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Celtics Pursuing Courtney Lee from Houston

 

Now that Ray Allen has left Boston for not-as-green pastures, Marc Stein reports that Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers are making a run at Rockets SG Courtney Lee as a potential replacement. Doc met with him Saturday night. Boston can’t afford to sign Lee as a free agent, but Houston has demonstrated a willingness to send Lee to Boston in a sign-and-trade deal. Hey, Daryl Morey: any interest in four years of a below-average shooting and rebounding SF?

The Timberwolves, Hawks, Pacers, Mavs, and Suns are all also in the market for Lee’s services, but the story about the Celtics’ interest is currently the number-five ESPN.com headline, territory normally reserved for Tiger losing a non-major or a blind high school football player kicking a field goal. Lee’s a worthwhile target because he’s only 26 and can hit 40% of his threes, gives good defense and operates well without the ball. He’s not Ray, even Ray at age 37, but he’s priced accordingly. He’d also work pretty well off the bench alongside a creator like Jason Terry and a whatever-Jeff-Green-is like Jeff Green.

The question is how the Celtics could actually end up with him: Ainge has plenty of young tradeable assets to offer, but Houston just ended up with three first-rounders and probably aren’t desperate to carry more on their roster. Looking elsewhere on the roster, Avery Bradley appears to be about Lee’s equal in value at the same position and a much lower price, and the rights to Nenad Krstic aren’t lighting up the phones like they used to. Ainge could always offer future picks, but those eventually start coming in handy when two of your stars turn 38 and 39 and they’re still on your books. Maybe Kevin McHale could help out with this one?

  • The Cardinal

    Rockets always seem to be looking for big men, so maybe they are interested in an S&T with Steimsma as the primary target. Throw in Etawn or JaJuan, and the C's might have a deal. Throw in a first round draft pick, both Etwan and JaJaun or Sean Williams or Fab Melo or who knows, and maybe the can get Camby too. Just speculatin' out loud…

    • High Rollers

      It's good at least that management will get to see a little action out of the rooks and sophs before any swap for Lee. Summer League going on right now, I believe.

  • Richie

    how cant the celtics sign him as a free agent????????? He made 1.5 mil last yr and the most the celtics can spend is 2 mil. this doesnt make any sense. Hes a UFA!!

    • High Rollers

      I'm with you. It doesn't make sense, unless there are restrictions on the C's available exception. ???

    • Phil

      The Celtics only have the biannual exception (Its also only 1.5m, not 2m right?) left to spend on free agency. Lee is going to command a lot more than that on the open market. You can't expect a player to just take a third of what he's worth because he likes you the best.

      • Jared

        Ray allen did…

        • High Rollers

          Yup.

        • kg215

          Ray has made over 150 million dollars over his career, and is old now. He can afford to give up 3 million per year, Courtney Lee is worth more than 1.5 million on the open market and is young. Right now he will go wherever he can get the biggest contract.

          • High Rollers

            Lee's old enough to know that winning and performing well while winning can significantly increase your future earnings.

  • Brandon

  • Brandon

    I don't really see the need for this signing. With Rondo/Bradley/Terry holding down the guard spots…and possibly Etwan…I don't see a need for Lee. I know he can shoot and is better than Etwan at this point, but I am content with what we have at the guard spots.

    • Zee

      Depth is always needed.

    • dslack

      Getting an upgrade to E'twaun would be a good thing.

    • High Rollers

      Bradley's out 'til God knows when with those shoulders healing (one of them hasn't even gone under the knife yet). With Ray gone, that means we'll be lacking starting and backup shooting guards to start the season. We can't survive, much less thrive, for long like that.

      • Dave

        I think you're forgetting about Terry. He can start at the two or we can bring him off the bench(which is preferred) with Green at the 3 and PP at the guard position.

        • High Rollers

          Still, Terry can't cover Rondo, P, and Green. If Terry starts and Green comes in to spell P, then who comes in to spell Terry? I hope we get Lee.

    • Phil

      Moore hasn't shown anything in his time in the NBA, and given that he was a low upside player coming out of college, there's really no reason to expect him to be more than a rotation player in Europe any time soon.

      He can't defend at an NBA level, and his offense just isn't good enough to earn him a rotation spot alone. He's a fourteenth man, if you can replace that with a legitimate rotation guy, you do it.

  • Phil

    After a string of Celtics news that made my head hurt, this is finally something that sounds good. As far as I'm concerned, you can't have too many athletic wings that can defend and shoot threes. A Rondo/Bradley/Lee group could be pretty devastating off the bench; that's a lot of defense on a line up that could be able to score easily if Bradley continues growing as a three point shooter. I'm actually really giddy about that potential group, there's athleticism there that the Cs haven't had since the days of Gerald Green. You could switch Bradley out for Terry to make the offense more explosive too.

    Sending Doc seems to be the trump card the Celtics are hoping for here. If he wants to come here, they should be able to work something out. If the Cs are completely committed to putting the best team out there that they can, the Suns have shown that late future 1sts are enough for pretty much anyone. The Rockets want assets after all, not fair value for a player that's gone one way or another. I'd think one first would be enough, there's always the possibility that another team could fall in love, but I doubt it.

    • GreenM&M

      I'm all for sending picks to Houston to make this happen. But won't we also have to send them a player to make the cap work?

      • Phil

        I'm no cap expert, but I think you can put up to 3m into a trade to make it work in lieu of a player. That's a yearly limit, but I don't think the Celtics have spent money on any other trade recently. You just need to get to 1.5x the value, so 3m plus Moore should be enough assuming Lee isn't looking for much more than 5m. I can't see Moore being on the team if Lee is here anyway, so its not much of a price to pay. The Rockets would probably just waive him anyway since his contract isn't guaranteed.

  • High Rollers

    Maybe include Minnesota/Stiemsma in a three-way sign-and-trade?

    Stiemsma wants Minny, and as injury prone as Bradley is starting to seem (ankle, shoulders), I don't see DA dealing him right now. I could be wrong.

    If we could get Lee and then add old Nenad with his big body and fairly wet jumper, losing Ray and Steamboat won't sting half as badly. Swing it, Danny.

  • RR3D

    What is lee's salary looking like?

    • hdavenport

      Guessing $4m a year.

      • High Rollers

        You think Forsberg might be on to something, suggesting that Lee might be swayed to less $$ for the early 2013 starting gig with the C's? I kinda hope so.

  • TheAlbatross

    Celts can't sign and trade Krstic or Green since they weren't on the team last season

    • iceman

      How about Jajuan Johnson and a first round pick?

  • alton

    Ray Allen took.less…. sell out.

  • Lantrell Walker

    Love the idea of getting Lee & Camby in a sign-and-trade, they both would more than address any needs that we have. Hopefully Moore and Johnson + 3-4 future picks is enough to entice Houston.

    #WeBelieveIn18
    #IAmACeltic

  • skeeds

    Yeah Courtney Lee would be a great addition. All above average defenders are. I'd rather we signed a vet for minimum, or Dooling though, and weather the first 2 months of the season until Bradley gets back, and use any chips we have for a center. Terry, Rondo, Moore, Dooling or whoever else should be good enough.

    Right now, our backup for KG is Melo. We're supposed to be moving away from riding KG, aren't we? Let's hope that if this trade does go through, it has a big, like Camby for example, attached to it.

  • dasein

    Man, I hope we get Lee. This guy would fit in brilliantly. Also don't understand all the love for Dooling on this forum. Don't you guys remember that he's just not very good? Rondo, AB, Jet, and Lee- that's a nice backcourt right there.

  • Morpheus

    Lee and Gerald Green are my targets, as replacements for crybaby Ray.

    I’d prefer Lee, better defender, higher IQ, but Green would be a strong addition also.

  • Jamal

    I think we need more rebounds we struggled in the rebounding area

  • yeah

    What's Delonte West doing? He loves us, right?

  • Mike

    I hate to say it but we need hope kristic comes back ,cause we got punk’d on the boards and have done nothing to improve in that area

  • Mike

    West loves lebrons Mom

  • CG12

    I'd love to see Courtney Lee in green. I really liked him on the Magic, and couldn't understand why they let him go. It obviously makes more sense now, given how Ryan Anderson has panned out. Lee would be a perfect complementary part – a guy who can run, defend, and plays extremely hard. I just can't see how the C's make this happen. They don't have much in the way of tradeable assets, so it seems like it would need to involve picks, but Lee's salary would still put them over the cap. Regardless of how they get him, aren't they unable to fit him in for anything other than the biannual?

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