Gerald Green Q&A after signing

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Posted: July 8, 2008

Gerald Green didn’t come home when he signed with the Dallas Mavericks, but it’s pretty darn close. The Houston native has a number of relatives in the Metroplex, including a sister, so Green won’t be missing too many family barbeques.

But that’s not the reason the 22-year-old inked a one-year with the Mavs. Getting his career back on the right track is the only priority for the former first rounder who’s on his fourth team in less than one calendar year.

“This has made me a lot more hungry than I’ve been,” Green said after his first summer league practice. “It’s humbled me in a way and actually has put me in a position to restart, refresh my career and I think if I keep working hard and listen to the coaches here and listen to my teammates, I think I should be OK.”

Green was expected to be much more than OK when Boston used the 18th pick in the 2005 NBA Draft on a 6-foot-8 athletic freak out of Gulf Shores Academy in Houston. Just a year removed from high school, Green had become a valuable rotation player for the Celtics averaging 10.4 points per game.

He also won the Slam Dunk title during the 2007 All-Star Weekend. He was soaring in more ways than one. Then the breaks hit. Traded to Minnesota last summer as part of the Kevin Garnett blockbuster, Green took a backseat on a young Timberwolves team that seemingly needed players like Green.

He lasted only 29 games in Minnesota before being shipped to Houston. A trade to his hometown wasn’t the cure one might think. The Rockets, in desperate need for bigger bodies, cut Green during their playoff push.

Whispers of immaturity dogged Green. Wondering where his career was going, he began to sulk. He needed another chance. He was pretty sure he would get one, but also knew nothing was guaranteed.

“Yes, I did get down on myself and that’s what I shouldn’t have done,” Green said. “When I fall down I have to quickly get back up. The quicker I get up the quicker things can get better. One thing I’ve always known is that to have success there’s going to be failure.

“This is a humbling and learning experience for me. I’m just blessed to be in this situation, back in the league, and with a team like the Dallas Mavericks. I couldn’t be happier.”

The Mavs are hoping Green figures it out and takes control of his NBA life. Investing a one-year deal for the league minimum isn’t much of a risk, especially considering the potential upside of a long and agile swingman with 3-point range.

“He’s come in here with a great attitude,” coach Rick Carlisle said. “He wants to be a player in this league, he wants to be a player long-term. He knows that there’s things he’s going to have to do to carve himself a long-term career. I like the fact that he’s willing to sacrifice some short-term money to get in a situation where people are going to commit to his development and we are.” There have been questions about your maturity.

Gerald Green: I honestly think that I didn’t seize my opportunity. For example, Brandon Bass. He seized his opportunity last year and did an excellent job. Going back to my rookie year, another player is Monta Ellis. That’s what I want to be able to do, just seize my opportunity and go out and do the best I can. Not necessarily go have a blow out game, but just do little by little so that the coach has faith in me. If it doesn’t start out like that at the beginning of the season, then I’m not going to get discouraged. I did get discouraged at other teams because I didn’t get to play. I’m not going to get discouraged on this team. If I don’t get the opportunity to play then it’s going to motivate me to keep working harder, and that’s all I can do.

MC: Is the clock ticking on Gerald Green?

GG: Time waits for no man, so I don’t know how much time I have. I’ve learned a lot and matured. I am so ready and dedicated to the Mavericks right now it’s unbelievable.

MC: Did you have any doubts that you would get another chance?

GG: No, I was confident that I would get another chance. I’m just taking it step-by-step and day-by-day. I’m just trying to get better and better and that’s all I can do.

MC: If Mario Elie had anything with him coming to Dallas

GG: Mario and I do have a good relationship. I don’t know if it had anything to do with me coming to Dallas. I love the style of play, I love Jason Kidd, I have family in Dallas, and Mario Elie is a great coach. Everything here makes it such a great situation, and I just couldn’t pass it up.

MC: What do you bring to the table?

GG: A lot of my athleticism, ability to shoot the ball, energy, and just hustle, all-out hustle. I’m not here to try to do anything I’m not supposed to do. I’m here to learn and listen, listen to guys like Josh Howard, Dirk Nowitzki, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, Coach Carlisle, all the assistant coaches. Right now I’m just trying to learn and get better as I go.

MC: What did Carlisle say to you when you signed?

GG: He said they know that this is going to be a process. He said he feels like he brings out the potential I should have. If I listen and pay attention to what he says and put in the effort and dedication on the court, I think I should be fine.

MC: You took less money to come here.

GG: I think it’s just the best situation for me. Sometimes it’s not all about money, sometimes it’s about the right situation, the right fit for you. That’s what I felt like I wanted to do.

MC: Why did it fit here?

GG: Obviously, Jason Kidd is the best point guard I’ve played with, hands down. Never played with a point guard of his caliber. Just having that is great. And having guys like Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard to help develop me and I’m going to listen to everything they have to say. I’m just so willing to learn and listen it’s crazy. I’m just so hungry and ready to work.

MC: Talk about that strong season you had in Boston.

GG: I feel like I just didn’t take advantage of my opportunities. I blame myself, I don’t blame nobody else. I don’t want to blame no other teams that I’ve been with. I blame myself, that’s where I start off. I don’t want to look at nobody else. I look in the mirror and look at myself and I’ve changed and now I’m a new guy ready to work and ready to get at it.

MC: Why are you playing in summer league?

GG: The advantage is when training camp comes I’ll know all the plays, I’ll know all the coaching staff and have a good relationship with the coaches, staff and players. Going to Minnesota, I knew five of the players, but I didn’t really know the whole team, didn’t really know the coaches, so that’s what I want to do. I’m coming here early to start working out here and start getting a good relationship with the coaches and getting to know the players and they can get to know me as a person, on and off the court. I’m just trying to get an early start.