Green with envy: How the Cavs let Danny Green slip away

Philadelphia 76ers wing Danny Green shoots the ball. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers wing Danny Green shoots the ball. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Three is the magic number…unless you’re the Cleveland Cavaliers. The NBA’s love affair with the three-pointer has never been more apparent than in 2020-21 when teams are attempting just under 34 three-pointers per game, the most in the history of the league. The Cavs haven’t got the memo on the league’s three ball fascination.

Cleveland ranks dead last in both three-pointers made (9.7) and attempted (28.6) per game. Coming just shy from completing the trifecta, the Cavs are the league’s second-worst team in three-point percentage (33.8). But that dubious statistical standing is within reach – they are only one percentage point higher than the league-worst Houston Rockets.

Now, Cleveland not having had Kevin Love (right calf injury complications) for most of the season hasn’t helped, but thankfully, he has since been back recently.

Nonetheless, a quick and efficient fix to their three-point woes would be by having a player such as the Philadelphia 76ers’ Danny Green on the roster.

Now in his 12th season, Green averages two made three-pointers per game over the course of his career while shooting 40.2 percent from behind the arc. Fittingly, Green started doing damage from deep in a Cavalier uniform. The North Carolina product was drafted by Cleveland in the second round of the 2009 draft and spent a single season by the lake.

Had the Cavaliers’ front office played things differently, he could’ve still been splashing threes in Cleveland today, or at least for longer than one season.

Green touched on that brief Cavs stint on a podcast appearance last month, but given his success through the years and now with Cleveland’s perimeter shooting woes, his comments still were noteworthy.

Appearing on an episode of the Road Trippin’ podcast last month, Green discussed his first year with the Cleveland Cavaliers and ultimate release. The podcast, which is a part of Uninterrupted’s network, is hosted by former Cavs champions Channing Frye and Richard Jefferson, along with Allie Clifton, previously a Cavaliers Sideline Reporter.

As Green tells it, after bouncing back and forth from the D-League (now G-League) to the active roster, the team decided to go in a different direction following the season.

"“They had cut me, I think it was for Manny Harris. The Decision happens and then LeBron left. A lot of things changed (with the team) when The Decision happened. I was one of those changes.”"

Green was accurate in saying that Manny Harris (an undrafted free agent) made the 2010-11 roster over Green as a backup wing. Looking back, that was a cringe-worthy decision by Cleveland management.

Harris played only one full season with the Cavs and parts of a second season, averaging just over six points per night. He had a brief NBA career (13 games) following his season and change with the Cavaliers.

There is certainly no guarantee that Green would’ve stuck around Cleveland long-term had the team decided to stick with their draft pick rather than keep Harris on the roster. But if they did, the results likely would’ve been much more to their liking.

After a somewhat slow start to his second NBA season (with the San Antonio Spurs), Green shot better than 40 percent from three for four straight years and became one of the league’s premier “3 & D” players. Over the course of his career, Green’s won three NBA championships.

And in a full-circle moment, he was a teammate of The Decision’s LeBron James on the 2020 Los Angeles Lakers title-winning team.

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Holding onto Green and another now-Sixers sharpshooter, Seth Curry, would’ve allowed these current Cleveland Cavaliers to flirt with the NBA’s budding three-point romance.