David Lee seems to have fallen out of the Celtics‘ rotation a year after going through the same experience in Golden State, writes TNT’s David Aldridge in his weekly column for NBA.com. Boston is fully healthy for the first time this season, which has cut deeply into Lee’s playing time as coach Brad Stevens opts for a smaller lineup. “I’ve been through this before, and it turned out OK,” Lee said. The 11th-year forward is making nearly $15.5MM in the final season of his contract and is headed for free agency for the second time in his career.
Aldridge touched on a number of other topics in the piece:
- With a little more than a month before the trade deadline, Celtics GM Danny Ainge has to decide whether to deal the team’s excess draft picks to pursue an available star or save the picks and use them to build for the future. Boston owns the Nets‘ unprotected first-rounder this year, along with a Mavs first-rounder that is top-seven protected. The Celtics could potentially get the Wolves‘ first-rounder as well, but it is only top-12 protected, so that’s unlikely. If Minnesota keeps the pick, it will have to give Boston second-rounders this year and in 2017.
- Pressure has increased on agents to get not only the best playing contracts for their clients, but TV and movie roles, music opportunities and shoe deals as well. The Wizards‘ John Wall last week became one of a handful of big name players to change agencies recently when he left Relativity Sports, which had represented him since he was drafted in 2010. “The people I was with have been a great partnership the five years I was with them,” Wall said. “They did a lot of positive things for me. It was just a situation where I felt me and my team wanted to go in different ways with how I wanted to build my team.”
- Aldridge believes the Wizards still plan to give Bradley Beal a max contract, even though he will probably be under a minutes restriction for the rest of his career. Aldridge contends that Beal can be an All-Star playing 30-35 minutes a night and compares the situation to what the Celtics did when Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were in their final years there or how the Spurs handle their veterans.
- Aldridge also sees a bright future for Bulls rookie Bobby Portis, saying he can succeed through hard work despite his limited vertical leap.