Nets’ Jeff Green to be ‘primary’ target for Celtics in NBA free agency: report

Jeff Green one-handed dunk cropped

Jeff Green one-handed dunk cropped

The Nets knew re-signing Jeff Green would be a challenge entering NBA free agency, which tips off Monday at 6 p.m., after the veteran posted a strong 2020-21 season in Brooklyn. As he surveys his options, the Celtics are making him a primary target, according to a report Sunday by Boston Globe beat writer Adam Himmelsbach.

Per Himmelsbach, «the Celtics prefer to pursue a player with extensive experience and are focused on adding size and shooting.» Green, who turns 35 on Aug. 28, fits the description as a 6-foot-8 forward who can play center in small-ball lineups and knock down outside shots.

He drilled a single-season career-high 41.2% of his long-range attempts. In Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Milwaukee Bucks, a 114-108 win, Green dropped 27 points off the bench, including a 7-for-8 mark on triples.

For the regular season, Green averaged 11.0 points on 49.2% shooting while adding 3.9 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 27.0 minutes over 68 games — including 38 as a starter. Previously, Green spent a few years in Boston as a member of the Celtics during the 2011-15 seasons.

The Celtics also have a familiar face in former Nets assistant Ime Udoka, whom Boston hired in late June. Former head coach Brad Stevens (2013-21) transitioned to president of basketball operations June 2.

Green could still consider a return to the Nets. However, as Himmelsbach noted, the financial aspect presents a hurdle — the Nets’ extension of Big 3 members Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden is a top priority for general manager Sean Marks.