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Mutual interest between Celtics, Courtney Lee

Posted by Gary Washburn Globe Staff  July 9, 2012 04:16 PM

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ORLANDO -- Free-agent guard Courtney Lee attended the first day of the Orlando Summer League Monday at Amway Center, and he said his meeting with Celtics coach Doc Rivers went well and that his coming to Boston is a matter of an agreeable contract.

The Celtics do not have the salary cap space to sign Lee to a contract for his worth, so the next best option is a sign-and-trade with the Houston Rockets, the team that just pulled Lee's qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent.

Lee, who averaged 11.4 points per game last season for the Rockets, said he is interested the Celtics.

"Me and Doc, we've always had a relationship since I've been in the NBA," he said. "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."

When asked of his most important priority, Lee said: "I want to win. I got a taste of the playoffs and going all the way to the Finals my rookie year (with Orlando in 2009). I want to get back there. Boston, everybody knows their record and what they've accomplished over the years especially with Doc and having KG (Kevin Garnett) and Paul (Pierce), (Rajon) Rondo's still there. So that's a team I feel will win and continue to win. That's one factor in the decision."

Lee, 26, has played four NBA seasons after a storied career at Western Kentucky but was dealt after his rookie season in Orlando to New Jersey in the Vince Carter trade and then was sent to Houston in a four-team deal two years ago. He's a career 38.6 percent 3-point shooter and has come off the bench in 152 of his 287 career games.

He said he is aware the best way to get to Boston is by trade.

"You know Houston and (general manager) Daryl Morey, he loves draft picks, that's one thing that you can do, a sign-and-trade," Lee said. "With having Houston loving draft picks and Boston not having money to be able to pay a player, that could be an option for both teams."

Lee said more than eight teams are interested, including the Dallas Mavericks.

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