With many of the league’s other top teams making moves to improve this offseason, the Boston Celtics are trying to keep up.
Their most recent move, a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets, is a good way to do that.
The news comes from Yahoo! Sports’ Marc Spears:
Celtics to acquire G Courtney Lee from Rockets in a sign and trade sending back F JaJuan Johnson, sources tell Y! Details being finalized.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 19, 2012
Update: Friday, July 20 at 1:15 p.m. ET -- Tim Daniels
Contract details for Lee are now being reported. The 26-year-old swingman will receive more than $20 million over four years from the Celtics, according to Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports.
Guard Courtney Lee lands a four-year, $21.5 million fully guaranteed deal from the Celtics in sign and trade deal, source tells Y! Sports.— Marc J. Spears (@SpearsNBAYahoo) July 20, 2012
When you consider some of the massive contracts being handed out in free agency, that's a pretty reasonable price for a player who averaged 11 points last season. He's an efficient outside scorer and should fit in well with the Celtics.
---End of update---
What It Means
First and foremost, the Celtics improve their bench.
When everyone is healthy, the C's now have Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley as the starting guards, with Jason Terry and Courtney Lee providing depth off the bench. While Terry is instant offense, Lee, who can knock down the three with accuracy, brings energy and defense.
Additionally, and this is pure speculation, this could mean the Celtics aren’t 100 percent positive about Bradley’s return date, which was recently pushed to mid-December.
From Houston’s perspective, it’s clear they were just trying to get something in return for Lee, whom they weren’t going to re-sign.
Adding another forward is a little perplexing, but Johnson is a 23-year-old with some upside who is coming off a solid rookie season. It’s better than nothing.
Adding Lee and only having to give up JaJuan Johnson is pretty huge for the Celtics. Losing Ray Allen was a little heartbreaking for some Boston fans, but they are now replacing him with Terry and Lee.
That’s not too shabby.
The Celtics will return the majority of the core of a team that just made it to Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, and add two terrific guards to come off the bench.
The Miami Heat are still the top contenders in the East, but with this move, the Celtics have made it clear they aren’t going away for the foreseeable future.
As for the Rockets, it’s hard to imagine Johnson carving out a huge role. The forwards in Houston are certainly young, but there is a lot of talent and not enough minutes to go around.