While in Las Vegas last weekend, LeBron James began to go through Danny Green's pockets.
"He was like, 'You got money now, let me get some,' " Green said with a laugh Wednesday. "And I'm like, 'I'm just trying to catch up, man. I'm far behind you guys.' "
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He's closer than he used to be. Green, a North Babylon native and St. Mary's High School graduate, signed a four-year, $40 million contract earlier this month to remain with the San Antonio Spurs.
But in a market where three-point specialists and perimeter defenders like Green are highly coveted -- and highly compensated -- Green understands that he likely could have received a more lucrative deal elsewhere.
"Everybody says I could have got more, and that may be true," Green said Wednesday while hosting the Team Green basketball camp at Robert Moses Middle School in North Babylon.
"They say it like what I got wasn't enough. I'm satisfied. The contract I signed, I never thought I'd ever make in life."
Green, drafted out of the University of North Carolina by the Cavaliers in the second round of the 2009 Draft, was waived before the start of his second season. He was then signed, and soon waived, by San Antonio. Green played in the NBA Developmental League before again signing with the Spurs in 2011. He began to establish a role as an outside threat in an offense predicated on spacing and ball movement.
Last season, his sixth in the league, Green averaged a career-high 11.7 points per game. He shot 41.8 percent from three-point range, while making the fifth most threes in the league (191).
"Their system always needs some shooters," Green said. "The game is changing and moving toward the perimeter oriented type of players who can shoot the three, stretch the defense, open up the floor more. It's a necessity in order to play because if you can't shoot the three, it's easy for teams to guard you. They pack the paint, they don't have to close out on you, they can make you shoot. You have to be a threat out there."
Green, 28, said he originally scheduled a meeting with Detroit, and that Toronto and Dallas showed interest. But rather than further test the market, he agreed with the Spurs on July 1, the first day of the free agency period.
"I knew where my heart was," he said. "You can't worry about the market, or what other guys are getting. That's irrelevant to me. I value what I value, and that's winning, and playing for a great organization. I took what I was worth."
The Spurs, who resigned Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili, also landed free agents LaMarcus Aldridge, who Green called "the next Timmy," and David West.
"I think we are always the team to beat because we are the Spurs," Green said. "We have a target on our back."
Green now has a championship ring and an eight-figure annual salary. So what's left to accomplish? "There's still goals to achieve," he said. "I'm just getting started.""I still want to play for an Olympic team. I still want to get a gold medal. I still want more championship rings. I want to be one of the greats, try to be a Hall of Famer. But to get a raise for a job that you already thought was the greatest in the world, you can't ask for more."