Tag:Courtney Lee
Posted on: January 29, 2012 3:30 pm
Edited on: January 29, 2012 3:39 pm
 

Rockets' Lee: Airbag saved my life in car wreck

Courtney Lee OK after late-night car crash. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver 

A member of the Houston Rockets is glad to be alive following a late-night car crash on Saturday.

The Associated Press reports that Rockets guard Courtney Lee's vehicle was reportedly struck by another car following a Saturday night home win over the New York Knicks
Rockets guard Courtney Lee said he was uninjured after his car was struck by another vehicle after Saturday night's game against the New York Knicks. 

Rockets spokesman Nelson Luis said Sunday that Lee contacted a team security guard to tell him he was OK.
Lee wrote the following message on his Twitter account -- @CourtneyLee2211 -- early Sunday morning: "Thanking God right now!!! Thanking Cadillac for airbags!! Without them I could have lost my life tonight and two others close to me."

Lee, 26, is averaging 9.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 23.8 minutes per game off of Houston's bench this season.

Earlier this week, the Rockets opted not to offer a contract extension to Lee, a first round pick in the 2008 NBA Draft. He is now on track to become a restricted free agent in the summer, pending a qualifying offer from Houston.
Posted on: June 23, 2011 10:21 am
Edited on: June 23, 2011 11:33 am
 

Rockets looking to trade up in draft for big man

Posted by Matt Moore

The Houston Rockets may have a dilemma at their spot, but they have no intention of hanging around to bite their fingernails over it. CBSSports.com's Ken Berger reports that the Rockets are shopping their two first-round picks, the No. 14 and No. 23, in order to move into the top ten. Specifically, Berger reports that talks have opened with the Detroit Pistons in a two-for-one swap that would allow the Rockets to get what they really want: a big man. Berger reports that late-riser Tristan Thompson is at the top of the list, along with Congolese phenom Bismack Biyombo.

The Pistons don't have an outstanding need beyond getting rid of their locker room-cancer vets, so this makes sense. It puts the Pistons in a position to gain more depth without getting stuck with a pick that's too good not to take, but only in a draft this low on star power. Still, that eight spot will have one of several good prospects available, especially with some of the reaches being discussed. However, it sounds like Detroit's not the only team Houston is chatting with in an attempt to move up. 

The Racine Journal-Times reports that the Rockets are also talking to the Bucks about the No. 10 pick, and this one is more than just a pick-swap, there are players involved: 
The teams have tossed around different trade scenarios with Bucks forward Ersan Ilyasova being prominently mentioned.

It's hardly a secret the Bucks would be interested in Rockets forward Patrick Patterson, whom the Bucks were hoping to land in last summer's draft.
The Bucks could also have interest in Rockets forwards Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, yet another player they liked in the 2009 draft.
via BUCKS NOTES: Milwaukee, Houston discussing a deal.

Ilyasova is a promising all-around player still with upside at 24, and would give the Rockets a talented big man to pair with Luis Scola. Patterson seems like a high cost, though, as he showed a world of potential in his rookie season. Budinger is just the kind of player that GM Daryl Morey often raises the value of and then sells high on, while Hill is still somewhat of a project. Draft Express reports that the Rockets may have sweetened their deal by including Courtney Lee, which would likely get the Bucks' interest considering their desperate need for backcourt depth.

The Rockets' pursuit of a big man makes all the sense in the world, considering Yao Ming's highly questionable return to Houston and their glaring need for height. Thompson makes for an odd fit next to Luis Scola, but Thompson has been the one player who has made the hardest charge up the draft rankings in the past 24 hours, with some reports pegging him as high as No. 4. Biyombo on the other hand is a freak athlete with great work ethic and the <a href="http://www.draftexpress.com/nba-pre-draft-measurements/?year=2011&sort2=DESC&draft=0&pos=0&source=All&sort=5" target="_blank">second-greatest wingspan of any prospect in the draft. Fellow workout prospect Chris Singleton described Biyombo as being able to scratch his knees standing up yesterday, which is just circus-clown freaky.

The Rockets need a homerun. In a draft without really any of those types of pitches, the Rockets seem dedicated to fighting their way into the batter's box anyway.
Posted on: February 15, 2011 2:59 pm
 

Trade Deadline: CLee is concerned, confident

Courtney Lee is concerned about the trade deadline but knows it's out of his hands. 
Posted by Matt Moore

Courtney Lee would do well to write a book about his first three years in the league. He's gone through a good sampling of the emotional highs and lows for an average NBA player during the course of his career, in a very short amount of time. Drafted by Orlando and not expected to provide much, Lee wound up being a huge part of the Magic's run to the Finals. He was athletic, he was versatile, he hit big shots. He looked like a huge building block for the Magic. Then the Finals, particularly, Game 2. He was this close to winning Game 2 for the Magic on an improbably alley-oop. He couldn't convert what was a near-impossible play. But everything changed for Lee after that.

He was traded to New Jersey in the Vince Carter deal, and only narrowly avoided being a part of one of the worst teams in NBA history. Then this season he was traded to Houston, where he's become a solid role player. He's shooting 42% from the arc and averaging 15 points and 4 rebounds per 36 minutes.  Still, with Houston expected to be active at the deadline in looking for deals, he could be on the move again. No rocket is immovable right now. And that's something that concerns him. From the Houston Chronicle
Rockets guard Courtney Lee, who had been traded after each of his first two NBA seasons, said he is concerned with the trade deadline next week, but will be fine either way. "I'm happy," Lee said. "I've been traded twice so that doesn't faze me at all. Wherever I'm at, I enjoy. I'm going to be a professional and work hard. If that leads me to be somewhere else, I'll do the same."
via Rockets notes: Lee concerned before trade deadline | NBA Basketball | Chron.com - Houston Chronicle.

Lee's saying all the right things, but he was unhappy when he was traded to the Nets, and having been traded twice now, he's got to be getting sick of it. It's not like he's a bust. Just for reference, Hasheem Thabeet can't seem to get out of town, but Courtney Lee gets swapped like a pog. This whole thing makes little sense sometimes. 

The biggest knocks on Lee are a limited set of athleticism and the fact that he's a third year player and 25-years-old. Basically, his ceiling is low. But at the same time, he's shown a remarkable ability to step up and make big plays. Defensively, time in a stable system could push him along considerably. The Magic didn't think he was worth enough to keep, but then, the Magic also thought Vince Carter would be the thing to put them over the top. So obviously things don't always work out how they think. 
Lee's going to be sweating through the trade deadline, hoping for some stability in his career. Too much movement can kill your ability to get comfortable, stay confident, and play through it. It's getting used to new coworkers every six months and having to figure out what a new boss wants from you, without any leverage. It's a rough way to work, even if it is getting paid millions to play basketball. 
Posted on: September 23, 2010 4:38 pm
 

Preseason Primer: Houston Rockets

Posted by Matt Moore

The Rockets finally have Yao Ming healthy. They finally have Tracy McGrady out of their hair. They finally have the pieces together to make another run. But can any of the pieces fit together? Are they really as dangerous as everyone says they are? Does speaking in rhetorical questions make you want to read this, our next selection in our Preseason Primers ? Let's find out as we talk about the Rox.


Training camp site: Houston, TX (Hidalgo, TX in early October)

Training camp starts: September 25th

Key additions: Brad Miller (free agent), Courtney Lee (trade), Patrick Patterson (draft)

Key subtractions: Trevor Ariza (trade), David Andersen (trade)

Likely starting lineup:
Aaron Brooks (PG), Kevin Martin (SG), Shane Battier (SF), Luis Scola (PF), Yao Ming (C)

Player to watch:
Patrick Patterson. Assuming the Rox don't go all nuts and acquire Carmelo Anthony during camp, their starting lineup is pretty well set. But Patterson is a rookie who comes out of that ridiculous Kentucky class and could wind up being the kind of flex player that makes a big impression on Rick Adelman. He's versatile, strong, has a good mid-range, and can work inside of a complex offense. He's got a great opportunity to make an impact for the Rockets during camp.


Chemistry quiz:
The Rockets have seemed like a team that's liked one another for years. They hung together when Yao Ming went down, and their samurai-like approach last year was noble, even if it fell short. Basically, even without the star talent you need to win in this league, the Rockets were the team you didn't want to run into in a dark alley. They were tough, gritty, and hung together. The addition of Kevin Martin, trying to reassert himself as a premier player in this league could cause issues, and there's no telling if the same goodwill will maintain with as many changes as the Rockets have made in the past two years. But the core elements are in place, and the tone of camp should be fun and focused, instead of contentious and tense. Not having solified expectations due to Yao's injury should help with manners as well.


Camp battles:
Small forward was set to be a huge battle but promising second year man Chase Budinger tweaked an ankle and won't be able to battle old man Battier for the slot left open by Trevor Ariza's departure. Jermaine Taylor, Courtney Lee, and Jared Jeffries should have a good one for the backup role behind Martin. Jordan Hill vs. Patterson should make for a nice one as well, with Hill's scrap versus Patterson's finesse providing contrast in style.

Injury issues:
Budinger's ankle is significant, but other than that the Rockets seem really healthy and don't have any pro...OH, YEAH. Yao Ming is coming back from an injury that's held him out for a year and a half and is trying to just stay on the floor while the rest of the team holds its breath everytime his feet leave the ground. camp.

Biggest strength:
Doin' work. The Rockets put in a full effort every night, a testament to both the roster assembled and Rick Adelman's job. They lacked an identity last year without Yao, but it did help them to adjust to whatever they faced. The Rockets can get out and run, or grind it out. They're really best when they're doing both. They'll battle for every loose ball and every player knows his role. It's a strong team they've put together.

Glaring weakness:
Three point shooting. Brooks isn't an efficient shooter. Martin's three point shooting dropped off a cliff last season. Budinger can shoot, but the rest of the team isn't great from the arc, including backup point guard Kyle Lowry.
Posted on: August 13, 2010 12:24 pm
 

Houston's not done trading yet

"" Posted by Royce Young

When the Rockets traded Trevor Ariza in a four-team deal that brought Courtney Lee to Houston, most saw it as a salary dump with one decent player replacing another decent player. The Rockets saved some $10 million this season , snagged a valuable $6.3 million trade exception and also cleared a logjam at small forward while upgrading its backcourt depth.

But it doesn't sound like they're done.

"Obviously one of our stated goals is that at some point -- and who knows when the opportunity will arise -- we want to make a move for a star, who comes loose like Boston did in trading for Kevin Garnett a few years ago," general manager Daryl Morey told the Houston Chronicle. "Those opportunities don't come along often, but if something comes along like that, it's something we have to look at. And we feel like we're in a similar or better situation to get those kinds of things done after this trade than before."

By freeing up some money in the Ariza deal, Houston now has that ability. The trade exception is huge in trying to make a blockbuster deal, plus the extra money saved because the Rockets won't bust into the luxury tax area will please owner Leslie Alexander.

As Morey said, landing that marquee star isn't easy. He made a strong run at Chris Bosh this offseason before the star power forward turned him down to go to Miami instead. The market is a little thin on tradeable stars right now, but eventually you'll find some team in financial distress looking to dump a contract. Or just a team ready to cut ties and start over with cap space and assets.

Ariza was never a perfect fit for Rick Adelman's system in Houston and wasn't ever going to blossom into that star the Rockets are looking for. So Morey cut his losses, took back a player that's not quite equal to Ariza's talent but that is someone that will help the team, plus grabbed some flexibility and the trade exception. It's what good general managers do. And an example why Morey is one of the best.

Posted on: August 12, 2010 5:18 pm
Edited on: August 12, 2010 9:16 pm
 

Blog talk: 4-way trade

A look around the web at reactions to the 4-way trade between the Hornets, Rockets, Nets, and Pacers.
Posted by Matt Moore

Indiana Pacers

Pacers blog Indy Cornrows is breathing a heavy sigh of relief as the team has finally begun to construct a roster for the future, after years of band-aids on bullet holes:

"The second major area of relief addressed was adding a point guard who isn't just a one-season rental or a stop-gap point guard until someone better surface. Darren Collison is a young and vibrant point guard who instantly energizes the backcourt and fits in well with the other young core pieces the Pacers have assembled.

Plus, the risk on Collison is minimal since he has three years remaining on his rookie contract. If things work out as planned, he's extremely valuable from a production per dollar view. If the worst case situation plays out and Collison doesn't pan out, his minimal salary doesn't become an anchor on the salary cap for the Pacers to move on.

Exhale."

Teams trying to acquire a legitimate point guard never get this lucky. You either have to overpay in assets or money, and often both. For the Pacers to have acquired a player with neither limitation nor cost, that's quite a coup. 8 Points 9 seconds touches base on how it's relevant that Collison brings the right attitude to "running the team."

"Celebrate, Pacers fans. This is a good, good, good day. The team has a point guard. I never thought this day would come. Best part? Darren is just the perfect combination of youth, talent, mentality (he wants to show the world he belongs among the better PGs on this league) and drive to run this team at a very high level immediately. I’m sure he enjoyed picking up a thing or two from Chris Paul, but he must be ecstatic to have “his” team. And with only Granger and Hibbert as established team cornerstones for the future, he can immediately put his mark on the ball club."

 

And that aspect is why it's important the Jim O'Brien makes it clear the team is headed for a youth movement and not allow the same kind of veteran preference overshadow the need to put the youth on the floor. The Paces also feature a solid four-man rotation in the backcourt with Collison, Brandon Rush, Lance Stephenson, and A.J. Price. Also, there's no word on if the celebration in Indiana will feature a hoe-down. (I'm not mocking. I'm from Arkansas. I respect a good hoe-down.)

Houston Rockets

The Dream Shake lays out the biggest reason this trade works for the Rockets. It removes a logjam at small forward and allows Shane Battier to return to the rotation in heavy minutes.

"While some may argue that Trevor Ariza is the better player than Lee, that's not really my concern. Rather, I'm focused on how Lee fits with the roster, because that's what ultimately matters most. He's perfect for the free-flowing offense that Rick Adelman will likely employ with the second unit, much in the way that Shane Battier was a terrible fit for such a unit. Lee's presence frees up Battier to start once again, where he is much more comfortable. Make no mistake: Battier starting again is a good thing. He may have suffered through an ankle injury last season, but his style of play is not such that it will be affected by his aging. He is an intangibles player, much in the way Lee is. If anything, I'm excited that Lee will be able to learn from Battier"

Lee is often criticized for having limited upside.  I'd argue that his upside manifests itself not in terms of increased points and assists, but in the kind of things The Dream Shake hints at, the defense and savvy attributes that Battier represents.

New Jersey Nets

Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching thinks the best thing about the Nets' acquisition of Troy Murphy is his expiring contract, which gives them not only flexibility next summer, but the ability to "flip" Murphy before the deadline if a marquee upgrade becomes available to teams with cap space.

""At the start of next season, the Nets are going to have both Murphy and Humphries coming off the books, plus they are saving what Courtney Lee would be making next year ($2,225,093).  This means that they are going to have somewhere in the area of $15 to $16 million worth of cap space to work with next year, when a certain indecisive forward in Denver becomes a free agent.  Even if the Nets don’t make a run at Carmelo, they have a lot of money to continue adding pieces to their roster.  In addition to the cap space next year, Murphy’s contract is going to be very attractive to teams at the trade deadline, and if Favors is playing well enough, I can see the Nets flipping Murphy for some young talent/trade exceptions/draft picks."

It's strange to see Murphy headed to the Nets in such a salary-shifter role, considering he was one of the more sought-after offensive weapons at last year's deadline. In the interim, he should be able to provide some help, most notably taking pressure off of Derrick Favors to come in as gangbusters, which is a really good thing considering how raw Favors is:

"From a roster standpoint, the Nets now have a power forward who can come in right away and be “the guy” at the spot.  Murphy, the New Jersey native, is going to be the opening day starter, no question about it.  So what does that do to the rest of the front court?  It makes Derrick Favors the back-up, and this is probably the best scenario for him in terms of development. "

New Orleans Hornets

Hornets 247 reports on an underrated element of this trade , that head coach Monty Williams has done terrific work with similarly long versatile small forwards in Portland, which could spell good things for Ariza in New Orleans.

"It also has to be noted that this is the exact kind of small forward that new coach Monty Williams will love to work with. By all accounts he did wonders with Nicolas Batum and Travis Outlaw while he was in Portland and Ariza is further along in his game than either of those players were when Monty started working with them. Once Peja is moved, the Hornets will have two defensive minded small forwards in Pondexter and Ariza that will be able to hound players on the defensive end, fill lanes and finish in transition, and knock down the wide open threes that CP3 will be able to provide."

At The Hive, on the other hand, isn't nearly as impressed with the trade, being frustrated with not getting more for what they consider a future star in Darren Collison.

"At the end of the day, I simply expected more for Darren Collison. I thought his value was higher and that Trevor Ariza's, after an underwhelming first year in Houston, was lower. The fact that Houston received nothing more than Courtney Lee in the transaction is pretty telling."
Posted on: August 11, 2010 5:29 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 5:46 pm
 

Breaking down the 4-team trade

Posted by Royce Young and Matt Moore

Here's how today's 4-team trade breaks down for each team.

New Orleans Hornets

Sent: Darren Collison, James Posey
Received: Trevor Ariza, sweet, sweet flexibility

Dell Demps wasn't about to sit around with the Hornets roster as-is and hope it was good enough to settle Chris Paul down. He went right to work with building for the future. Today's trade netted the Hornets Trevor Ariza, but surrendered Darren Collison. It's likely Demps will take Heat for giving up on a player that averaged 16.1 and 7.4 per 36 minutes last season in a backup role, as a rookie. But in reality, this was a solid win for New Orleans, because it gave Demps what he needs in order to start turning the Hornets into a real contender. Flexibility.

That flexibility starts in the other player they sent to Indiana in this trade, James Posey. Posey had two years and $13.4 million left on his contract for a soon-to-be-34-year-old player that scored 5.2 points per game and shot 37% from the field last season. Posey and Peja Stojakovic make up the bulk of the remaining albatross contracts on New Orleans, older players with massive contracts. Moving Posey clears not only the money but the roster space.

Acquiring Trevor Ariza locks them into a long-term deal, but it's for a 25-year-old wing that can defend and carries a lot more value. Ariza's production plummeted last season, largely due to trying to take on more than he's capable of handling. But alongside David West and Emeka Okafor as a weapon for Chris Paul, he could regain some measure of the ability that landed him that contract in the first place. And if not, moving Ariza at 24 will be much easier than Posey.

Moving Collison is a risky maneuver, but having your second or third best player at the same position as your best player creates complications. This move gets rid of one of the albatross contracts and gains a talented player. Allowing them to ditch Julian Wright is a perk of the deal.

Demps knows the only way to get the Hornets on the right track is to create flexibility. If you want to make a flexible omelet, you gotta break a few eggs. --M.M.

Indiana Pacers

Sent: Troy Murphy
Received: Darren Collison, James Posey

If there was a clear-cut winner in this deal (and we think each team won), the Pacers are it. Point guard is a vital position in this league. Outside of the Lakers (whose system doesn't require an elite point guard), nearly every serious contender has a legitimate top-flight point guard. And the Pacers' point guard situation has been an outright disaster for years. T.J. Ford was thought to be the answer, and that didn't work out so much. Furthermore, they lived in point-mediocrity while refusing to commit to a true youth movement.

Well a new day is dawning in in Indy.

With the addition of Collison, the Pacers get a scoring-point who can also distribute to the options they've acquired in the draft, along with Danny Granger. Troy Murphy was one of several expirings they have, so they're still looking at a wealth of movable options to upgrade before the deadline. They specifically needed an upgrade at point guard and definitely got it. Even if Collison takes a step back while keeping his turnover ratio as high as it was, he's still a significant upgrade, and one who is only 23.

Posey's contract is a pain, but it's possible a buyout could be arranged, and if not, they're still losing enough salary to make them players in free agency next season. More importantly, a revised CBA with a stricter tact won't hurt them as severely. The Pacers now feature Collison, Lance Stephenson, Paul George, Brandon Rush, Roy Hibbert, and Tyler Hansbrough as significant rotation players they've drafted or acquired. It's a roster with flexibility and upside. It may not be a playoff team, but it's a team headed in the right direction that finally solved its biggest riddle. --M.M .

Houston Rockets

Sent: Trevor Ariza
Received: Courtney Lee

Yes, swapping Ariza for Lee seems like a downgrade in talent. But when you consider the Rockets' payroll just swelled to around $81 million after the signing of Luis Scola, Brad Miller and Kyle Lowry, it's pretty clear Houston wanted to dump some salary. The Rockets were about to be stamped with a $10 million or more luxury tax hit, so this deal saves them almost $30 million overall and about $10 million this season when you factor in the luxury tax. Houston isn't a franchise that attempts to operate on the cheap, but in this NBA financial climate, any time you can cut major costs all while not hurting the team, it's a pretty good plan.

But don't write it off from a non-basketball standpoint either. This wasn't only a business move. Lee is a player that at his $1.2 million salary, is a pretty good bargain. He can defend three positions, can shoot the 3 and on a good night, put up solid numbers. The Rockets wanted to move around a bit to make more room for Shane Battier and make Kevin Martin the go-to offensive weapon. Now with Ariza gone - a player that liked to shoot - Martin becomes the focus along with Aaron Brooks and the backcourt gets a little deeper. Houston will miss Ariza's hot scoring nights, but with Martin, Brooks, Scola and the return of Yao Ming, they'll likely be able to pick up the slack fine. --R.Y.

New Jersey Nets

Sent: Courtney Lee
Received: Troy Murphy

Most are going to say the Pacers came out shining in this trade, but the Nets are really the quiet winners. Murphy is a fantastic player that is almost a guaranteed double-double every night. He's a guy that will help make the team competitive, all while the organization grooms the No. 3 overall pick Derrick Favors, who is only 19, to grow into a starting role. Plus, a bonus: Murphy is in the final year of a $12 million deal so New Jersey has a healthy amount of cash coming off the books.

The Nets signed Anthony Morrow in the offseason so Lee immediately became expendable. Yi Jianlian moved to Washington clearing space in the frontcourt. So even with Murphy, Favors still sees ample playing time, Morrow steps in for Lee and the Nets roster just got a little tune-up. A few pieces were shuffled around but in the end, the Nets are a better, more well-structured team. Brook Lopez and Murphy will likely work really well together, Morrow fills the gap left by Lee and Favors isn't rushed into anything. A smart move all around for New Jersey. --R.Y.
 
 
 
 
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