“He’s dirty, a dirty player,” Green said on Uninterrupted’s “Dray Day” podcast. “I don’t respect guys like that. I know he’s not the greatest basketball player of all time, so maybe he feel like he got to do that, but you don’t have to do that. Just dirty. I don’t respect that, man. He’s dirty.”
Green took exception to Olynyk’s setting an illegal high screen on Washington‘s Kelly Oubre in Game 3 between the Celtics and Wizards. Oubre was knocked down but then jumped up and charged at Olynyk, burying his forearm into his chest.
Olynyk fell backward onto the court, and teammates from both sides intervened to end the altercation. Oubre was hit with a flagrant 2, which resulted in an automatic ejection, and was suspended for Game 4.
Olynyk went unpunished.
“Kelly Olynyk is a dirty player, man,” Green said. “Olynyk caught [Oubre] in the face and the neck with a couple of elbows. That’s what I don’t understand. You let people get away with stuff, and then when somebody finally react … you penalize that guy. But you are not going to penalize [Olynyk] for continually elbowing him the face. … I don’t get that.”
Green also referenced Olynyk’s history of questionable plays.
Olynyk was the player who pulled the left arm of Cleveland Cavaliers forward Kevin Love during a rebound chase in the first round of the 2015 playoffs. The play resulted in a dislocation of the shoulder and forced Love to undergo season-ending surgery.
“You’ve seen what he’s done,” Green told ESPN on Monday after shootaround. “Everybody’s seen what he’s done. I don’t really need to go [further] on that. Come on, man. There’s more cameras in these arenas now than it’s ever been. Everybody sees what goes on.”
Celtics coach Brad Stevens disagreed with Green’s opinion of Olynyk.
“I’m around Kelly every day,” Stevens said. “I don’t agree with that assessment.”
Stevens also defended the Celtics forward on Sunday, saying he’s not sure where the “narrative” against Olynyk comes from.
“I guess he set a screen, it was called a common foul, it was reviewed by the league, and the league determined it was a common foul. Another guy rushed him and chucked him on the ground,” Stevens said. “I understand all the stories of the past, and I understand they’ve gotta talk about something with three days in between games. But we know Kelly. I’m around Kelly every day.”
“Everybody’s seen what he’s done too,” Green said to ESPN. “We know about him.”
But Green has also been ridiculed by many and called dirty for his previous kicking antics.
Green occasionally flails his foot up while attempting a shot from under the basket. He connected to the groin region of Oklahoma City Thunder big man Steven Adams a few times in last year’s playoffs.
He disputes the perception that he’s a dirty player.
“I haven’t kicked anybody,” Green told ESPN. “You kick somebody with your foot, not your shin. I don’t know who taught them how to kick if they’re kicking with their shin. You kick with your foot. That’s what I was always taught. Growing up where I grew up at, you kick somebody, you kick them with your foot. You don’t kick somebody with your shin. So I wouldn’t necessarily say I kicked somebody.”
Green argues that there are players who are crafty at seeking a competitive advantage and then there are players who will do anything to get an edge. Olynyk falls in the latter category, Green said.
“There’s a difference, big difference between knowing all the tricks [and being dirty]. … Knowing all the tricks ain’t doing stuff to hurt people,” Green said on his podcast. “[Olynyk] yanked [Love’s] shoulder out of place. I don’t roll with that, man. He’s just dirty. You know veteran tricks is grabbing an arm so a guy can’t get there to block a shot or cutting some guy off so he can’t get there to contest. But you’re not doing nothing to hurt nobody. This dude [Olynyk] be out there trying to hurt people.”