When the Raptors and Spurs made their blockbuster trade last July, discussion and analysis of that deal focused on the big pieces: Kawhi Leonard and DeMar DeRozan. However, Danny Green, who was sent from San Antonio to Toronto in the swap, has proven this season that he wasn’t just included in that trade as a throw-in.
In his first 38 games with the Raptors, Green has averaged 9.5 PPG on .438/.408/.933 shooting and has been a key part of many of the club’s most productive lineups. For the season, Green has a total plus-minus of +374, which leads the NBA by a huge margin — teammate Kyle Lowry is second at +283.
In advance of his first game in San Antonio as a Raptor on Thursday night, Green spoke to Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca about how he found out about being traded, his experiences playing with Kawhi, and his 2019 free agent decision, among other topics. Here are a few of the highlights from that discussion:
On his time with the Spurs:
“It was the organization that groomed me. It’s kind of where I grew up in this league, became professional and learned how to be one… spending so many years with Timmy, Tony, Manu and Pop, of course, I learned how to win, how to be successful and played in some very fun games, battles, big stages, so it was a blessing all around. It was a great part of my career, great stage and it helped me get to where I am today and hopefully I can carry that on to wherever it is I’m at.”
On how he felt about being traded to the Raptors:
“I’m a positive person. I look at things in a positive light, that’s human nature, or my nature anyway. I already knew how [the Raptors] played… the more I watched and the more I studied I thought: ‘You know what? This could be a really good fit.’ And the fact I was going with [Leonard] helped even more.”
On his 2019 free agency:
“Obviously we don’t know what’s going to happen after this year. I would love to still be here [with the Raptors], obviously, but we don’t know. We don’t know where [Leonard’s] going to be, we don’t know a lot of things [that] are going to happen. In terms of decision making, [Leonard’s future] affects everybody.
“… If [Leonard] stays, they might want to bring everybody back; if he leaves, they might want to change, who knows? We’re both grown, we can make our own decisions for our own families. We might sit down and talk about it to see what page he’s on and how he feels about something and how I feel, but at this point we’re not thinking about that or talking about it. We’re trying to play good basketball… and get everybody healthy and winning games. Hopefully at the end of the year we can celebrate some things, outside of free agency.”