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Rockets Land Courtney Lee In Four-Team Deal

The Houston Rockets have traded F Trevor Ariza to the New Orleans Hornets and will receive New Jersey Nets G Courtney Lee as part of a four-team deal that also involves the Indiana Pacers.

Yahoo!’s Mark Spears broke the news via Twitter:

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

The deal will also save the Rockets enough money to place them near the luxury tax threshold, according to ESPN.com’s 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.

Lee averaged 12.5 points per game last season with the New Jersey Nets in his second year out of Western Kentucky. Ariza is in the second year of his new contract and should add depth and experience to Chris Paul’s Hornets. Indiana lands a starting point guard for cheap, and New Jersey gets a buffer in Troy Murphy to allow rookie Derrick Favors to develop at a slower pace.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved, on the surface. We’ll have more analysis soon: stay tuned.

UPDATE (2:07 p.m. CT): The trade call has been made and the deal is official, according to Ford.

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