|Celtics officially waive David Lee||02.19.16 at 5:48 pm ET|
The David Lee era is over in Boston.
The team announced Friday that they have waived the 32-year-old forward/center.
“We thank David for his contributions to our organization and wish him nothing but the best in the future,” said Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge in a statement released Friday afternoon.
Ainge indicated Thursday afternoon that he would sit down and talk about Lee’s future within the next two days and Friday’s transaction would indicate that the two sides were able to reach an amicable buyout agreement. Ainge indicated at the time that Kelly Olynyk’s shoulder injury, which will sideline him for at least two weeks, would not impact Lee’s future in Boston, leading to the assumption that Lee’s days were done in Boston.
The Celtics did not release details of the buyout of the final year of his six-year, $79.5 million contract. Lee was due to be paid $15.49 million this season. If he clears waivers, he becomes a free agent and can sign with any team.
Lee has appeared in 30 contests for the Celtics during the 2015-16 season and averaged 7.1 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists in 15.7 minutes per game over that span. Lee sat the bench the last 18 games with the Celtics and hadn’t played since Jan. 10 at Memphis. Lee recorded a season-high 14 points, to go along with one rebound and one assist, in 15 minutes on Nov. 18 against the Mavericks.
The 6-foot-9 big man was originally acquired by the Celtics last July 27 in a trade from Golden State for Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb. Lee has career averages of 14.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and 2.3 assists over 725 regular season games.
While the NBA trade deadline amounted to just a lot of hot air for the Celtics, Danny Ainge says he nearly pulled the trigger on a blockbuster deal.
The Celtics‘ president of basketball operations said Friday on WEEI’s OM&F that he was ready to execute a big deal for a superstar but that the other team got cold feet at the last moment.
Ainge said there was a lot of discussion about their possession of Brooklyn’s likely lottery pick this June and said he and his staff made a significant offer for a big-name player from an undisclosed team.
“We were close to pulling off what I would classify a big deal,” Ainge said. “But it just didn’t happen. You’ve got to have two [teams] that want to do it. These deals are tough. They’re not easy. It was not a no-brainer for us. A lot of deliberation went on over the last couple of days and we felt it something we should do. But ultimately, the other team we were dealing with just did not want to do it, and I certainly understand why. It’s a tough call.”
Ainge said there was enough productive talks that occurred that could lead to something bigger this summer.
“I think that sometimes these can set the table if there are future conversations off ones that happen in this trade deadline,” Ainge said. “That does happen often. So much of it is going to depend on how good teams play down the stretch. Doing deals at trade deadline are tough. Most of the trade-deadline deals are book-keeping deals, cleaning house, sometimes with a player that doesn’t get along with a coach or team, or they’re preparing for summer, getting draft picks if your team isn’t going so well because of injuries or other things, not living up to expectations, but those are the kind of deals that are done mostly at trade deadline.
“I don’t think it’s a shock or coincidence that no blockbuster deals were done at trade deadline because you have only a third of the season left and it’s really even tough to maximize this last 27-game stretch we have with a new player and trying to implement those type of things and you’re taking one year away. That’s why more of the bigger deals are done in the offseason.”
The Celtics are 32-23 and in third place in the East behind the Cavaliers and Raptors. Ainge said he would’ve like to have added a piece to help the current roster but not at the asking price that was being demanded by several teams.
“There were no really close situations in taking on rentals, no,” Ainge added. “We weren’t selling any of our future assets. A rental for a small price is something that we would have considered. But certainly not a rental for the demanded price. Absolutely not, not even a thought or a close consideration.”
As for his purported adoration for Cleveland’s Kevin Love, Ainge said he laughs at many of the rumors that floated over the last two weeks.
“There’s a lot of misinformation out there and flat out false rumors and interest in certain players,” Ainge said. “I don’t know where the media has their sources because I believe sometimes it’s just completely made up. Kevin is a good player. There’s no question about it. He’s an All-Star. He’s a very good player on a very good team right now.”
Ainge would not mention the names Blake Griffin, Dwight Howard or Al Horford and insists that they were never really on the team’s radar at the Thursday’s deadline. To hear the entire interview on OM&F, click here.
|Danny Ainge will sit down with David Lee ‘in next 24-48 hours’||02.18.16 at 7:23 pm ET|
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge said Thursday in the post-deadline conference call that he plans to discuss the options for both Lee and the team after Ainge was unable to execute a deal to send Lee and his $15.49 million contract out of town.
“We’ll sit down with David and his representatives and have some conversation about what’s best for us and what’s best for David in the next 24-48 hours,” Ainge said.
Lee, who hasn’t left the bench for any action in the last 18 games, is represented by Mark Bartelstein. Since the Celtics weren’t able to trade him, Lee is an eligible candidate to be bought out. Lee is averaging a career-low 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds in 30 games this season.
The game before the All-Star break, forward Kelly Olynyk injured his right shoulder. That injury would appear — on the surface — to possibly have changed Ainge’s thinking on Lee. But Ainge made it clear Thursday that’s not the case at all.
“I’m not sure that Kelly’s injury has much to do with that,” Ainge said, adding to the likelihood that Ainge will make every effort to pursue a buyout and cut Lee free and let him hook on with a playoff-bound team that might be willing to pick up a 32-year-old power forward.
|Danny Ainge: ‘There were no deals good enough to do’||at 4:49 pm ET|
Danny Ainge needed to have his socks knocked off to relinquish the likely Brooklyn lottery pick coming his way in June. And in the end, his socks stayed on.
“I think that everybody knows what the value of those picks are and I think everybody in the league would like to have a pick in the top echelon of the draft, but there’s certainly players that would be worth trading an unknown draft pick for right now,” Ainge said in a conference call just over an hour after the 3 p.m. deadline passed without the Celtics pulling the trigger on any deals.
There was plenty of speculation that the Celtics were in on talks to acquire Dwight Howard, Kevin Love or Al Horford. While not mentioning any of those players by name Thursday, Ainge indicated that he did have talks over players that would make him consider trading the Brooklyn pick.
“We did have some discussion in regard to that,” he said. “There are some players that did get our attention and some that did not get our attention in regards to that pick.”
In all, the Celtics have three first-round picks as it stands now. Ainge was asked if he sees a scenario where he’s comfortable making that pick at the draft in June.
“Of course,” Ainge answered. “Why wouldn’t I be? Why would I not be comfortable making that pick? We’ll continue through the rest of spring and summer and look at both options. We’ll be prepared to draft and be listening to offers at the draft.”
|Report: Celtics called Clippers about Blake Griffin||02.16.16 at 11:42 am ET|
Will the Celtics make a huge move at the trade deadline?
According to the Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett, the Celtics have been one of a number of teams to call the Clippers about Blake Griffin. But, Bulpett adds while the Clippers are listening, they have no real intention of moving him.
Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge spoke with Bulpett about the team’s goals as Thursday’s deadline approaches. It appears the Celtics are looking at the big picture.
“When I’m looking at players out there, I’m looking at players that can make a big difference,” Ainge said to Bulpett. “Not players that can win us two games or anything like that. That’s not my objective.
“Our objective is not to keep us in the No. 3 seed in the East and maybe move up a bit, other than that’s our players’ objective and that’s our coaches’ objective. I think those are amazing goals, and it’s been fun watching this team compete and beating some of the good teams along the way. But our objective is to put together a team that can compete for championships.
“Listen, we’re just a few games from being at seven or eight, and it wasn’t too long ago that we were the ninth seed in the East. So, no, I don’t pay that much attention to the standings. I look more at how we’re playing and where our holes are and what we need to do.”
For more Celtics news, visit weei.com/celtics.
|Danny Ainge says he won’t be afraid to deal Brooklyn pick||02.05.16 at 9:09 am ET|
Appearing on Thursday’s Dale & Holley with Thornton, Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge offered some clarity as to his approach toward the upcoming NBA trade deadline.
The most pressing question: Will Ainge be willing to include the Brooklyn Nets’ 2016 first-round pick — which the Celts own — in a potential deal?
“Sure. The Brooklyn pick could be had for the right person,” Ainge noted. “It’s going to be a costly price, as it would be for some of our best players. Look, we’re not looking to trade the Brooklyn pick, but at the same time, I could certainly see some things that we would do for the Brooklyn pick. And they wouldn’t be taking risks.
“We value [the Brooklyn pick]. Even the chance, even a small chance to get a very talented player is worth [keeping the pick] because you have some chance. And you can’t just give up a chance to get a really good player unless [it’s] for another really good player.”
Ainge added, “It would have to be, certainly, a very good player. And also it probably wouldn’t be someone in their 30s. That would have to be a good young player, because again, even if we had a 5 percent or a 10 percent or a 15 percent chance at one of the top picks in the draft, that’s worth keeping.”
Brooklyn has the third-worst record in the NBA at 12-38, with the Sixers (7-42) and Lakers (11-41) the only two teams with fewer wins. The Suns (14-37) and Timberwolves (15-38) are next on the list after the Nets.
Danny Ainge with Dale, Holley and Thornton
|Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge has spoken to forward David Lee about his future||02.01.16 at 3:24 pm ET|
Lee, who has not played in the last 12 games, is a free agent after the season. The 6-foot-9 power forward has lost his spot in the rotation with the Celtics deciding to shift to a smaller lineup featuring the versatile Jae Crowder at the 4.
Both Ainge and head coach Brad Stevens have praised Lee’s willingness to make the best of what everyone recognizes is a less-than-ideal situation. The 32-year-old former All-Star is a skilled scorer in the post, but not necessarily a fit in Stevens’ offense, which is built more around ball movement and 3-point shooting.
“All the success he has had in the NBA ‘¦ he has dealt with it right,” Ainge told CSNNE.com. “He knows an opportunity is going to come to him at some points. He’s staying ready.”
Ainge declined to disclose what he told Lee’s camp, and there are no indications the forward has requested a trade in advance of the Feb. 18 trade deadline.
Lee is averaging 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He’s only two years removed from going for 18.2 and 9.3 in Golden State.
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