March 24, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings small forward Donte Greene (20) reacts to a call against the Golden State Warriors during the fourth quarter at Oracle Arena. Golden State won 111-108. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Donte Greene signed this week with the Brooklyn Nets. He's on a make-good contract -- it's unguaranteed until January, which means he'll need to show a little something in camp and the early parts of the season to be assured another full season in the NBA. There were no real rumors tying him to overseas this offseason, so chances are that even if he's not the right fit for Brooklyn, he'll remain stateside and bounce around the league, hoping for that breakthrough.
It's no secret to readers that Donte has been one of my favorite Kings since he arrived in the Ron Artest trade.
Before his first NBA season, I wrote that Greene wouldn't be the type of player to develop -- one day, it would just come together suddenly and he'd look like a basketball genius. That ... never happened. Nor did he really develop, though I think that his second season (2009-10) was a pretty positive step forward. It just didn't stick, whether due to personal regression due to gained muscle, lack of playing time or bad fits with the coaches and other talent. In fairness to the organization, the Kings cleared the deck for Greene before last season, and he had a coach that has worked well with weird little small forwards before. But it didn't work. In a season full of John Salmons, Travis Outlaw and all of that, Donte got seven starts and 15 minutes a game ... and never really made a convincing case for more.
But it's impossible for me to remember Extra E in anything but fondness. He was hilarious on The Donte Greene Show. He had those incredible flashes of potential. On media day in 2008, when I asked if he thought he'd be visiting Reno and the D-League, he looked practically mortified. (He would later all but beg to go to Reno to get some burn.) On media day in 2009, he expressed fear of the Sactown Royalty commenters, calling y'all "scary." (He was right.) He also retweeted a lot of our Photoshop jobs and seemed to generally have fun being a professional basketball player (except when Bobby Jackson wanted to murder him and when he and DeMarcus Cousins got punchy). How great is Donte Greene? He helped our friend Kevin Fippin get engaged.
I'll never forget Donte and his best bud Jason Thompson paddleboating around a lake, or posting their roller coaster photo from Vegas, or showing the world their intricate hand shakes. Donte gave Sacramento its only charity game during the lockout, gave ARCO its Goon Squad tradition and will be terribly, terribly missed by this Sacramentan.
So long, Donte, and good luck.