Courtney Lee #5, Samuel Dalembert #21 and Chase Budinger #10 of the Houston Rockets wait for the start of play during the game against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on April 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California.
(April 5, 2012 – Source: Harry How/Getty Images North America)
(PhatzRadio / USA Today) — The Boston Celtics’ feverish attempts to complete a complex deal to acquire Courtney Lee from the Houston Rockets appeared to implode Thursday. The Celtics were able to revive the deal with a little help from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Boston completed the multi-team, sign-and-trade deal Friday to bring in the fifth-year shooting guard.
The Rockets will receive forward JaJuan Johnson, guard E’Twaun Moore, forward Sean Williams and a second-round pick (originally owned by the Charlotte Bobcats) from the Celtics. Houston will also acquire the rights to guard Jon Diebler from the Trail Blazers. The Celtics will complete the deal by sending guard Sash Pavlovic to Portland.
Both Moore and Williams have non-guaranteed deals and are expected to be waived by Houston. Johnson has a guaranteed deal and has already made it known he’d like a trade from Houston.
The outgoing salary in Boston gets the deal valuation up over $4.7 million and closer to the $5 million per year Lee’s camp was seeking. Sources close to the process said Thursday that the reported $3 million per year number kicked around when the story broke was “way off,” refusing to disclose the full amount because the situation was clearly still in flux.
Several outlets reported that Boston is giving Lee a fully guaranteed four-year contract worth $21.5 million.
Lee, a first-round draft pick by the Orlando Magic out of Western Kentucky in 2008, announced that he had signed on his Twitter account earlier Friday, before the teams wrapped up the other details of the deal.
“Want to thank all the ppl in Houston friends and fans,” Lee wrote. “Enjoyed my time. Also would like to thank all the Cs fans for the love.”
Houston previously withdrew a qualifying offer for Lee, which made him an unrestricted free agent. The 6-foot-5 Lee played two seasons in Houston, averaging 9.6 points and 2.6 rebounds in 139 games.
Lee is a career 38.6% three-point shooter and should help fill the void left by Ray Allen’s departure. Boston also signed free-agent guard Jason Terry.
The Celtics have had eyes for Courtney from the very beginning of free agency, and Lee has a long history with Celtics coach Doc Rivers.
“We are very excited that we were able to acquire Courtney Lee,” Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said in a statement released Friday night. “Courtney brings a vast set of tools on both ends of the court and will be a great fit on our roster.”
The Rockets, meanwhile, continued to reshape their roster after introducing Jeremy Lin at a press conference on Thursday. Houston is also expected to sign Bulls center Omer Asik to a three-year, $25 million offer sheet.
The 6-foot-10 Johnson averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds in 36 games as a rookie for the Celtics last season. He was named the Big Ten’s top player and best defensive player as a senior at Purdue in 2010-11, becoming only the third player in the conference’s history to win both awards in the same season.
The 6-4 Moore was Johnson’s teammate at Purdue. He was chosen 55th overall by the Celtics in 2011. The 6-10 Williams has played for New Jersey, Dallas and Boston in 137 career NBA games. He was taken 17th overall by the Nets in the 2007 draft.
Diebler, a three-point specialist, was a second-round pick by Portland in 2011. The 6-6 guard played for the Greek team Panionios last year after setting the Big Ten record for three-pointers made as a senior (114) at Ohio State. He also led the nation in three-point shooting in 2010-11 (.502).