- Green Street - http://greenstreet.weei.com -

Doc Rivers hopes Jeff Green can be the new James Posey

Doc Rivers [1] told reporters in Denver that he envisioned newly acquired guard/forward Jeff Green [2] as being a player with the skill set to replicate the contributions made by James Posey [3] in the team’s 2007-08 NBA title run. The Celtics [4] coach suggested that the 24-year-old, whom Boston netted along with Nenad Krstic [5] in exchange for center Kendrick Perkins [6] and guard Nate Robinson [7], offered the ability to spread the floor with offensive weapons.

“We’ve been trying to get that lineup since Posey left. And I think people forget how many times we did that in the playoffs, which was every fourth quarter for the most part,” Rivers told reporters. “We haven’t been able to duplicate that.”

As for the decision to part with Perkins, who was also a part of that 2007-08 championship team, Rivers said that the performance of Shaquille O’Neal [8] would be critical to the way in which the deal is assessed. O’Neal has not played since Feb. 1, but Rivers said that the 38-year-old is expected to return in good health.

“We need to get Shaq healthy. Shaq will be healthy. But if Shaq plays great, then this deal was obviously really, really good for us,” Rivers said. “And that’s on Shaq. Getting Shaq in great shape, getting him ready, getting him healthy is really going to be important for us in the playoffs.”

Meanwhile, though much of the attention on the locker room dynamics of the deal has fallen on the departure of Perkins from Boston, Green’s exit from Oklahoma City was being treated with comparable gravitas. About 12 minutes into his discussion of the deal with reporters at a press conference, Thunder GM Jeff Presti choked up when he discussed Green’s departure.

For the complete press conference, in which Presti discusses both Green and Krstic as well as the roles the Thunder envision for Perkins and Robinson, watch the video below.