The Celtics intend to either trade David Lee by the February 18th deadline or work a buyout with him, as the power forward who’s out of the rotation would like to play elsewhere, according to Bleacher Report’s Howard Beck (Twitter link). Boston made him available several weeks ago, as TNT’s David Aldridge reported in December, and A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com wrote this morning that Lee and his representatives are cooperating with the Celtics to funnel him to a new team.
Blakely suggests it would take the inclusion of Lee, plus other assets, for a deal with the Rockets for Dwight Howard to work, but those apparent talks between Houston and Boston aren’t expected to blossom into more than just a discussion, the CSNNE.com scribe hears. Lee said a month ago that it was more frustrating for him not to receive playing time on this year’s Celtics than it was for him on last year’s title-winning Warriors, though he was careful not to stir controversy as he spoke of his frustration and disagreement with coach Brad Stevens‘ decision to remove him from the rotation. The former All-Star is averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per contest this season but hasn’t appeared in a game since January 10th.
Lee is on an expiring contract that gives him a salary of nearly $15.494MM. That’s a difficult number for trade purposes, as only the Trail Blazers have the cap space necessary to absorb him without sending out a comparable amount of salary. No team has a trade exception large enough to accommodate Lee. Chris Crouse of Hoops Rumors shared some ideas for Lee swaps this past weekend amid his broader look at the 32-year-old’s trade candidacy.
The Celtics and Lee would face a de facto deadline of March 1st, the last day players can hit waivers and still be eligible to play in the postseason for another team, to arrange a buyout if he remains in Boston past the trade deadline. It’s unclear how much salary the Mark Bartelstein client would consider sacrificing in such an arrangement.
Do you see a fit for Lee on another team? Share your ideas with a comment.