Update: Officially a done deal.
Guard Courtney Lee lands a four-year, $21.5 million fully guaranteed deal from the Celtics in sign and trade deal, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 20, 2012
Steve Bulpett, who had many of the back and forth details yesterday, informs us that the Courtney Lee deal has been agreed to and will become finalized sometime today.
It took awhile and a couple of false starts, but the Celtics got their man last night, acquiring Courtney Lee from Houston in a sign and trade for JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore, Sean Williams, Sasha Pavlovic and a second-round draft pick. The paperwork is expected to be finalized today. The deal originally had Phoenix and New Orleans as facilitators, but that came apart late yesterday afternoon Pacific time. Late last night, Portland became the third team and Pavlovic was included. The amended details were still being learned as the Herald’s final print deadline passed, but the Celts will clearly be ecstatic to acquire the coveted 6-foot-5 Lee without disturbing their main rotation.
Lee will get somewhere close to the $5M that Jason Terry got, giving the Celtics a very good 1-2 combo replacement package for Ray Allen for about the salary that Ray got last year.
Update: Missed this bit earlier:
General manager Daryl Morey is overhauling the Rockets’ roster, trying to acquire assets and salary-cap space for a Dwight Howard deal or to acquire another superstar. The key to the trade may be the second-round pick, which was originally owned by Charlotte and which could be in the 30s overall.
As usual, I'll remind everyone that I'm not a scout. However, I'd venture a guess that we'll see fewer sets involving our shooting guards running through an endless maze of screens and more cutting and kicking out to the corner three (where both Terry and Lee excel).
Lee is not the all-around offensive threat that Allen is — or was — but he is a much-better defender and even capable of sliding over the wing forward spot in certain lineup combinations. He’s also younger and healthier than Allen. With Avery Bradley’s status uncertain to start the season after undergoing two shoulder surgeries, Lee could slide right into the starting lineup and combine with Rajon Rondo and Jason Terry to form a strong three-man backcourt.
Bradley is going to need some time to recover from his two shoulder surgeries, so at least at the beginning of the year we are likely to see Courtney Lee in the starting lineup with Jason Terry backing up both Rondo and Lee. I still like the idea of letting Bradley come off the bench when he returns so that he can pair with Terry in the second unit, but regardless the team has plenty of options with their backcourt rotation.
So to sum up, the Celtics picked up the best big man on the market (Kevin Garnett), two of the best shooting guards on the market (Terry & Lee), a starting power forward (Bass), an expensive but very versatile wing (Jeff Green), and added depth to the frontcourt with Wilcox, Sullinger (steal of the draft), and Melo. And the only guys he lost were Ray Allen and perhaps Greg Stiemsma. Not a bad offseason so far.
All that's left is filling out the roster at this point. They've still got the option of using the Bi-Annual exception if they have room under the cap to do so, but I tend to think that they'll be limited to minimum deals and undrafted rookies and/or D-League guys. Jeff Green's deal still isn't final, but I'd imagine it will be shortly after the Lee deal.
The Celtics could have gone in a number of different directions this offseason but they chose to reload and did a very good job of doing just that. With the usual caveat of "as long as they are reasonably healthy" this team appears on paper to be better than it was last year - in particular by the end after losing Bradley for the rest of the playoffs.
I'm still looking at this as a new era, and Ainge has surrounded his elder stars (Pierce, Garnett) with some high quality young players. I like it. When do the games start?