Mountain or molehill? You decide.
So we all were cruising along on Saturday happy Tyler Hansbrough was returning, willing to wait out Wayne Ellington and Ty Lawson as they go through the draft process and feeling pretty good about next season regardless. Then Danny Green declared for the draft without hiring an agent and all of sudden we were looking at losing three key players instead of just two.
Now, for consistencies' sake I do not regard the decision to go through the draft process without an agent as a bad idea. I believe that Green can only benefit from this decision just the same as Lawson and Ellington. The issue I am wrestling with is the manner of the declaration. As I mentioned earlier, I had speculated early in the week when Green's name came up that it was possible he was pursuing the issue on his own without input from the UNC staff and possibly without their knowledge. The former ended up being correct and since Roy denied the rumor later in the week we know the latter is also true.
The main problem as I see it is the way this unfolded leads me to believe some kind of break has occurred in Green's relationship with the UNC staff and also that Green's father might be driving the bus here. And far be it for me to judge Green or his father and their intentions but considering the resources UNC has available in vetting this process out why did Green feel compelled to work this without using what the Tar Heel staff can offer? Either they did it because they wanted absolute secrecy or they did it that way because they did not trust the UNC staff. It also could be that Green discussed it with Roy in their one on one meeting after the season and Roy told him he should simply look to return. This would not be consistent with Roy's stated position that they will do their best to give information to the players and then support their decision.
With Lawson and Ellington, because they relied on UNC for the information I am confident Roy has given them a lot of good information and also had input into helping them make their choice. The fact the relationship with the staff is fully intact through the process also means Roy should still have input into the final decision. I also know that the depth of information UNC gathers is far beyond the simple report the NBA advisory committee gives to interested parties. Roy contacts various teams and uses the Tar Heel contacts in the NBA to get better assessments than the one the general committee gives. In my mind Lawson and Ellington have everything they need to make an educated decision and based on that they both feel they need to go through the next stage in the process to really see how things shake out. There is nothing wrong with that given how things work now.
In Green's case it just seems like he is operating with less information and in terms of influence, it would appear the UNC staff does not have any on the present situation. Granted family influence is in play for everyone who makes this kind of decision and I have no idea what kind of pressure Green is getting from his family in this regard. The fact his father's name popped up in Roy's statement means he is obviously very influential in this process. And again not to cast any aspersions in his direction but I think there have been plenty of past cases where players who enter the draft in this manner end up staying in the draft despite the fact their stock is not that great.
That is the clincher for me. The possibility of a damaged relationship with the UNC staff coupled with a draft process apparently being driven by a family member has all the markings of a situation where the player ignores the expert advice about his own stock and enters the draft regardless. Then again Lawson and Ellington could very well do the exact same thing despite all the great advice they are receiving but with them there is the feel they went about it "the right way" whereas Green did not in a secretive and distrustful of his head coach sort of manner.
This is all to say that I think all three can benefit from the process but the manner in which Lawson and Ellington went about their draft entrance gives me more hope they will return than the way Green handled his situation. Yes this is speculation on my part and just a real feeling of unease over Green's methodology. And I have no idea who was what agendas and if those agendas are anything other than the player's best interest. I hope he does what is best for him regardless of how that impacts UNC. At the same I just feel like something is amiss here to the point that I actually think Green is less likely to come back than the other two even if his status is not great.
And yes, I would be overjoyed to be completely off base on this one.