Danny Green is a familiar face for the San Antonio Spurs who will be a free agent this summer. Last season, he earned around 15 million dollars playing for the 76ers, a number that no team will match for a 33-year-old bench shooter. Even the Sixers are unlikely to shell out that much for him, even if they want him back.
Green is now 34 years old as of about a month ago, but has aged well and adapted to a decreasing role. He can still provide value to any team looking for additional shooting and perimeter defense. Those attributes alone should be enticing to numerous potential suitors around the league.
Green spent eight seasons in the Silver and Black, won a ring with the team in 2014, and he could have had a Finals MVP award had they won it all in 2013. For being more or less of a 3-and-D roleplayer in the league, he has quite the resumé. While his physicality and production have deteriorated some with age, his shooting efficiency remains the same as it always has been throughout his career.
To casual fans of the NBA, he rode the curtails of Tim Duncan, Kawhi Leonard, and LeBron James to win. But any fan of the Spurs or Raptors knows that his unflashy play provides some degree of stability. A veteran presence is almost always welcome, particularly on competitive teams.
At this point, the only big-name free agent that the Spurs seem to be targeting is John Collins (if rumors are any indicator), but if that doesn’t work out, then they'll have a ton of money to spend. Personally, I’m a sap and love when players return to (and finish their careers with) the team they originally found glory with, but would Green be welcome or fit in?
As I mentioned, he can still be a productive three-and-D player coming off the bench. As a prototype for the modern wing, he could provide some mentorship to the Spurs' young wing players in Devin Vassell, Keldon Johnson, and even Lonnie Walker IV. It seems like he could be open to a reunion, if not downright enthusiastic.
While heartwarming, a reunion between Green and the San Antonio Spurs wouldn't work
I would be one of the first ones to welcome Green back with open arms, and I think Spurs fans ought to follow suit. The team does have a good reason not to bring him back, though, and it’s a glaring one.
Moving forward, Devin Vassell is simply a better option in the starting lineup. While Green is obviously the more proven player at this point, Vassell has already shown a tremendous amount of talent that warrants playing him much more. Even off the bench, a unit of Patty Mills, Lonnie Walker IV, and Keldon Johnson (assuming Collins signs with the Spurs) does not need a grizzled veteran to take touches away from the younger players.
This may be reason enough for the Spurs to avoid Green in free agency, even if his return would be a happy occurrence for everyone involved. He should be remembered as one of the Spurs' most important players in their 2013 and 2014 Finals runs, but he doesn't fit with this roster's timeline.
San Antonio has plenty of young options and adding someone coming into the back end of his career would do more bad than good. Green would perhaps be more productive as a second-unit wing compared to Vassell at this stage of his career. Ultimately, though, giving the Spurs' young players more opportunities to develop makes me far more excited than some 2014 nostalgia.