Not long after a supposed cousin of Courtney Lee’s tweeted his congratulations for signing with the Celtics come word from Yahoo’s Marc Spears that the Celtics will acquire Lee in a sign-and-trade for JaJuan Johnson
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
The Celtics now have added depth at the off-guard position, giving up a promising young big-man to get it.
JaJuan Johnson, I believe, is going to be a contributor in the NBA. But to get the guy you want, you’re going to have to give something up. Johnson was inconsistent in summer league, showing flashes of promise… especially when he shot his mid-range jumper with confidence.. while also showing a need to get more coordinated and stronger. He’s still a project, and the Celtics are not in a position to wait very long for projects.
Lee, meanwhile, will become the tallest of the four Celtics rotation guards (along with Rondo, Bradley and Terry) and he will be a very capable defender. He’ll get some open looks, and his best chances at scoring will be with the mid-range jumper. He’s not a great 3-point shooter, but he’ll take his fair share.
I think the ideal situation, when Avery Bradley is healthy, will be to start Rondo/Bradley and have JET be the back-up point with Lee as the 2. He’ll be able to score, but more importantly, he’ll be able to defend and be disruptive.
This all makes me wonder what the future is for E’Twaun Moore. He’s now the 5th guard on the depth chart. Is he going to be retained? Will he be sent to Maine? Will he compete for some sort of role off the bench?
And as for the parameters of the deal…
Johnson makes just under $1.1 million. I’m going to assume Lee is going to make more than $1.6 million this season, which means there will have to be more salary going out. The trade rules for non-tax paying teams allow them to take back 150% of the outgoing salaries plus $100,000. The non-guaranteed Sean Williams contract plus Johnson (this is pure speculation on my part) will equal $2 million. That would allow the Celtics to pay Lee around $3 million with the Rockets letting Williams walk. The C’s could also send cash to cover Johnson’s salary… meaning the Rockets could do this deal for free, while still getting a young player in return.
This is still early, but the Celtics appear to have acquired a main target of the offseason. Nicely done.
UPDATE: The Herald’s Steve Bulpett reports the deal would be for Johnson, Moore, Williams and a pick… but the deal may be in jeopardy. Stay tuned