Danny Green clears waivers, signs with Cavaliers: 'He'll fit right in'

Danny Green clears waivers, signs with Cavaliers: 'He'll fit right in'

After clearing waivers following his post-trade buyout from the Houston Rockets, Danny Green has officially signed with the Cleveland Cavaliers for the remainder of the 2022-23 season, team president Koby Altman announced Wednesday morning. 

“Hypothetically, it could mean a lot. It's just there for support. And having people that you can lean on and depend on as a young player who's going to be in situations that maybe they've never been in before,” Cavs head coach J.B. Bickerstaff said without acknowledging Green by name on Monday due to NBA tampering rules. 

“Someone who is about the team and who just wants to fit in and be a part of the group. You can use that experience and you listen to those guys. Guys who have been to the mountaintop and won championships and played in those type of games. But then, you obviously have the ability to put that guy on the floor, who's still capable of making shots and guarding his position, which, we know in the playoffs is a premium.”

Green spent a tireless amount of time working his way back from an ACL injury he suffered 10 months ago in the playoffs while playing with the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers sent Green to the Memphis Grizzlies in a draft-night trade for De’Anthony Melton last summer, and the veteran sharpshooter didn’t suit up for the Grizzlies until Feb. 1. Eight days later, Green found himself on the move again.

At the NBA trade deadline, Memphis dealt the 35-year-old to the Rockets as a part of a three-team agreement with the Los Angeles Clippers. Luke Kennard landed with the Grizzlies and Eric Gordon ended up with the Clippers, while Green and John Wall went to Houston before being let go by the franchise.

Though Green has played a total of three games with Memphis in limited action, Cavs All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell knows what he’s about and how he can give Cleveland a boost.

“The easy answer would be his shooting. I mean, he's a three-time champion,” Mitchell said of Green after Cleveland’s win on Monday over the San Antonio Spurs. “He is a guy I grew up watching. I remember watching him dancing on the bench with Bron and whatnot. I remember him, watching him against the (Miami) Heat, breaking Ray Allen's three-point record (for most threes in a single series). I hated him at the time. But I've known Danny and his family since I was probably 11 years old, 12 years old. We've played against AAU against his brother (Devonte). I know his dad (Danny Green Sr.). So it's kind of crazy how life works. A lot of things come full circle, especially for me this year. 

“I think the first thing you think of is his way to space to floor, but also his veteran presence around the locker room, calming presence, great personality. But when he gets in, he is a sniper, especially in big-time situations. He's done it year in and year out. So there's different things you can point to but the first thing I would say is the shooting.”

Green is just a hair below 40% as a career three-point marksman, having taken nearly five attempts per contest over his 13-year NBA stay. Altman bringing in a wing with size who can drill from distance and provide championship experience should prove to be wise. As for Green’s minutes and role — especially for a red-hot Cavs team scaling the Eastern Conference standings — that would yet to be determined.

“It would be an early conversation about the role and people understand when they are coming here what to expect,” Bickerstaff said Monday if Cleveland was to add another player to its locker room. “I think what we are going through now, and in that conversation would be, ‘We’re trending in a really good direction and we have to figure the balance between continuing with the group that has started to head that way,’ and how you mix in a piece that could possibly help you down the road. We will be very ginger with that because we do not want to disrupt the rhythm of what these guys are finding right now.”

If anybody knows anything about his professionalism, it’s Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, who was just in town facing Green’s new team. The pair won a ring together in the 2014 NBA Finals, which would be the first of three title teams (Toronto Raptors in 2019 and Los Angeles Lakers in 2020) Green would be a part of.

“A guy that is a very confident shooter, an underrated defender and a great teammate. He’s fun to be around. He loves playing the game and he understands his role completely. He’ll fit right in,” Popovich said.

“Just logically, he’s gonna say things. He’ll be great for J.B. to have another person there who’s been through all sorts of different situations. He’ll talk to somebody on the bus or on the plane. It’s just like osmosis. And so, he’ll provide a lot of information that all the coaches won’t have time for, or they’ll be happy that they’ll have an additional ‘coach’ that knows what’s going on. It’s all good, for sure.”

Spotted roaming the hallways at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Monday before the deal was made official, Green appears eager to join his new group.

This will be Green’s second stint in Cleveland — 14 years after the Cavs originally drafted him with the 46th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft.

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