NBA Free Agents 2012: Boston Celtics Must Grab Courtney Lee at All Costs

Sam R. Quinn@SamQuinn_Senior Analyst IIIJuly 18, 2012

PHOENIX, AZ - FEBRUARY 09:  Courtney Lee #5 of the Houston Rockets celebrates during the NBA game against the Phoenix Suns at US Airways Center on February 9, 2012 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Rockets defeated the Suns 96-89. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The Boston Celtics lost Ray Allen to the Miami Heat through free agency this offseason, but acquired another 2-guard in Jason Terry (albeit, not officially yet).

However, Terry is just two years younger than Allen. At 34-years-old, he's far from a future piece of the Celtics team. He doesn't have much left in him—maybe a few years of quality play, at most—which means GM Danny Ainge and company need to bring in a younger shooting guard.

Enter Courtney Lee—26-year-old free-agent shooting guard, most recently of the Houston Rockets. The free-agent market is bone dry this far into the process, making Lee one of the Celtics' only options worth going after.

According to Celticshub, Ainge is trying to take on the Western Kentucky product:

Danny Ainge continues to look for ways to acquire Jason Terry in a sign-and-trade from the Mavericks so he can use the mid-level exception on another target (mostly likely Courtney Lee).

Boston hasn't officially signed Terry to a contract yet, meaning that a sign-and-trade with the Mavericks to acquire the man they call "Jet" is perfectly feasible. That would free up the mid-level exception, which could be extended to Lee.

E'Twaun Moore and Avery Bradley are the only two shooting guards currently on the Celtics roster.

Moore played just under nine minutes per game last season, and Bradley just underwent his second shoulder surgery in two months. Celtics director of player personnel Austin Ainge told reporters that Bradley could miss the start of the season (via ESPNBoston).

Moore's irrelevance last season should be a cause for concern for Celtics brass almost as much as Bradley's shoulder injury is. If Moore doesn't pan out to be the player that the Celtics hope he will be, Doc Rivers will be left with just Terry at the beginning of the season until Bradley returns and reverts to form.

Lee played around 30 minutes a game for the Rockets last season, a number that would probably decrease just a bit if he signed on with the Celtics. It wouldn't be a bad thing, though. At least not for the Celtics.

Lee and Terry splitting court time would be much more effective than one of them playing an inordinate amount of minutes. Terry is a marginally better shooter than Lee, and Lee is a better driver than Terry thanks to the three inches he has on him.

Where Lee's value lies, more so than Terry's, is in his youth. He's also a great fit for the Celtics because of his willingness to come off the bench, something he has done for plenty of his career in the NBA.

The Celtics no longer have the luxury of the "Big Three," meaning they'll need to pay more attention to adding depth to their roster. Signing Lee would be a huge step in the right direction.