Marc Spears of Yahoo!
The 'details' are a bit tricky. The Celtics are over the cap, and used their full MLE on Jason Terry, so a sign/trade was the only way for them to get Courtney Lee. The issue then is could they send out enough salary to take in a sufficient amount for Lee to sign the contract?
John Hollinger tried to figure this very thing out:
Inconceivable that Boston could get Lee in S&T using just Johnson. Non-guaranteed contracts of Moore, Williams almost certainly involved -- would push Yr 1 salary to ~$4.2M. Not sure if cash involved, but Boston can only put in $1M cash since Houston got paid $2M byalready. To clarify, the "inconceivable" part is the salary that Lee gets if only Johnson to HOU. Has to be more players in it to pay Lee market rate.
So if Lee is making at most $4.2m, the Bulls had a trade exception that they could've acquired Lee with, maybe giving back some JuJuan Johnson - level assets. (Update: indeed those contracts are involved, per the Boston Herald)
If the signing of Vladimir Radmanovic and the reported interest of Darko is the start of this offseason going from 'bad' to 'fun-bad' (TM: Dan Bernstein), then this may clinch it as an entertaining disaster. Or maybe it's just more depressing, depending on your mindset.
The Celtics, though not in the tax situation the Bulls are, are still an over-the-cap team using multiple ways (and persistence)* to acquire players. Trying to improve, even if Courtney Lee isn't "the answer", however the hell that can be defined. This is yet another reminder that such moves are certainly possible for the Bulls, they're just not interested.
* I get on Ainge and the Celtics for always leaking how hard they're working on deals, but in this case the results are nice too. I'd be a happier fan if the Bulls were just as impotent, but leaked that they were attempting things, even if it was all lies.