BOSTON First it was Jeff Green, then Jason Terry. On Friday Courtney Lee will be the third member of the Boston Celtics to face his former team for the first time this season when the Cs take on the Rockets in Houston Friday night.
Unlike his teammates, though, Lees reunion will not have as many emotional ties. Green was traded from the Oklahoma City Thunder to the Celtics halfway through the 2010-11 season and pulled away from some of his best friends. Terry played eight years with the Dallas Mavericks and won a title with the organization. Lee, on the other hand, played just two seasons with the Rockets and joined the Celtics this offseason in a multi-team sign-and-trade that was all part of the business.
I feel nothing, Lee said following the Celtics win over Terrys former team on Wednesday. Its just another game. My situation, it was business so I left there. JETs with Dallas, hes been there for years playing, being one of their go-to guys and with the contract situation they didnt want to extend him, so this game was more personal for him than Houston will be for me.
The New Jersey Nets traded Lee to the Rockets in the summer of 2010 in four-team deal that included the Indiana Pacers and New Orleans Hornets. Trevor Ariza, Darren Collison, Troy Murphy, and James Posey were also moved in the trade.
Lee spent the previous two seasons in Houston, averaging 8.3 points, 2.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists off the bench in 2010-11 and 11.4 points, 2.7 boards, and 1.5 assists last season during which he started in nearly half of his games.
Lee, unlike Terry, didnt leave Houston with a championship the Rockets did not make the playoffs during his time on the team but he took a very important relationship with him when he relocated to Boston. He developed a very close bond with Kevin McHale during his first year as Rockets head coach last season.
McHale recently rejoined the Rockets after suffering the loss of his 23-year-old daughter in November due to complications from Lupus. Lee had spent time with the McHale family and was unaware of Sashas health condition. He reached out to his former coach when he heard the news.
Im happy I get to the chance to go and speak to Coach McHale because me and him were pretty close and what happened with his daughter, we exchanged text messages actually when It happened, Lee said. It was a great relationship, kind of like the one I have with Doc (Rivers). Off the court we would text and talk. We lived in the same building so wed always see each other.
Lee will also say his hellos to his former teammates who are still on the Rockets roster this season. Then it is time to get to work. He doesnt have any ill will toward the Rockets organization, just a desire to help his new team win.
Im happy I get to see Coach McHale and some of the other guys I played with, Lee said. Other than that, theres no real feelings.