The Golden State Warriors have traded forward David Lee to the Boston Celtics in exchange for forward Gerald Wallace and guard Chris Babb, the team announced today.
“On behalf of the entire Golden State Warriors organization, we thank David Lee for his contributions both on and off the court over the last five years,” said Warriors General Manager Bob Myers. “Throughout his time with the Warriors, David was a great player, competitor and presence in our locker room as well as in the community and was a stabilizing force during a period that saw many positive changes within the organization. Most importantly, he leaves Golden State as an NBA champion. We wish him nothing but the best in the next chapter of his career.”
“We are excited to welcome David as a member of the Celtics family,” said President of Basketball Operations Danny Ainge. “His proven skill set and experience on a championship team will add valuable depth to our frontcourt and a veteran presence to our locker room.”
According to the Boston Globe, “Before acquiring Lee, the Celtics had not made any significant steps forward improving their place in the Eastern Conference. They were being passed by teams such as Orlando, Charlotte, and Indiana, all of which made stirring roster upgrades over the past two weeks. Free agency didn’t work out the way Ainge and the Celtics wanted. The market value for players unexpectedly soared to the point where Atlanta’s DeMarre Carroll goes to Toronto for four years and $60 million, Reggie Jackson re-signs with Detroit for five years and $80 million, and potential Celtics target Robin Lopez agreed with the Knicks for four years, $54 million.”
Lee, 32, played five seasons with the Warriors, averaging 16.7 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists over 327 regular-season games. He had his finest season with Golden State in 2012-13, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds in 79 games en route to earning Third Team All-NBA honors and a spot on the Western Conference All-Star squad. That season, the 6’9” forward became the first Warriors player to garner All-NBA recognition since Latrell Sprewell in 1993-94 and Golden State’s first All-Star representative since Sprewell in 1997. The University of Florida product also appeared in 26 playoff games with Golden State, making postseason appearances in each of the last three seasons, culminating in an NBA Championship this past season. Lee leaves the Warriors ranked sixth on the franchise’s all-time list in defensive rebounds (2,176) and tied for 10th, with Hall of Famer Chris Mullin, in field goal percentage (.513).
During his 10-year NBA career, Lee has averaged 14.7 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 695 regular-season games with the New York Knicks and Warriors. Originally selected by the Knicks with the 30th overall pick in the 2005 NBA Draft, the 2010 Eastern Conference All-Star was acquired by the Warriors in a sign-and-trade deal on July 9, 2010, in exchange for Kelenna Azubuike, Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf.
Wallace, 33, owns career averages of 11.9 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.44 steals and 29.7 minutes in 832 regular-season games (611 starts) over 14 NBA seasons with Sacramento, Charlotte, Portland, New Jersey/Brooklyn and Boston. Originally selected by the Sacramento Kings with the 25th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft, Wallace earned NBA All-Defensive First Team honors and was an Eastern Conference All-Star in 2009-10 with the Charlotte Bobcats when he averaged 18.2 points, 10.0 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.54 steals. The University of Alabama product led the NBA in steals per game during the 2005-06 campaign, averaging 2.51 thefts per contest. Wallace has appeared in 33 playoff games (17 starts), holding career postseason averages of 7.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.4 assists in 20.9 minutes.
Babb, 25, appeared in 14 games with Boston as a rookie in 2014-15, tallying 1.6 points and 1.2 rebounds in 9.4 minutes per game. The 6’5” guard appeared in 45 games last season with the Celtics’ D-League affiliate, the Maine Red Claws, averaging 15.4 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 34.7 minutes, earning All-NBA D-League Second Team honors. In 2013-14, the Iowa State product was named to the All NBA D-League All-Rookie Third Team with the Red Claws.