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Bucher: Memphis Interested in Courtney Lee

The latest rumor involving the Celtics comes from veteran NBA reporter Ric Bucher. Bucher asserts that the Grizzlies are showing interest in Celtics’ guard Courtney Lee given the recent departures of Rudy Gay and Wayne Ellington:

The Grizzlies are not done dealing, according to multiple sources — they’re just not looking to do any more
stripping. The Grizzlies are far enough under the luxury tax that they’re willing to utilize at least part of their $7.5 million trade exception to add some perimeter help. Acquiring SG Courtney Lee, who Boston would consider flipping for some frontline help, was discussed but the Celtics aren’t looking just to drop salary but add size. That, of course, is if they continue their current run since Rajon Rondo went down; the winning streak apparently has GM Danny Ainge feeling an obligation to KG and Paul Pierce to give them whatever he can to take one more shot rather than move one of his veterans and begin rebuilding.

Memphis having interest in Lee is completely understandable. He has been solid on both ends of the floor and a steadying influence since Rajon Rondo went down with an ACL tear. He is also a young, proven veteran two way player. What’s harder to grasp is trying to figure out what the Grizzlies could offer in terms of frontline help. If it’s just a straight up trade between Memphis and Boston, it looks like the two potentially available bigs are Darrell Arthur and Ed Davis. Arthur does not provide a substantial upgrade over Brandon Bass and Chris Wilcox as a bigman and Lee has been very valuable for the C’s. Davis had a very productive season for Toronto prior to the trade, which begs the question to Memphis: is Lee really worth a former lottery pick? Especially one who has played as well as Davis?

If I’m the Celtics and looking for frontline help from Memphis, I’m only considering Davis. This is of course assuming that Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph are untouchable. Davis would be a perfect triple-whammy of future salary relief, immediate help, and a potential roster building block. A straight up trade with Lee and Davis doesn’t work given the salary discrepancy and Memphis already being over the cap. To complicates matters more, a trade involving Davis cannot be combined with any other player on Memphis’ roster given that he has already been traded this season. Memphis has a ton of trade exceptions, which I am assuming they are allowed to use in conjunction with Davis in a trade but by no means am I certain of that.

Given all of this, I’d be surprised if this happens and especially perplexed if the deal involves any one other than Davis. We’ll keep you posted of any other developments.

  • Phil725

    I'd be shocked if Davis is going anywhere. It seems like Lionel Hollins doesn't want him as part of his analytics tantrum against Hollinger and the rest of the front office, but he's not the one making personnel decisions. Since Hollins is gone after the season and the front office isn't, I'd expect them to hold onto a cost effective, young big man.

    Maybe I'm underrating Lee's trade value, but I've never thought the Cs would get a quality player back for him without at least throwing in a 1st round pick. Still, rumors like this make it clear that Lee's deal won't be a problem going forward. He's good enough that a team will take him if the Cs are offering him.

  • Phil725

    I'd be shocked if Davis is going anywhere. It seems like Lionel Hollins doesn't want him as part of his analytics tantrum against Hollinger and the rest of the front office, but he's not the one making personnel decisions. Since Hollins is gone after the season and the front office isn't, I'd expect them to hold onto a cost effective, young big man.

    Maybe I'm underrating Lee's trade value, but I've never thought the Cs would get a quality player back for him without at least throwing in a 1st round pick. Still, rumors like this make it clear that Lee's deal won't be a problem going forward. He's good enough that a team will take him if the Cs are offering him. On a team with guys like Bass and Green, that's refreshing to hear.

  • mugi

    Isn’t ed davis probably the best asset they got from the gay deal apart from cap relief? If they do go ahead with this they’d look like they swapped gay for lee, prince and daye. Whut the hell. Good thing they’re set at their frontcourt

  • c parks

    don't do it celtics keep the chemistry.

  • OKCeltic

    This would be a tough one. Yes, the team could use the help up front, but the defensive combo of AB and Lee has been one of the biggest reasons for the recent resurgence.