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Robb: What's The Holdup In The Jeff Green Trade?

BOSTON (CBS) -- Before the Celtics faced off with the Indiana Pacers on Friday night, Jeff Green was pulled off the floor by the team. Several reports surfaced that Danny Ainge would be shipping the 28-year-old small forward to the Memphis Grizzlies for a future first-round pick and Tayshaun Prince, but nothing was made official. However, with a potential deal close, Green remained inactive for the game.

A few hundred miles away in Memphis, things went a little differently for the other team reportedly involved in the trade. Prince suited up for the Grizzlies and played 25 minutes in a loss to the Pelicans in spite of the fact a deal appeared close.

Another twist came later Saturday, via a new report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. His sources indicated the Green trade could be expanded into a three-team deal involving Boston, Memphis and New Orleans, with the Celtics also receiving Austin Rivers from the Pelicans as part of the swap.

This wide array of developments created quite a bit of confusion among Celtics fans in the past 48 hours. Has Green actually been traded yet? If not, why are the Celtics not playing him? When could a trade actually happen? Let's try to make sense of the entire situation with a little Q-and-A on the latest surrounding the Green deal.

Q: Why didn't Jeff Green play this weekend if the trade wasn't done?
A: Sometimes, when NBA deals are close to happening, a team will elect to bench a player involved, to ensure he does not injury himself. That was the case Friday and Saturday night. Instead, Green flew back to Boston while waiting for a deal to become official.

Q: Why didn't the Grizzlies bench Tayshaun Prince if a deal is close?
A: To put it bluntly, Prince's health is not a factor in the deal. The Grizzlies are including him since his salary ($7.7 million) matches closely enough with Green's salary ($9.4 million) for the trade to be allowed under NBA rules. Prince is not a part of Boston's future plans beyond this season due to his age (34), so the Celtics won't care too much if he's not healthy before the trade. Due to that, there was no real risk for the Grizzlies to play him Friday night. Since Memphis is in a playoff race and want to win every game, Prince suited up Friday.

Q: How and why will New Orleans be involved in the reported 3-team deal with Boston and Memphis?
A: According to Wojnarowski, Memphis is looking to cut some salary by taking in Green so they will be looking to move an extra player out before Green arrives. That player is likely to be Quincy Pondexter, who could be sent to the Pelicans. Like Green, the Grizzlies held out Pondexter in Friday's game. In order to make the trade work, the Pelicans will have to send out some additional salary and that will reportedly be young guard Austin Rivers, who would get sent to Boston as part of the swap.

Q: Why would the Celtics want Austin Rivers?
A: They probably don't. He hasn't played well in three seasons and despite being 22-years-old, he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Boston taking him back would just be a way to get the trade completed. Chances are the Celtics may land another draft pick for taking him on, potentially after dealing him to the LA Clippers, but that would come in a separate deal.

Q: Will this trade get done over the weekend?
A: Not officially, no. NBA league offices must approve all trades for them to become official, and like most business, they are closed over the weekend. Due to that reality, all sides must wait. Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald reported Friday night that the Celtics would explore other deals over the weekend, just in case someone wants to trump Memphis' offer. However, it appears likely the originally reported deal will still occur in some form, unless the Celtics find a more enticing package.

Q: Any chance Jeff Green plays again for the Celtics before a trade?
A: Very likely not. If the Celtics are holding him out, he's likely being dealt one way or another come Monday. However, trades can always fall apart in the NBA. Never say never, but this one looks to be done.

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.



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