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Brad Stevens Happy To See David Lee Thriving With Mavericks

BOSTON (CBS) – In his first week with the Dallas Mavericks, former Celtic David Lee has already shown he has a little bit left in the tank.

The power forward who racked up 18 consecutive DNP-CD's for Boston before he was bought out after the trade deadline has already posted a double-double with his new team (14 points, 14 rebounds vs. Denver) and made key contributions for a pair of wins by the Mavs in the past week.

Those numbers, combined with some comments to Dallas reporters that he spent his final days in Boston getting into better shape left some to wonder why he hadn't been doing that throughout his time in Boston this season. However, Brad Stevens holds no ill will toward the 31-year-old veteran for his lack of success in Beantown. Instead, he's happy to see him succeeding in his new home.

"I just sent a text after I watched a little bit of the comeback," Stevens said Monday. "It was a great game, it was a great win for them. And just saw last night the box score. They won it looks like pretty handily. But hey, as much as you go through with everybody and guys play or don't play or whatever the case may be, you want everybody that leaves here to do well. So we're rooting for him to do well and we're happy for the way he started."

As for Lee's comments about working himself into better shape after being dropped from the Celtics' rotation, Stevens believes those remarks may have been misinterpreted.

"I don't know if that is semantics or how he meant to say it," Stevens said. "I think the biggest thing that he was probably saying there was that when you're not playing, you have to find other ways to stay ready. And maybe I'm wrong. But I think that he certainly took diet, he worked out hard -- he worked out hard enough that if he would have played, he would have been gassed in the games. Sometimes you can't do that if you're going to be playing 15 minutes per night. He was going two or three times hard per day during that stretch. So, no, I wasn't frustrated by it. In fact it set a pretty good example for the other guys that weren't playing."

That kind of sentiment is reflective of the attitude from most members of the Celtic roster. Jared Sullinger was highly complimentary of Lee at Tuesday's practice, calling him 'his vet' and applauding his success.

The truth is that the fit for Lee in Boston was never meant to be. There are certainly no regrets from the Celtics' standpoint about letting him go (the team is 17-7 since dropping him from the rotation). With the 10-year veteran set to become an unrestricted free agent at year's end, Danny Ainge and co. made the classy move and let him find a better opportunity elsewhere.

"It was harder on him than anybody else," Stevens said of Lee's situation in Boston. "But we talked about it a lot: we didn't have hardly any injuries with our bigs and we had a lot of bigs that especially at the end of games were going to be relatively the same position. And so it put a lot of guys on the bench. And it was different guys at different times. To his credit, when we eventually settled on playing others, he handled it really well. Kudos to him. I'm happy he's doing well."

Brian Robb covers the Celtics for CBS Boston and contributes to, among other media outlets. You can follow him on Twitter @CelticsHub.

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