INDIANAPOLIS — Gerald Wallace thought about it and said he had never seen it. Then he took it back and said he had.
A team’s leading scorer traded in the middle of a season. It happened to Wallace in February 2011, when the Charlotte Bobcats traded him to the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Celtics were on the verge of the same action Friday, when they were close to consummating a deal to send Jeff Green to the Memphis Grizzlies. A potential third team getting involved is delaying the deal, but Green will no longer be a Celtic, regardless.
“It’s tough for a team, especially a team that’s rebuilding to trade their leading scorer,” Wallace said. “But it opens up a lot more opportunities for a lot of other guys and gives them a challenge and they’ve just got to step up now.”
Green appeared pleased when told of the potential trade. He would likely be the Grizzlies’ fourth scoring option behind Marc Gasol, Zach Randolph, and Mike Conley. That’s a role Wallace said Green may embrace.
“I think Memphis is one of the top teams in the Western Conference, if not in the NBA, and it gives [Green] the opportunity to play on a bigger stage,” Wallace said. “He’s had tough nights here [in Boston], struggling on a team that’s rebuilding and trying to start over new, so I think that will help him out a whole lot.
“I think it will be a perfect fit. He doesn’t have to be their go-to guy. Anybody having Jeff Green as their fourth option, the way he’s been playing this season, that’s not a bad option to have.”
And now the Celtics are composed of two 32-year-olds in Wallace and Jameer Nelson, and a bunch of 20-somethings.
“We’ve got to keep helping these guys out,” Wallace said. “It’s a process. It’s going to be some tough nights. There’s going to be a lot of headaches. It’s a learning process. The guys are headed in the right direction. The thing that makes it a lot easier is they’re willing to listen and they’re willing to comprehend what we have to say, and I think that makes it a lot easier for us.”
Evan Turner made his first appearance at Bankers Life Fieldhouse since his short stint with Indiana last season. Turner was supposed to be a difference-making acquisition during the team’s postseason run, but did not play much during the playoffs. He signed with the Celtics as an unrestricted free agent.
“I was only here three months, but I definitely enjoyed my time here,” said Turner, who had 9 points, 15 rebounds, and 7 assists in Friday’s 107-103 overtime loss to the Pacers. “It was cool. That’s pretty much it. Nothing too crazy. I was honored with the opportunity that they brought me here. I got to meet some cool people and got to participate in some great games. I really admired the way [Frank] Vogel coached.”
Vogel said Turner just didn’t fit in Indiana.
“I think it was equal parts our guys not jelling with his style of play, and not performing great on short minutes, which is tough for a starter to do,” Vogel said.
Stevens back home
Stevens coached six seasons at nearby Butler University and was able to return briefly for a visit Thursday.
“This will always be home and it’s always been a blast, I could make a 1,000 stops while I’m here but we have a job to do and a game to play,” Stevens said. “Your focus is on that, but it’s nice to be home. You know where to go to eat and you know where to order from. So it’s cool.”
Brandon Miller, who inherited the top job at Butler after Stevens left, is on a prolonged medical leave and has been replaced by Chris Holtmann.
“Obviously the one program I follow is Butler,” Stevens said. “I follow it religiously. We see as many games as we can.
“My heart and my sympathies are with Brandon and his family. I’m very excited that they had a person like Chris there. I’m really happy that that’s going to be a long-term thing. I’m happy for them and you can bet I want them to beat [Xavier on Saturday].”
Young may benefit
With Green watching the game from the locker room, James Young was on the active list and played seven scoreless minutes. Stevens said it has been difficult making the rookie inactive but that shouldn’t be a problem anymore following the departures of Green and Wright. Young is averaging just six minutes and 3.4 points in seven games. In eight games with Maine in the NBADL, he’s averaging 22.4 points.
. . . Once again, the Celtics were hardly competitive in the free throw department, making 11 of 16 compared with Indiana’s 30 of 34. The Celtics made seven more field goals than the Pacers.