The Golden State Warriors are trying to trade David Lee, but so far, despite the logical fit for him on teams like the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Boston Celtics, Orlando Magic and Detroit Pistons, no one is actually trying to strike a deal with the NBA Champions.
From a guy who hovered around the 20-10 numbers for most of the last five seasons, David Lee has become redundant in the Golden State Warriors set up. For short spurts Steve Kerr managed to find some use for him in the NBA Finals, but that didn’t last very long. His terrible defense and inability to stretch the floor, a must on the Warriors offense unless you’re Andrew Bogut and Festus Ezeli have put him at the furthest nether regions of the bench.
Lee’s numbers per minute are still impressive. He’s a rebounding machine and can put points quickly on the board near the rim, whether it’s in a pick-and-roll mode or by simply getting the ball in a good position. If he gets minutes, it’s hard to imagine he won’t be a 15-10 guy at least for any team that gives him enough time on the floor.
But his $15 million salary is a problem this “late” in free agency. The big deals are given early, followed by smaller moves, filling in holes, gaps and smaller needs. Players like Lee, who do fit a smaller role for the better teams or a bigger one on teams going nowhere, seems a little bit out of place when it comes to the changing demands of the NBA.
Who gets him? SB Nation ran a nice article about six teams that might be interested in him and could make some good use of Lee. But right now there hasn’t been a lot of movement towards adding him to the team. It’s funny, with so many players getting max contracts and overpriced deals, no one finds the right sort of package, a minimal one, for a player who can certainly be of very good use, whether you’re tanking or thinking about a championship.
The Warriors don’t want to pay so much luxury tax this season, but after re-signing Draymond Green, someone has to move. It’s not going to be Curry, Bogut or Klay Thompson. Lee, and the $15 million he makes (give or take) are the odd man out or odd contract out in this group, and the Warriors will be working hard to try a trade and who knows, maybe if that doesn’t work we’ll see a buyout scenario.