Celtics acquire David Lee for Wallace, one other player


SALT LAKE CITY -- The Boston Celtics didn’t have much luck when it came to attracting All-Star caliber free agents this summer.

But Danny Ainge appears to have struck gold once again via the trade route by sending Gerald Wallace to Golden State for David Lee.

The deal was first reported by ESPN’s Marc Stein.

CSNNE.com has learned the Celtics are expected to include at least one more player in the deal, likely to be the non-guaranteed contract of Phil Pressey or Chris Babb.

Both Wallace and Lee are in the final year of their contracts, although the Celtics are on the hook for $15.5 million while the Warriors take on Wallace’s deal which is more cap-friendly at $10.1 million.

A former All-Star, Lee found himself expendable as Golden State’s Draymond Green emerged as a player the Warriors felt was part of their core going forward.

Golden State came to terms on a five-year, $82 million deal with Green earlier this month and were seeking ways to trim salaries to help soften the luxury tax bill that they will surely have to pay with Green’s new deal and Klay Thompson’s extension kicking in next season.

Meanwhile, the Celtics were looking to unload Wallace’s contract while adding a potential rotation player in the process.

The addition of Lee satisfies that need as the Celtics assemble a frontcourt that’s noticeably more experienced with Lee coming aboard shortly after Boston signed veteran Amir Johnson to a two-year, $24 million deal on July 1.

Lee saw his stock drop considerably after a hamstring injury forced him out of Golden State’s lineup. Upon his return, he was unable to regain his starting job and soon fell out of the team’s rotation altogether.

Rather than grumble about his situation, multiple sources indicated Lee didn’t allow his personal situation to affect the team.

One of the players who benefited most from his injury, Draymond Green, was one of the first to voice his support for Lee once word spread that he was on his way to Boston.

On Draymond Green’s official Twitter account (@Money23Green), he wrote: “The part of the business that sucks! Wish my big bro @Dlee042 (David Lee) nothing but the best and I appreciate you showing me the way Champ!!!Much lov”

Although Lee’s role was diminished, he did show in the Finals that he still could be a contributor if given an opportunity to play.

In Golden State’s Game 3 loss to Cleveland, Lee came on to score 11 points in just 13 minutes. That seemed to be the jumpstart that both Lee and the Warriors needed.

He scored nine points in Golden State’s 103-82 Game 4 blowout win that set the Warriors comeback in the Finals in motion.

It’s still unclear what Lee’s role will be other than a big who has shown the ability to be an effective scorer in pick-and-roll sets as well as in the half court game.

His defense is easily his biggest weakness and played a role in Golden State relegating him to limited minutes.

But Lee is an example of a player whose strengths are better suited with a different team –- a team like the Celtics.

Lee will likely start the season at center for Boston, with Johnson at the power forward position.

Marcus Smart, Avery Bradley and either Evan Turner or Jae Crowder would round out the starting five.

Boston’s bench would consist of Isaiah Thomas, Kelly Olynyk, Jared Sullinger, second-year wing James Young, Tyler Zeller, Jonas Jerebko as well as rookie draft picks Terry Rozier and R.J. Hunter.

Jordan Mickey and Marcus Thornton were both selected in the second round of last month’s draft by Boston. Team officials have already indicated that Thornton will play overseas or in the Development League next year.

Mickey has looked good in summer league thus far, and by signing him for the season would bring Boston’s roster of guaranteed contracts to the league-maximum which is 15.

That will only fuel more speculation that the Celtics will pursue more trades that are likely to include Olynyk and/or Sullinger, who have both been the subject of potential trades this summer.

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