Gerald Green will make his debut with the Los Angeles D-Fenders in tonight’s D-League game against the Erie BayHawks at 7 at Tullio Arena.
The 2007 NBA Slam Dunk Champion was waived by the Los Angeles Lakers in training camp this month, but joined the D-Fenders through the D-League’s allocation rule which allows D-League teams to acquire up to three players waived from their NBA affiliates.
I talked with Green, 25, after today’s shootaround about being with the D-League, playing for former NBA coach Eric Musselman and what the 6-8, 200-pound forward expects in today’s 7 p.m. game.
Why try the D-League? “Feel like it’s a good opportunity to be seen. My main goals is to go back to the league and I feel like this is the best opportunity for me to do that. For me, it’s not about money or a financial situation. It’s about being in the right situation and get a good opportunity to be seen by the NBA.”
(Green has played in the D-League before. The Boston Celtics sent him down to play for the now defunct Fayetteville Force in 2006. He averaged 12.6 points and shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range. The Celtics picked Green with the 18th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft. Green went from high school – Gulf Shores Academy in Houston, Texas – to the NBA. He was a 2005 McDonalds All-American.)
What do you feel like happening in camp with the Lakers? “The Lakers gave me a great opportunity. I’m thankful for what they gave me. Things just didn’t work out the way I wanted it to. I would still love to play for their organization. That’s one of the reasons I came to the D-Fenders. I don’t know what’s happening in the future, but they gave me an opportunity. It just didn’t go the way I wanted it to go.”
(Green played for four NBA teams (Boston, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas) with his last stint being with the Mavericks in 2008-09. He averaged 7.5 points in 181 NBA games.)
Is it beneficial to have a D-League coach that has been an NBA head coach? “It’s always beneficial when you get that type of coach in this type of league. It’s always beneficial for the rest of the players and organization. As a player, you still have to pay attention and learn. You just can’t say, ‘Oh I have this type of coach,’ and expect to win. No. You have to listen, learn and be willing to listen and be willing to learn. As a player, you should be able to develop right. Think it’s going to be good for me and this team to have a guy like him.”
What are you expecting tonight. You’ve played against some of the best players to ever play the game? “Just play hard. It’s a tough season. It’s a long season. Still early, but at the end of the day, you still got to go out there and do what you do and do your job and that is to go out there play hard and control the things you can control. I expect to go out there and play hard with a lot of energy. If I score, I score, but I expect to go out there and defend and rebound and just use my athleticism. Use the things that God has blessed me with.”