The Golden State Warriors aren’t even 24 hours removed from winning the 2015 NBA Finals, yet they’re already thinking up ways to change their roster for the 2015-16 NBA season. Their first big change should come via David Lee, who is set to be traded at some point this summer.
Lee was surprisingly useful in the latter stages of Golden State’s playoff run, but largely fell out of favor due to the Warriors being so deep. The emergence of versatile forward Draymond Green was reason number one, while Lee simply didn’t fit head coach Steve Kerr’s system perfectly. Whatever the case, reports are already out that the Warriors are shopping Lee, and it only makes sense since the 32-year old big man is still quite useful, but his $15 million paycheck makes little sense given his role with the team.
Golden State was rumored to be close to dealing Lee before this year’s trade deadline, so it’s likely only a matter of time before he finds a new home. Here are five possibilities that make sense in terms of potential landing spots:
Sac-town looks like the top option on paper, as they don’t have a true power forward at the moment and could really use one. Getting Lee would take care of the #4 spot and allow Rudy Gay to slide back to his normal small forward position full-time. From there, the Kings could focus on point guard and shooting guard, rather than continue to worry about their bigs under-performing next to DeMarcus Cousins.
Greg Monroe is hitting free agency and is probably a goner, while all the Pistons have to show for that big loss right now is a trade with the Bucks that landed them Ersan Ilyasova. Ilyasova is a solid, versatile forward who can shoot, but he’s super inconsistent and struggles to stay healthy. Lee would be a solid one-year rental that would play hard and give Detroit solid production at the four spot.
Amir Johnson could be out the door this summer, which could leave a solid Raptors squad with either Tyler Hansbrough or Patrick Patterson as their starting power forward. That’s not good. Lee is a defensive liability, to be sure, but he’d bring a serious offensive punch and help on the boards.
New York Knicks
Lee started his career with the Knicks and it’d be ironic to see him shipped back to New York. The Knicks probably don’t want his fat contract, but it’s an expiring one and he would serve as an immediate upgrade over spares like Andrea Bargnani and Travis Wear. New York is trying to get better and even at 32, Lee could play a helping hand in doing just that.
It’s unlikely the Warriors would do anything to assist the Rockets, who they faced in this year’s Western Conference Finals, but it’d otherwise make some sense. Josh Smith could jet in free agency and while Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas are solid, the Rockets could use another consistent offensive force down low. That could be Lee, who can still slash in the paint and get quick, easy buckets.