In one of their more surprising moves this offseason, the Orlando Magic claimed veteran guard Willie Green off waivers from the Los Angeles Clippers. Green, who admitted he was “very surprised” when the team did claim him, has played for four teams over his 11-year career — the Philadelphia 76ers, New Orleans Hornets, Atlanta Hawks and the Clippers. Coming to Orlando, the veteran shooting guard won’t have a huge role on the court, but his role off the court could be instrumental for the young Magic team.
After cutting ties with veterans Arron Afflalo and Jameer Nelson, it made sense for the team to find someone else to be that veteran voice in the locker room. The team still had Ronnie Price, but soon after acquiring Green, Price’s time with the Magic was over.
“I take it very seriously. You know, I think all of the guys that are blessed enough to play 10 plus years in this league, it took other veteran guys wrapping their arms around them and kind of showing them the ropes for them to be successful. As far as the young guys here, they’re already hard workers. I mean we know that from playing them and the basis there is just about continuing to surround young guys with good people, good players and guys can have the same goals.”
Having a guy like Green who’s always ready to play no matter what and willing to lead even when not playing is huge for any young team, and seeing how he’s willing to buy into the role is huge for the team as well.
Green also said that he’s ready to show that “the work ethic needs to be there everyday.” He also talked about just bringing general leadership to the team, and “reinforcing what Jacque (Vaughn) and the coaching staff and upper management is already saying.”
While the 11-year vet admitted to being very surprised to being claimed by the Magic, he was excited at the same time. When asked about it, he had this to say:
“I’m not going to kid you, I was surprised, but at the same time it was exciting. We spoke on the phone with Scott Perry and Rob (Hennigan) and those guys explained to me that I was someone they were really looking to get and you know, once we understood what the process was; we were coming here. You know, I was excited, my family was excited and you know I think there’s a big upside here in Orlando. So, we’re looking forward to it.”
Even though he most likely won’t see a ton of playing time, Green thinks he has a lot left to give on the court. “Yeah, definitely,” Green said. He continued by saying “I don’t think anyone, any player in this game that is on a team can’t play anymore. So, I’m definitely looking forward to getting after it competitively on the basketball floor and just using my leadership and character to help this team just push forward.”
It may not be a real flashy move, but it’s one that the Magic needed to make. Hennigan has preached that he doesn’t want his team to be too young, or too old, and getting Green shows that. While his impact on the floor may be minimal, his impact off the floor could be monumental in helping some of the younger members of the team become the leaders that Hennigan wants them to be.