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Brad Stevens sends congrats text to the revitalized David Lee in Dallas 02.29.16 at 6:34 pm ET
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David Lee (42) has found new life in Dallas. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

David Lee (42) has found new life in Dallas. (Matthew Emmons/USA Today Sports)

Brad Stevens has absolutely no hard feelings when it comes to David Lee. As a matter of fact, he’s very happy that the veteran big man has landed on his feet in Dallas. 

Lee, who was bought out of his final season of his contract ($15 million) the day after the trading deadline, has contributed in a big way off the Mavericks’ bench almost immediately. He scored 13 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 22 minutes in a 128-101 win Sunday in Dallas. Two nights earlier, he had 14 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes in a 122-116 win over the Nuggets. Dallas is 32-28 and tied for sixth in the West.  

“I just sent a text after I saw [Sunday]. I watched a little bit of the comeback against Denver,” Stevens said before Monday’s game against the Jazz. “It was a great game. It was a great win for them. Just saw [Sunday] night and they won looks like pretty handily. As much as you go through with everybody and guys play or don’t play, whatever the case may be, you want everybody that leaves here to do well. So, we’re rooting for him to do well and happy for how he’s started.”  

Stevens still insists it was hard for him to wave goodbye to Lee, who didn’t play at all in his final 18 games in Boston. 

“It was really hard, and it was really hard for him, It’s harder on him than anybody else,” Stevens said. “But we talked about it a lot. We didn’t have hardly any injuries with our bigs and we had a lot of bigs, especially at the end of games, we’re going to be in relatively the same position. It put a lot of guys on the bench, and it was different guys at different times. To his credit, when we eventually settled on playing others, he handled it really well, and kudos to him. I’m happy he’s doing well.”

Lee told reporters over the weekend that part of the reason for his resurgence is that he’s in better game shape than in Boston, where he didn’t play in 21 of his last 22 games. 

“I don’t know if that’s semantics or how he meant to say it,” Stevens said. “I think the biggest thing that he was probably saying there was was that when you’re not playing you have to find other ways to stay ready. Maybe I’m wrong but I think he certainly took diet. He worked out hard. He worked out hard enough that if he would’ve played, he would’ve been gassed in the games. Sometimes, you can’t do that if you’re going to be playing 15 minutes a night. He was going two or three times hard a day during that stretch. So no, I wasn’t frustrated by it. In fact, I thought it set a pretty good example for the other guys who weren’t playing.”


Read More: Boston Celtics, Brad Stevens, Dallas Mavericks, David Lee
Celtics officially waive David Lee 02.19.16 at 5:48 pm ET
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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.

Read More: Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, David Lee,
Danny Ainge will sit down with David Lee ‘in next 24-48 hours’ 02.18.16 at 7:23 pm ET
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It sure sounds like David Lee and the Celtics are getting ready to part ways.

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.

Read More: 2016 NBA trade deadline, Boston Celtics, Danny Ainge, David Lee
Report: Celtics trying to trade David Lee – and his contract – before trade deadline 02.15.16 at 1:48 pm ET
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The Celtics are reportedly trying to move David Lee (42) before the trade deadline. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)

The Celtics are reportedly trying to move David Lee (42) before the trade deadline. (Justin Ford/USA TODAY Sports)

While Celtics players continue to get their rest over the All-Star break, their general manager enters his busiest week of the season. President of basketball operations Danny Ainge is not just listening to offers for his three first-round picks this June while building his roster for a deep playoff run, he’s trying to move players.

The biggest challenge this week for Ainge might be what to do with center David Lee. His skills might still be valuable to a team that needs depth in the middle.

And while that would certainly seem to be a perfect fit for the team he’s currently on, the Celtics, like every team that has had him, would like to be free of the contract.

Specifically, Lee’s cap hit is $15,493,680, is easily the highest on the Celtics and the sixth-highest such figure among power forwards in the NBA, behind the likes of Chris Bosh ($22.1 million), LeMarcus Aldridge ($19.6 million), Kevin Love ($19.6 million), Blake Griffin ($18.9 million) and Paul Millsap ($18.6 million).

Lee has started just four of 30 games this season, averaging just 7.1 points and 4.3 rebounds while shooting a career-low 45.3 percent from the field. He hasn’t played since Jan. 10 at Memphis and has been a DNP for the last 18 games. 

Now 32, Lee is in the final year of a six-year, $79.5 million deal he signed with the Knicks in 2010, using the Bird exception. The Boston Herald reports that Ainge is unlikely to move Lee before Thursday’s NBA trade deadline.

David Lee was tough for Golden State to move all of last year,” the Herald reported, citing a league source. “And it finally came down to him being moved for Gerald Wallace. David Lee has no value. It’€™s his contract. David Lee‘€™s value comes in if they get one of these big name players.”

The Celtics acquired Lee and his expiring contract last summer from the world champion Golden State Warriors, sending Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb to Golden State. If Ainge can’t move Lee, the forward could accept a buyout from the Celtics by Mar. 1, allowing him to sign with another team in time for the playoffs.

Read More: 2016 NBA trade deadline, Boston Celtics, David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Report: Celtics boss Danny Ainge has spoken to forward David Lee about his future 02.01.16 at 3:24 pm ET
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According to a report from CSNNE, Celtics president Danny Ainge has spoken to representatives for forward David Lee about his future with the team.

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.

Read More: Celtics, Danny Ainge, David Lee, NBA Trade Deadline
Studs and Duds: Balanced Celtics beat Bulls, brace for Warriors 12.09.15 at 9:53 pm ET
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Eight Celtics scored in double figures, overcoming 41.3 percent shooting and winning for the first time when allowing 100 points, beating the Bulls, 105-100.

Isaiah Thomas finished scoreless in the first half, and then totaled 20 points in the final two quarters to lead the C’s in scoring. Kelly Olynyk netted 15 points, Evan Turner and Jae Crowder each added 13, Amir Johnson and David Lee both dropped 12 and Jared Sullinger and Avery Bradley totaled 10 apiece.

The Celtics improved to 13-9 and tied the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division. Only the Cavaliers (14-7) have more wins in the East. The Celtics will have a chance to snap Golden State’s 23-0 start at home on Friday night.

On Wednesday, Bulls guard Jimmy Butler led all scorers with 36 points.

For a complete box score, click here. To go beyond the box, read on.

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Read More: Boston Celtics, Chicago Bulls, David Lee, NBA
David Lee on cold start with Celtics: ‘I have to be better finishing the ball’ 11.04.15 at 1:56 pm ET
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It’s way too early to panic.

But in his first three games in Boston, David Lee is averaging 5.3 points and shooting 25 percent from the floor. The Celtics suffered two losses against two good teams (Raptors and Spurs) last week, and haven’t gotten much offensive production out of their newcomer.

Lee isn’t making excuses. He acknowledged his shortcomings after Sunday’s loss against San Antonio.

“I’m out here thinking more than I’m playing, and that’s by no means an excuse,” Lee said Sunday. “I have to be better finishing the ball. That’s what I do. I think I’ve shot 50 percent or better for the last decade. If I’m a betting man, I’m thinking I’m going to snap out of it here.”

For his career, Lee has shot 53.2 percent from the floor. Just last season, Lee averaged below double digits in points for the first time since his rookie season. But still managed to shoot 51 percent in 18 minutes.

Expectations were somewhat high when the Celtics acquired Lee. Fresh off winning an NBA title as a backup on the Warriors, Lee was coming into a great situation. No one thought he would go back to being the All-Star he was a few years back, but in a starter’s role with a young Celtics core, it was fair to expect improvement from last season. At age 32, he still has plenty of basketball left in the tank.

On Sunday against the Spurs, Lee scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting, missed a jump shot and failed to tip in a rebound (twice), then Tim Duncan stuffed his shot so badly that it left him sitting on TD Garden’s new parquet floor. It was a rough game for Lee.

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