Former NBA All-Star and current Warriors forward David Lee acknowledged earlier this month that Golden State will make a concentrated effort to try to trade him this offseason as they look to rid themselves of his massive $15 million salary which could cost them $34 million in luxury-tax payments.
According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Lee is accepting of the situation and he and his team plan to aid the Warriors in finding a new home for the former Florida Gator.
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.
After sustaining a hamstring injury early in the season, Lee lost his starting job to Draymond Green, whose emergence as an elite defender and capable playmaker at the power forward position relegated Lee to a reserve role.
However, Lee’s number was called upon during the NBA Finals when the Warriors scrapped their traditional starting five in favor of speedy small-ball lineups that could punish the Cleveland Cavaliers and tilt the series in their favor.
Lee was Steve Kerr’s first big man off the bench in Game’s 3, 4 and 5, and he totaled a combined 22 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists in 25 minutes of action in the three contests.
Lee, 32, proved on basketball’s biggest stage that he can still be a serviceable frontcourt option for a team, but his defensive deficiencies coupled with his hefty price-tag may make him a less than desirable target for many teams. Golden State and Lee are both committed to finding a suitor for the two-time All-Star, and they hope their collaborative efforts make this a relatively easy situation.
David Lee averaged 7.9 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game this season for the Golden State Warriors. Lee inked a six-year, $80 million deal with Golden State in the summer of 2010.