Report: Celtics intend to buy out David Lee if they don’t trade him

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The Celtics have been trying to trade David Lee – who hasn’t played in the last 13 games – for a while.

But they’ve found no takers, so they’re preparing a contingency plan.

Howard Beck of Bleacher Report:

Lee’s $15,493,680 salary makes dealing him tricky. Few teams can match that big amount without including a player more valuable than Lee.

But Boston will keep him through the trade deadline in case a high-priced star becomes available. With the Celtics’ most-valuable assets – future draft picks, including the Nets’ – counting $0 in trades, Lee’s contract could help facilitate a deal.

Absent that, a buyout makes some sense.

Lee is owed $5,012,661 after the trade deadline, and he would make $485,031 on a minimum salary the rest of the season – a difference of $4,527,630. How much would he sacrifice for the ability to choose his own team? Boston surely wouldn’t mind letting him go in exchange for a payroll reduction. Based on this report, I wouldn’t be surprised if the amount is already agreed upon.

I’m just not sure where Lee goes. He could probably find a team with less frontcourt depth than the Celtics, who have Jared Sullinger, Amir Johnson, Kelly Olynyk, Jonas Jerebko and Tyler Zeller. But he appears unlikely to crack the rotation of any championship contender. How far down the line must Lee go before finding a team that’ll play him? At age 32, he’s limited.

Before giving up any money, he ought to have a destination lined up. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side.