tough to say, man, because we don’t know what we’re going to get back for him. We may get a point guard, we may get wings. That may change a lot. I might be playing with a different type of point guard. I might be playing with different type of wings. I might be coming off the bench. I don't know who we’re going to get, so it could change a lot.
And also defensively, I probably become the primary defender. I’m not saying it’s an issue or problem for me. But we have one less wing of a defender [without] him. … You talk about our main defenders, that was a big part of that and big part of our defense. Obviously, Tobias [Harris] has kicked it up a notch and been amazing defensively for us, but Ben was DPOY for us this year. We thought he deservingly so should have been Defensive Player of the Year, no disrespect to Rudy Gobert. … We thought Ben was able to guard one through five and set the tone for us. But if he’s gone, that changes a lot for not just offensively, but defensively as well for me. Depends on what we get back in return.
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