Mar 11, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee (10) reacts to the foul call against the New York Knicks during the second quarter at Oracle Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

NBA Rumors: David Lee Heading Back To The New York Knicks?


There have been multiple occurrences where “the grass is always greener” for players who have had the chance to take their talents to another city that had a better opportunity in contending for playoff appearances or championships.

Take LeBron James, for example; it didn’t matter to him that he was the Cleveland Cavaliers’ second coming of christ. He didn’t care that he was the most beloved human being in Ohio at the time. He didn’t think twice that part of Cleveland’s economy was based solely on him.

Instead, he chose the greener pasture and eventually won two championships with the Miami Heat, something that he probably couldn’t have done if he chose to stay with the Cavaliers.

Another example would be Dwight Howard. While a vast amount of amusement parks and tourist attractions control Orlando’s economy, Howard was still a pivotal part of the Magic’s success and a main reason why the then-Amway Arena sold out games on a consistent basis. Now, after expressing his frustration with the team, Howard finds himself playing alongside James Harden with the Houston Rockets.

The comparison between these two sought after All-Stars is that they’re most likely not going to return to their former franchises anytime soon. While both scenarios may seem like a dream come true for Cavaliers and Magic fans, the odds of them coming back while already being in an ideal situation right now seems improbable.

That doesn’t fit the case for David Lee of the Golden State Warriors, who signed with the team back in 2010 as a free agent.

Lee, 31, has seen more success during his time with Golden State as opposed to his first five years in the league with the New York Knicks. Getting drafted as the second player taken by the team in the first round, Lee saw more time walking off the court with his head down after the game rather than celebrating with his teammates.

Madison Square Garden hasn’t offered premier professional basketball since the Knicks’ Eastern Conference Finals appearance in 2000. Finishing seasons with a losing record was something that occurred a lot for New York in the 2000s and David Lee was a part of that every step of the way while wearing blue and orange.

As a Knick, Lee led the team in wins shared every year but his rookie year. He was also invited to participate in the All-Star Game during his last year in Manhattan after averaging 20.2 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game. Essentially, Lee was the one bright spot that fans (Spike Lee) looked forward to each night.

Despite all of the disappointment and sorrow that went along with being a New York Knick, if brought back, Lee would find himself in a situation with better personal competing alongside him, as well as playing for a front office that knows how to build a championship roster. Could it happen? Stephen A. Smith believes it can.

According to the ESPN analyst, the Golden State Warriors are willing to trade Lee and Harrison Barnes for Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler.

While Lee is expected to earn upwards of $30 million over the next two years, this move does benefit the Knicks and team president Phil Jackson if he’s willing to make the deal happen.

It’s obvious that the Knicks are going to be players in the Kevin Love sweepstakes if he end ends up being a free agent next summer so bringing in Lee would put an end to Jackson’s pitch in attracting Love to New York. However, the two-time All-Star would be a perfect alternate if Love ends up playing for someone else.

Vahan Skakhpazan of VAVEL USA put it best when he regarded that Lee has been “tremendously unappreciated” by Golden State fans. By going to New York, Lee would be playing for a fan base that treasured the services he provided for a number of years. During his time with both the Knicks and Warriors, Lee has averaged a double-double in four years of the nine seasons. 

Along with Lee, the Knicks would also receive a high quality player coming off the bench in Barnes. The former North Carolina Tar Heel provided respectable statistics for the Warriors during their playoff runs the last two seasons. In his career, the 22-year-old has averaged 12.6 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.9 assists per 36 minutes.

Barnes is scheduled to earn $3 million next season and has a team option for 2015-16. If he somehow manages to come up short in terms of expectations set forth by the Knicks, Jackson can easily dump him and save the extra few million to sign a player in 2015 that can provide more production on the court.

Could this be the move that’ll convince Carmelo Anthony to stay put in New York? Wouldn’t be surprised. These are the type of transactions that have the potential to easily lure ‘Melo back to the Knicks for another year. This could also help Jackson go down as one of the most successful rookie team presidents in recent history.

Tags: David Lee Golden State Warriors New York Knicks

  • Pat

    Why would Golden State make this preposterous trade for Tyson Chandler?
    Now if Kevin Love were to go to Golden State, then David Lee would be expendable since he plays the same position for the Warriors. So I could see a scenario where the Knicks could be the 3rd team in such a trade.
    Unfortunately this is just another New York writer who is overselling the Knicks assets. Tyson Chandler’s career is just about over, so I can see teams tripping over themselves trying to trade multiple top tier talents to acquire him. Not!