It hasn’t even been 24 hours since the Golden State Warriors won the NBA championship, and already one member of the team is looking for a new home. According to Marc Stein of ESPN, reserve forward and former two-time all-star David Lee and his agent are working with the Warriors to find the forward a new team.
Sources said the Warriors have privately acknowledged to Lee and his agent, Mark Bartelstein, that it would be unfair to the former All-Star to ask him to continue to serve in a limited role next season after Lee accepted his diminished minutes without complaint all season. Although discussions on this topic were essentially tabled by both sides until after the playoffs, sources said Wednesday that the Warriors and Bartelstein have resolved to work together to “come up with a good solution” to find a new home for Lee this offseason.
Lee played the good soldier all year, never once complaining about losing his starting job to Draymond Green or his minimized role in Steve Kerr’s scheme. Both of those moves led to the Warriors capturing the title, but it couldn’t have been easy for the former All-Star, especially when he played many more minutes just the previous season. Because of his demotion, the writing had been on the wall for Lee for most of the season. This isn’t a case of a disgruntled player demanding trade, but rather both sides recognizing the reality of the situation and trying to find a solution that benefits both parties.
While Lee, 32, probably won’t be a starter on any team, his passing ability and versatile offense would make him a decent bench contributor. He provided as much to the Warriors in brief stints during the Finals, so there’s no reason to think he couldn’t do it for another team. If Lee accepts the fact that he won’t start but will get plenty of minutes as a sixth man, then his market is much bigger than if he insists on starting.
Besides his skills, Lee could also be attractive as an expiring contract. Those aren’t as highly valued as they once were, but given that Lee can also contribute on the court, his $15.4 million that comes off the books might be the sweetener for a team looking to clear space for next season’s cap explosion and free agent bonanza.