But after stints with eight different teams through 10 seasons, Green was ready to call it a career not long before coach Mike D'Antoni came calling.
“I was honestly contemplating retirement,” Green told Kristie Rieken of The Associated Press. “A lot of people don’t know that, but I was done.”
“I was like: ‘Look man, when Jan. 1, 2018, hits, if I’m unsigned, I’m putting out a big statement on my Instagram letting everybody know, thank you for the awesome career over all these years but I’m done. ‘I ain’t going to play no more.’”
Green entered the league as a high-flying lanky wing, one of the last few high school products before the age requisite rule took over and banned high school graduates from directly entering the NBA without a year of college or overseas experience.
The 6-foot-8 swingman, who had played one game with the Rockets early in his career before ending up in Minnesota, received another chance at wearing his hometown jersey.
“Basketball was the last thing on my mind until I got that call,” Green said. “Then it’s kind of like… ‘Are you serious?’”
Green knows his attitude the first time around wasn't the best, causing his stint to be short-lived, maybe even more than initially expected.
“It was right place at the wrong time,” he said of his mini-stint with the Rockets. “I just wasn’t focused. I still wanted to go out and enjoy my success of getting to the NBA instead of me trying to enjoy the work process of getting better.”
Paired with a motivator like D'Antoni, Green has flourished as part of a team with championship aspirations — perhaps much more than what he first thought of when thinking of a potential NBA return.