We linked to the story yesterday, but this is something we felt we should take a little longer look at. Right around the time of the trade, we heard rumblings that Courtney Lee wasn’t happy about being traded from the team he helped lead to the Finals to the team that passed up on him in last year’s draft. While we didn’t hear from Lee directly, Nets fans believed that his silence spoke for itself, and the rumors of him being unhappy were true. As the weeks passed, and Courtney Lee stayed silent, the rumors of him being unhappy were growing louder and louder, and they peaked when his former teammate claimed that he was “still hurting” from the trade.
Now, some Nets fans (including myself) were able to explain away first reports of Lee being unhappy as a young guy dealing with a trade, but for Lee to still be hurting so long after the trade? Well, that made even the most optimistic (again, including myself) of Nets fans start to panic.
But then, out of nowhere, this report comes out yesterday that claims Courtney Lee is happy to be a Net. When I read the headline last night and started reading the article, I scoffed:
Take everything you think you know about Courtney Lee’s situation and throw it out the window.
Lee isn’t distraught over his trade from the Eastern Conference Champion Magic to the lowly Nets. He doesn’t hold a grudge with Orlando’s front office and he is very, very serious about turning New Jersey into a winner. Things aren’t bad or even half-bad. To Lee, things are pretty good right now.
I scoffed, that is, until I got to the part where they quoted Courtney. That’s right, Courtney Lee has finally broken his silence, and as it turns out, he has nothing but positive things to say about being a Net:
“I wouldn’t say ‘bitter-sweet.’ I would say, ‘sweet and sweet,'” Lee told HOOPSWORLD while training at IMG’s practice facility. “I made it to the Finals as a rookie. I got to play against one of the best players in the NBA (Kobe Bryant). Now I have the opportunity to play alongside another All-Star-caliber player in Devin Harris and have the opportunity to get better.”
As a Nets fan, you either have one of two reactions reading those quotes. “Thank goodness he is finally on board” or “He’s just saying that”. I tend to believe the second to be false, and we should believe Courtney on this. Why? Well first of all, the fact that these comments are coming so long after the draft mean that Courtney was still trying to gather his thoughts and figure out what to say. If he was going to say he was happy as a Net just to say it, it would have been days after the trade, or days after Dwight Howard’s comments the latest. To me, the length of time between the trade and his comments seem to make it more genuine. Another reason to believe these comments is that this wasn’t a scheduled sitdown or anything like that, as Alex (the author) mentioned in the comments of his article, this was a random meeting at the facility Courtney was working out at:
Steve Kyler bumped into him at IMG and you could just tell that his attitude towards NJ was very positive–something that hadn’t been reported.
So why the sudden 180? My guess is that after taking some time to think about the trade, he finally saw (or someone like Tony Battie helped him see) the benefits of being traded to New Jersey. In the end, I think we should believe Courtney here. Now that we have this whole “situation” behind us and know that Courtney Lee will be giving the Nets 100%, we can sit back and look forward to seeing Courtney Lee break out…as a Net.