Celtics finalize five moves; have 17 guaranteed contracts

AP Photo/Steven Senne

WALTHAM, Mass. -- The Boston Celtics finalized five transactions on Monday, completing two trades, signing two rookies and inking the team's largest signing of the summer.

After weeks of exploring potential deals while trying to maximize available cap space, the Celtics processed the following deals on Monday:

• Acquired David Lee from the Golden State Warriors in exchange for Gerald Wallace and Chris Babb.

• Acquired Zoran Dragic, a 2020 second-round pick and cash considerations from the Miami Heat in exchange for a heavily protected future second-round pick.

• Signed first-round picks Terry Rozier (No. 16 overall) and R.J. Hunter (28) to their rookie-scale deals.

• Re-signed restricted free agent Jae Crowder to a five-year, $35 million contract.

With all the paperwork processed, the Celtics held a press conference at the team's training facility Monday afternoon, which featured Lee and Crowder alongside fellow offseason additions/re-signings in Jonas Jerebko, Amir Johnson and Perry Jones III.

"It feels like we've taken a step forward in this offseason by adding these guys and our draft picks, bringing back Jonas and Jae and adding Perry and Amir and David," Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck said. "These are team players, these are high-work rate players, these are players I'm personally proud to welcome to the Celtics and I know they'd love to try to fill the little space we have in the corner [of the practice facility] for Banner 18. These are the kind of guys we want to have on our team, and I can't wait to see how this works out."

The Celtics ended the day with 17 guaranteed contracts. It seems unlikely that Dragic will ever wear a Boston uniform, and the team will explore more moves closer to the start of the season with the goal of trimming down to the league maximum of 15 players.

At worst, Boston will eat a contract (or two). The team received a total of $3.1 million back in deals with Miami (Dragic) and Oklahoma City (Jones) that will help pay for their salaries if they are simply waived. For its troubles, Boston walks away with two more second-round picks to add to its growing stash of future picks (the Celtics currently project to have eight picks next season, including as many as four first-rounders).

While the Celtics did not acquire the big-splash free agent many desired after freeing cap space for the first time in almost two decades, the team hopes it has positioned itself to take a step forward this season while still maintaining the flexibility to build a legitimate title-chasing team down the road.

"If you look at the end of last year, we have gotten better," Crowder said. "As of right now, we've gotten better as a team. We just have to put some stuff together and find out what works, because we have a lot of pieces. We have to find out what works. I'm sure Brad [Stevens] and our coaching staff will do a great job with that and I'm looking forward to it."

Added Crowder: "I don't think we're going to go backwards. I think we're in the right direction moving forward. That's to win playoff games like Danny [Ainge] said, and we didn't do that last year. So that's our next goal. We're taking steps. Of course we want Banner 18, but at the same time we have to win a playoff game first before we get to Banner 18. I think we're moving in the right direction."

Lee and Crowder waited patiently the past three weeks while the Celtics explored all options for their available cap space before finalizing their deals.

Lee, coming off a championship season with the Golden State Warriors, is eager to lead by example in Boston, especially with a chance to reestablish himself after losing his starting job with the Warriors.

"I think the best veterans that I've been around, the ones that I've learned the most from, are the guys that did it themselves, the guys who were putting the work in, the guys who were the hardest workers and did things the right way," Lee said. "I think young guys tend to follow those guys. Steph Curry and guys like that on Golden State, they're not sitting there giving long speeches to young guys. You see him out there working, working on his craft, that's what makes the young guys say, 'Man. If he's doing it, then how are we supposed to get out of line?'

"And that's why, once again, I know how hard of a worker Amir is, bringing in people that do it the right way and are the veterans; the young guys have no choice but to follow because that's who they're looking up to is the older guys. And the older guys need to take care of it and do things the right way."

Jones is hoping a fresh start in Boston will give him the chance to show what he believes he never got to demonstrate in Oklahoma City.

"I'm just happy for this fresh new start -- new start, new system, different conference -- just a whole different new start," Jones said. "Hopefully everything works for the best."