Forward Jeff Green officially joined the Washington Wizards on Tuesday and on Wednesday he chatted with the media about how the deal came together, playing at home, what he hopes to bring to the team, his relationship with point guard John Wall, and staying in contact with former Georgetown head coach John Thompson III.
On how the deal with Washington came together:
“Got a call and spoke with Scotty [former coach in Seattle and Oklahoma City] and we discussed some things. Felt that it was a perfect fit. With the talent that’s on this team, the opportunity that’s at hand. That it can be conquered in this Eastern Conference. Think a lot of these guys are hungry, too, to get to that point [Finals]. Being there last year, myself with Cleveland, I know it takes a lot. I know it takes a lot of pieces and I feel like this team has it and I want to get back to that point and when I got the call, I felt like it was the best opportunity for myself to get there.”
On playing at home:
“It’s amazing, it’s an overwhelming feeling. To have my family come support, not just for one or two games, throughout an NBA season. Now it’s 41. I think that will be great. All the memories I’ve had here with coming through Northwestern, growing up here, going to Georgetown. It’s a lot of great memories here so hopefully those memories can continue to be great by joining this organization and doing great things here. … Just being at home period is great. Being around family. I think that’s the biggest thing for me, most important thing. The opportunity to be around my nieces, allowing my daughters to be around my family a little bit more. I think it will be great. For me, it’s all about doing what I have to do for this organization on the basketball court, but off the court, it’s definitely family comes first.”
On how he can help the Wizards:
“Just be myself. Take my experience that I’ve been through in the last couple years and getting to the Finals. Being a part of that was beyond amazing so hopefully with that experience and team and what it took, I can bring that here and get everyone on the same page of knowing what it takes and the sacrifices that you have to do to get to that point. So, I think it will be great and it will be a great opportunity for all of us.”
On what he hopes to impart on current team:
“What it takes. Being all together, one as a unit. You can’t get there individually. I mean, you can. We did last year. LeBron carried us all the way there, but there’s only one LeBron. But to get there, you have to have team unity, you all have to be on the same page. You have to sacrifice a little bit to make sure you’re doing what it takes. To get the team there so I think that’s the biggest key. It’s not an individual thing, unless your LeBron, but it definitely takes a team effort and a bit of sacrifice out of your own game to make sure the team goes the extra mile to get there.”
On what the last season has taught him:
“Don’t take a lot of moments for granted. It’s rare that a lot of people get to that position where they’re playing for a championship, playing in the Finals. Lot of greats haven’t been there. Never to take certain moments for granted. Every step of that journey last year was amazing. I’ll never forget it. It was a big point in my career, getting to the Finals, the biggest. It’s something I’ll never forget. I just wanna get there again, feel those moments again, but with a different result this time.”
On his conversations with John Wall:
“I talked to John. It was a bit of what I just talked about. Knowing that he wants to get to the Finals. Just picking his brain. What does he think the team needs to get there. Me telling him the experience I had of getting to the Finals, what it takes. He’s ready, he’s primed. He’s getting ready. I think it will be a great year for him. …I’ve known John for years. Even though I wasn’t, never in a Wizards uniform, we always communicated. We always had great dialogue, great conversation back and forth about life, basketball. Good friends. We’ve always talked about playing together because we workout and play together sometimes in the summer. Now, it’s here. Now we have to be on the same page. Try to get to what we all want, a championship.”
On staying in touch with college coach John Thompson III:
“Of course, that’s my guy. He always do [impart wisdom]. I talked to him a couple days ago about life. We always had a father-son relationship. My dad was gracious enough once I went to Georgetown, he left me at the gym and said, ‘you listen to this guy’ and ever since then, I did. We always talk. I always ask him about things I should do and he gives me his opinion and I take it in and I make a decision there. We’ve always, always kept in great contact.”
On a veteran’s minimum contract, Green is a good addition beyond what he can do on the basketball court. Ian Mahinmi may have Finals experience, but Green will be a much truer veteran leader that this team has been missing since the days of Paul Pierce and Jared Dudley.