Jazz green with envy

Published July 2, 2005 1:41 am
Replacement guard: Philadelphia's Willie Green is high on Utah's list
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2005, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Green's Numbers

Year team ppg apg spg

2003-04 Philadelphia 6.9 1.0 .49

2004-05 Philadelphia 7.7 1.8 .60

Career 7.3 1.4 .55

After Jazz vice president of basketball operations Kevin O'Connor discovered Friday that Raja Bell was leaving for Phoenix, one of his first phone calls went to Noah Croom, agent for Philadelphia's Willie Green.

NBA teams now can negotiate with free agents.

Green had a limited role last season for the 76ers. He might be looking for more of an opportunity to play, and the Jazz have always liked his abilities.

Utah worked out Green prior to the 2003 draft, but Seattle took him with the 41st pick in the second round and traded him to Philadelphia.

Because Green is a restricted free agent, the 76ers can keep him by matching any offer, and general manager Billy King has said that's what he plans to do.

Philadelphia must re-sign center Samuel Dalembert and swingman Kyle Korver, however, so there's a chance the Sixers might be unwilling or unable to match an offer to Green. A sign-and-trade is another possibility.

Position-wise, Green could be a wonderful fit for the Jazz.

He plays mostly shooting guard and, as such, would help replace Bell. But he can play some point guard, where the Jazz want a veteran to team with first-round draft choice Deron Williams and their own restricted free agent, Keith McLeod.

"Kevin indicated to me that he believes Willie could come to the Jazz and make an important contribution," Croom said.

Green started 21 games last season. On the flip side, he did not play in 20 games.

Significantly, Green averaged 18 points in the seven games that Philadelphia All-Star Allen Iverson missed with injuries.

Agent Mark Bartelstein also has clients who could interest the Jazz. The group includes Bobby Simmons, Dan Dickau, Mikki Moore, Daniel Santiago and Steven Hunter.

Like Croom, Bartelstein talked to O'Connor on Friday.

Simmons will probably be Bartelstein's most sought-after client, and he will likely command more money than the Jazz have to offer.

Asked if Utah could get Simmons for the $5 million mid-level exception, Bartelstein said, "I think he's going to do much better than that. But it's early."

Bell's decision to leave the Jazz could delay their decision on another front - what happens to high-schooler C.J. Miles?

Utah used the 34th pick in Tuesday night's draft on Miles, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard who has not hired an agent.

As a result, Miles could put off his NBA career and attend the University of Texas, although he's apparently leaning toward signing with the Jazz.

"We're working on that, although [Bell's departure] threw a little kink into the armor," O'Connor said. "Now, our mid-level exception becomes a little more important."

Still, O'Connor "expects" a deal between the Jazz and Miles to be finalized "in a couple of days." The key, apparently, is how much guaranteed money Utah can afford to include in Miles' contract.



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