BOSTON — Courtney Lee sounded resigned to his fate with trade rumors swirling on Wednesday, with several reports all but putting the veteran guard in Houston, along with Brandon Bass and a first-round draft pick, in a deal that would bring Omer Asik to Boston.
Lee and Bass may not want to start packing their bags quite yet, though.
A report by Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald posted late Wednesday night declared that the alleged trade talks are nowhere near as serious as they had been made out to be. Bulpett called the Celtics “spectators” in the Asik sweepstakes and clarified that the reported offer was made by the Celtics last week, when Rockets general manager Daryl Morey turned it down.
“The Celtics were one of the teams that sought to be involved when Asik became available,” Bulpett writes. “But, according to an executive from another club, Danny Ainge has set the price he’s willing to pay and isn’t interested in overspending.”
The week-old negotiations became public Wednesday, according to Bulpett, because Morey was trying to drum up interest for Asik. The Rockets are determined to trade Asik by a self-imposed Thursday deadline so they can turn around and trade the players they acquire from that deal later in the season. But the Celtics apparently cut off trade talks after Houston declined last week’s offer and have “made no move” toward a deal since then.
The sources are unnamed, but most likely extremely strong. Bulpett has shot down a number of reports by national writers about trades that supposedly were in the works for the Celtics in the past, and he has generally be correct.
“The Celtics were not deep in talks with the Rockets [Wednesday],” Bulpett writes. “They were not negotiating over which first-round draft pick would be included in the deal or how well protected that pick would be. According to a source from a team that has been involved in the process and dropped out, the next move would have to come from the Rockets.”
Which, so far, it hasn’t.