- Jackie MacMullan, ESPNBoston.com columnist
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There may be some Celtics players who are upset with Doc Rivers for leaving Boston for greener NBA pastures in Los Angeles, but do not count forward Jeff Green among them.
Green said Monday that he has “absolutely no animosity” toward Rivers for wriggling out of his contract and signing an identical deal with the Clippers.
"I can’t speak for the other guys," said Green, “but I’m not angry at all. I’m happy for him. I’ve known him since I’ve been in college. I played with his son (Jeremiah).
“I appreciate the opportunity he gave me to come back to Boston after my (heart) surgery. I appreciate him putting the ball in my hands this season."
Rivers called Green on Monday morning to inform him of his coaching change. Green said he was disappointed, but added, “We should all know by now this is a business."
When Green signed a 4-year, $36 million contract last August, he expected Rivers to be his coach for most, if not all, of that deal.
“The main reason I came back to Boston was because of Doc," Green admitted, “but I understand things change. Not everything goes as planned. We had injuries, and some other things, that altered our team.
“You can’t predict the future. I really enjoyed playing for Doc. We have a great relationship.
“I’m sure some people will feel betrayed, but we all have to do what is best for us, and our families.
“Whenever there’s a trade, or a coach leaves, there’s always emotion.
“But then, after a while, we all move on and say, ‘What’s next?' "
Green reported he’s been diligently following his offseason workout program and is beginning to feel like his “old self.” Green underwent life-threatening heart surgery for an aortic aneurysm that left him sidelined for all of 2011-12. He played in 81 games this past season and averaged 27.8 minutes a game, but battled overwhelming fatigue and chest tightness that were byproducts of a surgery that a ctually required stopping his heart for an hour-and-a-half.
The fatigue is something that may not ever completely dissipate, Green conceded, “but I’m learning how to deal with it,’’ he said. “I’ve got a much better idea of how to handle it now.’’
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