Plenty of Orlando Magic fans will rest easy Friday knowing one of their least-favorite players is no longer part of their team.
Jeff Green, whom Orlando inked to a lucrative one-year deal in 2016, has agreed to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports. Green will thus go from soaking up minutes on a lottery club to providing frontcourt depth for a perennial championship contender.
Magic fans never fell out of love with Green because they never loved him in the first place. Green earned a reputation as a combo forward for his ability to play and defend both positions, but it may have been more accurate to say he was ill suited for either. He also never quite lived up to the potential he showed as a former fifth-overall Draft pick.
But what bugged Magic fans about Green more than his career arc is the context in which their club added him. Green came aboard on July 7th, 2016, less than six months after Orlando traded away the much younger and more productive Tobias Harris. The Harris haul yielded Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova, who offered middling play as well as salary-cap relief via their expiring contracts.
Orlando would ultimately use that cap space to sign Jeff Green. And Green would go on to log 1534 sub-replacement-level minutes in Orlando pinstripes, shooting below 40 percent from the field and—in the eyes of many Magic fans—stalling the development of young Orlando forwards Aaron Gordon and Mario Hezonja.
Given that Green’s deal lasted just one season, there was no question of Orlando’s re-signing him. It is natural that he would move on to signing cheaply with contending teams. But it’s now official: Jeff Green no longer plays for the Magic. For many of their fans, that’s cause for celebration.