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How Jeff Green became the Nets’ big bargain

NBA: Brooklyn Nets at New York Knicks Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jeff Green thinks he deserved more money this off-season and one-third of the way into the season, who are we to disagree?

In 25 games, 11 starts, Uncle Jeff is averaging 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds on a 51/48/82 shooting line. In this NBA, that’s not vets minimum money. That’s MLE money or more. As Mike Mazzeo says, the 34-year-old stretch-5 (is that a position nowadays), was a big, can you say huge, bargain. And they had competition. Mazzeo writes...

The Brooklyn Nets, Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and Dallas Mavericks all reached out, and there was significant interest in Green’s services, league sources said.

As one source put it, “For the minimum, any team would’ve signed him.”

But the Nets had two things the other teams didn’t: Kevin Durant (duh!) and Mike D’Antoni (!!) The Nets offensive coordinator knew what Green could bring, 10 teams or not, heart condition in 2011-12 or not. D’Antoni used Green in the “bubble” and he averaged 12.2 points and 2.9 rebounds in 18 games.

So not only did Green know KD. He knew James Harden as well as when it came time to welcome Harden, he was there.

Now, Green is part of the Nets —and the NBA’s— most efficient starting lineup. As Mazzeo notes, when he was signed, it seemed like a shoulder shrug. After all, the Clippers had just signed Serge Ibaka, their preferred candidate, for two years and $19 million. Green cost Brooklyn $2.6 million. Ibaka is certainly having a good year, at 11.8 and 6.8 with a shooting line of 51/39/81.

But no one is complaining. Well, maybe Green.

“I’m thankful to be playing, but at the end of the day it is a little confusing why it is a minimum (deal) with the production I’ve given the last couple years and proving that I could still play at a high level. But it is what it is,” he told the Post podcast, “Fullcourt on Flatbush” last week.

The Nets, for their part, hope it is what is as well.