Green returns to team on a one-year deal
WALTHAM - Though he wasn’t visible at the Celtics’ first practice yesterday, Jeff Green made an impact. The restricted free agent forward signed a one-year deal, though he did not sign the qualifying offer of $6 million, according to a team source.
Green, 25, was eligible to earn the maximum of $13.6 million, though the exact contract figure was not available last night.
Green, who arrived in Boston as part of the trade that sent Kendrick Perkins to Oklahoma City, had hoped to sign a long-term deal with the Celtics.
The 6-foot-9-inch forward struggled coming off the bench last season. He averaged 23.5 minutes, 9.8 points, and 3.3 rebounds in 26 games with the Celtics.
“I think Jeff feels like he has unfinished business in Boston,’’ Green’s agent, David Falk, said earlier this week. “I’m not sure the people in Boston have seen the real Jeff Green.’’
Falk had said he wanted Green in a Celtics uniform for the first practice, but the sides didn’t reach agreement in time.
As Marquis Daniels talked to the media after practice, coach Doc Rivers yelled out, “Risen from the dead.’’
It seemed that Daniels would never get to this point after a potentially career-ending spinal injury in February. He said he was skeptical until this summer, when he got hit in a pickup game and was cut over his left eye. That let him know that his neck would be OK.
“I didn’t think Marquis would ever play basketball again,’’ Rivers said. “As a matter of fact, I told him he shouldn’t before surgery. I was very honest with him, and then he had surgery and got clearance and he’s probably healthier now than he was before he got hurt.’’
When team president Danny Ainge first told Rivers he planned to sign Daniels, Rivers’s response was, “No, no, no.’’ But when the coach talked to the doctors, Rivers changed his mind.
“It was always in the back of my mind [to return to Boston],’’ said Daniels, whom the Celtics traded to Sacramento in February. “Unfortunately the last two years I was here I had some bad injuries, but hopefully the third time’s the charm for me.
“Just being able to come back, it’s meant everything to me.’’
Other Celtics signings yesterday were big men Chris Wilcox and Greg Stiemsma, and both practiced along with Daniels, Paul Pierce, Ray Allen, Kevin Garnett, Rajon Rondo, Jermaine O’Neal, and Avery Bradley. Rivers said he was expecting at least 10 players for today’s practice and perhaps as many as 13 or 14, including Keyon Dooling, who was officially acquired from the Bucks. Wilcox averaged 7.4 points and 4.8 rebounds last season with Detroit. “Wilcox is a guy we targeted because he’s durable, his length,’’ said Rivers. “He’s not a center but he can play at that. He’s athletic. That was one of the things we targeted. We needed more athleticism on our team.’’ Stiemsma has played two seasons in the NBDL . . . Rivers said practice started late as players were finishing up physicals. They did three-on-three drills mostly. “Whatever shape they are in, they’re not in basketball shape yet, I can tell you that,’’ Rivers said. “We didn’t do a lot, but they were winded. That’s expected. Usually they’re in here a month early, they’re playing pickup games. Now you’re going 0 to 60, and that’s tough.’’ . . . Pierce, who was heavily involved in the collective bargaining negotiations, expressed disappointment in the eventual agreement. “Both sides weren’t going to be completely happy with the deal, but at the end of the day it really wasn’t about that,’’ Pierce said. “I think for the most part guys really wanted to get on the court. They understand that there was going to be change on both sides with the collective bargaining agreement. Until both sides accepted that, we weren’t going to step on the court. By the time we did, now it’s time to play. It is what it is.’’