BOSTON (CBS) – Both the Boston Celtics and Courtney Lee are interested in joining forces, but it might not be as easy for the C’s to obtain the guard’s services for next season.
Lee was at the Orlando Summer League on Monday, and confirmed to reporters that the Celtics are one of the “more than eight teams” going after the free agent guard. Lee met with Celtics head coach Doc Rivers over the weekend, but with Boston over the salary cap the team would have to work out a sign-and-trade with Houston in order to acquire him.
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“I would say our meeting went well. As far as characterizing where I’m at with the team — coach and player-wise, we’re on the same page — it’s just my agent and their front-office guys have to talk and work something out,” said Lee. “They expressed their interest, I expressed my interest — it’s up to the front offices and my agent.”
Lee could fill the void left by the departure of Ray Allen to the Miami Heat. He averaged 11.4 points for the Rockets last season, hitting 40-percent of his three-point shots in just over 30-minutes a night.
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However, Boston doesn’t have much wiggle room to add Lee. They can only offer him a max of two-years, $4.1 million with their bi-annual exception, which would be a pay cut for the 26-year -old. Lee made $2.3 million last season, and originally had a $4.4 million qualifying offer for next season. After convincing Lee to take less money, Boston would then have to swing a sign-and-trade deal with the Rockets, with not many pieces to move around.
Lee did say Monday that going to a winner is up there on his priority list.
“I want to win,” he said. “I got a taste of the playoffs going to the finals my rookie year and I want to get back there. Everybody knows [the Celtics] record and what they’ve accomplished over the years especially with Doc and having KG and Paul (Pierce) and all those guys. That’s a team that I feel that will win and continue to win. That’s one factor in the decision.”
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The Celtics will need to add another guard in some form, with Avery Bradley undergoing his second shoulder surgery of the summer on Tuesday. It’s uncertain if he will be ready for the start of the season, and the Celtics will need to add another guard to the mix to play alongside Jason Terry.
Along with the Celtics, the Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Minnesota Timberwolves and Phoenix Suns are said to also be pursuing Lee.