Rockets Trade Trevor Ariza To New Orleans, Receive Courtney Lee In Four-Team Deal

Did NOT expect to write one of these today.

Marc Spears reports:

Hou,NJ, NO, Indy trade done and trade call taking place now, source tells Y!. Hou gets C Lee, NO gets Ariza, Indy Collison-Posey, NJ Murphy

Hmm. Well... that's interesting.

So, what do we get in Lee? Actually, wait a second: let's get to the nice bonus that comes with making this deal. Take it away, Chad Ford:

For the Rockets, aside from acquiring Lee, the move is largely a salary dump. This summer the Rockets spent a lot of cash signing Luis Scola, Kyle Lowry and Brad Miller to free agent contracts and their payroll ballooned to $81 million. Before the trade, the team was bracing for a $10 million-plus luxury tax hit. The deal would save them $28 million on the life of the contracts and $10 million this season, including luxury tax considerations.

Nice. By the way, immediately upon hearing about this deal and since I have hardly watched any Courtney Lee tape, I asked Ben Q. Rock from OPP one question: Can Courtney Lee defend?

[Stan Van Gundy] called him the best wing defender the Magic had on the 09 Finalist squad. He's good. (I mean, defense is [Van Gundy's] thing. That praise, coming from him, for a rookie? Holy cow)

Lee is of slightly smaller build than Ariza, but he's no downgrade defensively from what it sounds like. We'll have more analysis later. I'll need to watch some tape. In the meantime, here's Lee's player card.

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Goodbye, Trevor Ariza. Hello, Courtney Lee!

UPDATE: My thoughts on the deal at SB Nation Houston. I will have more here later on, including a scouting report from Sebastian Pruiti of Nets Are Scorching.

UPDATE 2: Per Jason Friedman:

In talking to Houston's Basketball Personnel department, it's clear the team loves Lee's versatility on the defensive end, believing him to be a valuable weapon to unleash against bigger point guards like Deron Williams. But they also like his offensive potential, feeling as if his ability to play up-tempo one minute and as a floor-spacer off of Yao the next should enable him to seamlessly slide into Rick Adelman's offense. Then, of course, there are the intangibles the Rockets cherish: Lee is a high character player who will be a great fit in the locker room, bringing his detail-oriented approach and winning qualities to a team that places real value on such characteristics.

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