January 7, 2011; Orlando FL, USA; Houston Rockets shooting guard Courtney Lee (5) drives to the basket during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Orlando Magic defeated Houston Rockets 110-95. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE

NBA Free Agency: Could Courtney Lee Be a Key Fixture in the Celtics Future?

Courtney Lee and the Celtics have expressed mutual interest in one another.  For the Celtics to acquire Courtney Lee, it would require a sign & trade deal with his current team, the Houston Rockets, but there’s no reason to rule this one out yet.

“Me and Doc, we’ve always had a relationship since I’ve been in the NBA,” Lee commented. “I’m a friend of both of his kids, Austin and Jeremiah. We work out together, always see each other. Me and Doc always speak. There’s interest there, but there was no verbal agreement or anything, just hearing each other out. He expressed his interest. I expressed my interest.  It’s not basketball-wise that needs to be discussed, it’s the front office and my agent that needs to communicate and go from there.”

Lee is not a spring chicken anymore, as he spent 4 years at Western Kentucky before entering the NBA.  Now 26, Lee is entering his prime, and his role as a defensive stopper and spot up shooter could prove valuable to a Celtics team that is in need of both.  Last season, in 30 minutes a night, Lee posted 11.4 points per game and came up with 1.2 steals per game, while hitting a rock solid 40.1% from behind the arc, slightly above his career average of 38.6%.  Lee is athletic and hard working, and will flourish with a good (and demanding) coach like Doc Rivers.

The Celtics signed Jason Terry, but Terry has always been a sixth man.  Starting Lee at shooting guard would fit perfectly into the plan, and when the C’s aren’t in need of his superior defense, they can turn to Terry for more scoring.  Really, having two very different options at shooting guard only makes sense for a team that tries to vary its approach during the game, as Doc Rivers (and most good coaches) do.  The Celtics could even at times go with a three guard set, featuring Rajon Rondo, Lee, and Terry.  What the lineup would lack in size, its would make up for in speed, and often times when coaches tinker, it leaves the opposition to adjust to the change, rather than the other way around.  It’s just an interesting idea, and having three guys as quick as Rondo, “Jet,” and Lee could pose problems for other teams, perhaps most especially if the Celtics employed a trapping press.

Overall, the Celtics just become a stronger more versatile team with Lee.  Lee never really seemed to hit stride in Houston, or in New Jersey for that matter, after looking so promising in his rookie season with the then Eastern Conference Champion Orlando Magic.  Lee was having the series of his life in the 09 Playoffs against the Philadelphia 76ers, after averaging 15.8 points per game over the first four games of the series.  An errant Dwight Howard elbow in practice put an end to Lee’s ascent that year, and he just never really seemed to reach those same heights he was about to reach with the Magic.

Perhaps it could happen in Boston.

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Tags: Boston Celtics Courtney Lee Doc Rivers Houston Rockets NBA Free Agency Orlando Magic

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