Jeff Green says he is going to a great situation with Clippers and Doc Rivers

Jeff Green says he is going to a great situation with Clippers and Doc Rivers
Newly acquired forward Jeff Green says of the Clippers: "This is definitely a team with all the right pieces and a team that is going in the right direction." (Brandon Dill / Associated Press)

Jeff Green was resting during a break in practice Thursday when he learned he was no longer a Memphis Grizzly. The veteran forward was on the move again, traded for the third time during his career in midseason.

At least there was something familiar about his destination: He would be going to play for Clippers Coach Doc Rivers.

Rivers was with the Boston Celtics when they drafted Green fifth overall out of Georgetown in 2007 before flipping him on draft night in the trade that brought them Ray Allen. Boston then reacquired Green in a midseason trade in February 2011.

"We needed to get a three and a four as far as a swing guy," Rivers said back then in a quote that holds every bit as true for his team in February 2016.


Green could help fill in for Blake Griffin until the power forward returns next month from a broken hand and a four-game suspension. He could also give the Clippers their first gifted scorer at small forward since Rivers arrived in the summer of 2013.

"I am going to a great situation," Green said Friday on the eve of his expected debut with the Clippers on Saturday night at Staples Center against the Golden State Warriors. "Having played two years with Doc and knowing what he expects from his players is big."

Green's former team would play his current one if the playoffs started Saturday, but their paths are quickly diverging. Memphis is expected to fade in the Western Conference standings after center Marc Gasol was recently lost for the season because of a broken foot. The Grizzlies traded guard Courtney Lee before trading Green for Lance Stephenson and a lottery-protected draft pick in moves widely equated to waving the white flag on the season.

Green, 29, is in the final year of a contract that pays him $9.4 million this season, but the Clippers will have an advantage over other suitors this summer because they hold Green's so-called Bird rights. That means they could exceed the salary cap to re-sign him at a salary that included more years and higher annual raises than other teams could provide.

Green already sounded as if he had contemplated staying with the Clippers beyond the final few months of this season.

"This is definitely a team with all the right pieces and a team that is going in the right direction," Green said. "The only thing I want to do is win and that's what it's all about right now."

Green's production had tailed off this season with the Grizzlies. He was averaging 12.2 points, his lowest scoring output since his rookie season, and making only 30.9% of his three-pointers.

But he could still score in bunches, averaging 26 points over one recent four-game stretch, all while coming off the bench. He has been more productive as a reserve this season, averaging 13.4 points in 22 games in that role.

"Jeff, with his size and athleticism, the way he slashes and can guard multiple positions," Clippers shooting guard Jamal Crawford said, "it definitely helps us."


Reserve guard Pablo Prigioni was back at the Clippers' practice facility and could play against the Warriors after being sidelined Thursday by a viral illness. … Backup guard Austin Rivers was shooting with his right hand as he continued his recovery from a broken left hand that is expected to keep him out for about another 10 days. … Forward Alex Stepheson watched the Clippers practice and is expected to be signed to a 10-day contract Saturday.



When: Saturday, 5:30 p.m.

Where: Staples Center.

On the air: TV: Channel 7; Radio: 980, 1330.

Records: Warriors 48-4 before Friday; Clippers 36-18.

Record vs. Warriors: 0-2.

Update: This represents the second half of what Clippers guard Jamal Crawford dubbed "probably the two toughest games out of the [All-Star] break in league history," with Golden State and San Antonio holding a combined record of 93-12 before play resumed Thursday. The Clippers aced their first test, beating the Spurs by 19 points, but they will probably need to play much more efficiently to beat the Warriors. The Clippers led the Warriors in the fourth quarter of each of the teams' first two meetings this season before faltering in the final minutes.

Follow Ben Bolch on Twitter: @latbbolch