Listed below are three trade ideas involving David Lee, whose departure from the Boston Celtics appears inevitable. Keep in mind if the Celtics trade Lee this month "it will be as part of a larger deal," according to the Boston Herald.
"The Denver Vaporization"
David Lee, three picks, and James Young for Danilo Gallinari
My love for Danilo Gallinari and his potential impact on the Celtics has been covered ad nauseam since the summer. Gallinari can drain shots from all over the floor and few players draw as many fouls per possession. It's easy to see him meeting Boston's desire to find a go-to scorer alongside Isaiah Thomas.
But even if he is available, which is unlikely, he might not be worth any Nets firsts, as discussed on About, because of his worrisome injury history. He's missed 216 games in his career, highlighted by a torn ACL and a torn meniscus. The chances are slim for the 2016 Nets pick to fall in the top three and for that player to develop beyond Gallinari's talent level. But, those prospects (Brandon Ingram, Ben Simmons, and Dragan Bender) are also younger and healthier.
If the Nuggets do lower their asking price, one potential compromise could include two or three first-round picks with one of Boston's young players, and Lee as the salary filler. The Nuggets would roll with the youth movement and the Celtics would add a go-to presence to set them up for a long playoff run.
"The Portland Helper"
David Lee and two seconds for Pat Connaughton
Without getting into the minutia of the salary cap, the Blazers current cap sheet is roughly $14 million below the minimum. They can actually save money by adding a salary and one of the ways to do that is through a trade. David Lee's expiring $15.5 million deal would fill that condition.
Due to the emergence of Allen Crabbe and Portland's lack of a D-League affiliate, Pat Connaughton hasn't received a real opportunity this season. But he's still just an early second-round rookie, so he has some value. In addition to Lee, the Celtics could incentivize the Blazers to do a deal by adding one or two second-round picks.
Though the Celtics already have R.J. Hunter and James Young, it wouldn't hurt to add another wing they may have coveted prior to the draft. The Celtics could give Connaughton heavy minutes with the Maine Red Claws, and if he excels he could become another reasonably valuable asset.
"The Atlanta Action"
David Lee and two firsts for Al Horford
Adrian Wojnarowski reported on The Vertical Podcast the Hawks could "push the reset button," which means players like Al Horford and Jeff Teague could be available. Horford is 30 and has a long injury history, but he's absolutely worth at least two non-Nets firsts.
Horford would be an incredible fit for Brad Stevens' pace-and-space system. He's a terrific passer, spaces the floor, and protects the rim defensively. He'll be a free agent this summer, but if Boston made a long playoff run, it's hard to see him leaving.
But it'd take the Hawks to even consider restarting for anything to happen. They're currently tied with the Celtics as the No. 3 team in the Eastern Conference standings, but time is running out for them to make a potential franchise altering decision.