Danny Green is a much-needed veteran addition for the 76ers, for more than just his stellar locker-room presence.
“He knows how to play off of talent, you know, and he’s done a great job of that,” coach Doc Rivers said Tuesday after practice. “He’s been fortunate in his career when you think about it with all the great players he’s been able to play next to.”
The shooting guard has established himself as one of the league’s top three-and-D players while playing alongside the likes of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, Manu Ginobili, Kawhi Leonard, Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, LeBron James, and Anthony Davis over stops with four teams in 11 seasons.
“And that’s an art,” Rivers said. “It is. It’s an art form when you learn how to still play well off of great players. Danny has done a great job of that. That’s why we wanted him.”
The Sixers are looking for him to do the same playing alongside All-Stars Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and standout Tobias Harris.
Green and Seth Curry were acquired in trades to provide the sharpshooting needed to create spacing for Simmons and Embiid.
The Sixers acquired Curry from the Dallas Mavericks in exchange for Josh Richardson and Tyler Bey (36th overall) during the NBA draft on Nov. 18.
Philly officially acquired Green, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirier on Tuesday morning from the Oklahoma City Thunder in exchange for Al Horford, a protected 2025 first-round pick, Theo Maledon (the 34th pick in the draft) and the rights to Vasilije Micic.
The teams agreed on the deal the day of the draft. However, the Thunder needed to aggregate the necessary salary needed to make the deal, which couldn’t be done until Tuesday. Poirier, whom the Thunder acquired from Boston on Nov. 19, was added to help keep a traded player exception as part of the deal at $8.2 million.
The three newest Sixers were in Philly on Tuesday but did not practice. They were expected to practice on Wednesday.
“I know exactly how we want to utilize Danny,” Rivers said. “The other two will be more positional players, you know, effort players. They’re both skilled. They both can do things.”
Rivers was asked if we can assume that Green, Harris, Embiid, Curry, and Simmons will be his starting lineup.
“You can make that assumption, but it doesn’t mean it won’t change,” he said in a playful tone. “But it sounds like a good lineup. I may use that one.”
This move also enabled the Sixers to get out from underneath Horford’s massive contract. The 34-year-old had three seasons left on the four-year, $97 million guaranteed deal he signed in free agency last season. The power forward/center could have made up to $109 million with championship bonuses.
But the five-time All-Star wasn’t a great fit while playing alongside Simmons and Embiid. The belief was the Sixers would trade Horford this offseason if they were able to send his contract to another team in return for shooting.
Green, who is regarded as one of the league’s top three-point shooters, was traded twice this offseason. The Thunder acquired Green and the No. 28 pick in the draft from the Los Angeles Lakers in exchange for point guard Dennis Schroder on draft night.
Green averaged 8.0 points while shooting 36.7% from three-point range during the regular reason. He struggled in the postseason. The 33-year-old even received threats via social media after missing the potential series winner in Game 5 of the NBA Finals. The Lakers ended up defeating the Miami Heat in six games, marking Green’s second straight NBA title and third overall. He won the 2019 title as a member of the Toronto Raptors.
“It’s not bad having championship guys on your team. Let’s just put it like that,” Rivers said of having Green and Dwight Howard, also a member of last season’s Lakers squad.
Green shot 36.4% from three last postseason, but he’s shooting 40.0% in 688 career regular-season games.
In Ferguson, the Sixers will get a 6-6 swingman who averaged 4.8 points and 1.4 rebounds in 191 career games, with 124 starts in three seasons.
Poirier averaged 1.9 points and 2.0 rebounds in 22 appearances last season as a rookie with the Celtics. The 27-year-old center spent the previous seven seasons playing overseas.