Things were going oh so well for Gerald Green of the Phoenix Suns, and then things changed dramatically.
The swingman had appeared in 129 consecutive game since joining Phoenix and started 48 of 82 games last season, putting up career-best numbers and having the best spell of his career to date.
But that was last season, and ever since the athletic guard received the very first Did Not Play - Coach's Decision of his Suns career, things have been going downhill for the 29-year old who now fears for his future in Arizona.
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Free Agency Looming
According to Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic, with free agency just around the corner, Green doesn't know if the Suns will want him to come back.
"I want to be here but I just don't know if they want me here," Green said. "Because if you want somebody, you show them. I didn't think I was playing that bad and now we're here."
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Poor Shooting and Defense
Trade rumors surfaced earlier in the season as a result of the DNP but Suns head coach Jeff Hornacek came out and revealed the real reason for the move, citing Green's poor defensive skills and his dip in shooting percentage.
"He never really seemed to get it going and then it comes to the point where, if you’re not scoring and if your defense isn’t picking up, it’s hard to stay in the game,” Hornacek said.
“The next guy is going, ‘I needed help here and the guy wasn’t here.’ We’re trying to develop something for the future, not just being out here for everybody to play in the game. We want to get to a top-notch winning level and you’ve got to do it on both sides," the coach added.
Green has had one of the most interesting careers of any player currently in the NBA, that includes Hassan Whiteside. Green was drafted straight out of high school by the Boston Celtics with the 18th overall pick in the 2005 draft.
Green struggled at the Celtics, where he was stuck behind star small forward Paul Pierce, and found himself sent to the D-League in an attempt to get some playing time. Green would play in 81 games in his sophomore season in the NBA, improving markedly to 22 minutes per contest and 10 points per game.
Then Green was traded to the Minnesota Timberwolves as part of the deal that saw Boston acquire Kevin Garnett. Green did manage to win the dunk contest in 2007 but that was one of his biggest highlights as he found himself bounce around to the Rockets and Mavericks before eventually moving abroad and suffering the indignity of being cut by teams in Russia and China.
The Lakers offered him a way back into the NBA where he played primarily in the D-League, winning MVP of the All-Star Game and earning a chance with the New Jersey Nets and then Indiana Pacers before finally making it stick in Phoenix.
You can understand after all that moving around why Green would be desperate to stay with the Suns. After a decade of being on the edge, Gerald Green finally has a place to call home. But he could be kicked out sooner than he'd like.