Danny Green opted to leave the Toronto Raptors in free agency, joining the Los Angeles Lakers. Were the Raptors right to let him walk?
Toronto Raptors fan-favorite Danny Green has agreed to a two-year, $30million deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers. Green broke the news first via his Inside the Green Room Twitter account. He reiterated his desire to ‘run it back’ if Kawhi chose to stay. He also expressed disappointment that the team and city would not get that opportunity.
As if losing Kawhi Leonard was not enough, some Raptors fans have found themselves questioning how Masai Ujiri managed to lose Danny Green too. The question is: was this the right move for the Toronto Raptors? Was it the right move for Danny Green?
Good for Danny
This was absolutely the right move for Danny Green. There was no team in the NBA that would offer him a similar average annual value. In fact, it is likely that this two-year deal from the Lakers surpasses any three-year offer he would have received from the Dallas Mavericks or the Toronto Raptors.
Thanks in part to the salary cap space Kawhi choosing the Los Angeles Clippers left the Los Angeles Lakers with, Green signed for a surprisingly large AAV. He signed for fewer years than he was hoping for. However, as intimated above, it is possible that the total money on the two-year offer exceeded or matched what he would have received on a three-year pact with another team.
Going to Lakers allows Danny to remain a starter and an integral part of a Lakers team with championship aspirations. He will play starters minutes and help provide the outside shooting any team with LeBron James so desperately needs. Green is nearing the twilight of his career and did very well to land the deal that he did.
Good for Raptors
As downtrodden as Toronto Raptors fan may feel by losing not only the most talented player in Raptors history in Kawhi but one of the all-time fan favorites in Danny Green, his departure is good for the Raptors. He was a key contributor on a championship team but would be returning to a much different role sans Kawhi.
Without the reigning NBA Finals MVP claiming 30-plus minutes per game, it is likely the Raptors moved towards a youth movement at the two and the three. This is with or without Danny Green on the roster. OG Anunoby, Norman Powell, and the newly acquired Stanley Johnson should all log heavy minutes on the wing.
Salary cap issues also made it wise for the Toronto Raptors to decline to offer anything close to what he got from the Los Angeles Lakers. The $15 million dollar price tag simply did not make sense for a team that just lost Kawhi Leonard, and still found themselves over the cap. The Raptors will no doubt still be a playoff team, but absent a major move, will not be in a position to defend their championship.
It should also be noted that although his departure is good for the Raptors, they likely did not have much of a realistic shot of retaining him. Danny Green was waiting for Kawhi’s decision because he wanted a chance to defend the title. A Raptors team without Kawhi has a very slim chance of doing that.
Without Kawhi, Danny Green’s priority became the overall value of his contract. Unless the Raptors were willing to match or come close to the AAV he received from the Lakers, they probably did not have much of a chance of keeping him even if they did decide that they wanted to bring him back.
Once we can all deal with the emotions resulting from losing a fan favorite, and one of the Raptors on and off the court leaders, it is readily apparent that the mutual parting of ways was best for all parties involved. The Raptors could not offer him any of his three priorities in money, role, or the chance to contend for a title.
It stings just a little more knowing that Danny Green was ready and willing to come back if Kawhi Leonard returned. But alas, it was not to be. Danny Green will forever be remembered and treasured by the Raptors fan base and is expected to receive a very warm welcome when he makes his return to Toronto for the ring ceremony.