It’s been a hot topic for the Golden State Warriors this offseason. David Lee is going to make a lot of money next year, and for the Warriors, it would very nice to get rid of his contract.
The Dubs have put him on the block, and tossed around a couple of ideas. For example, they discussed a Lee-for-LaMarcus Aldridge deal with the Trail Blazers. The Warriors also offered Lee for Andrea Bargani. Both of these fell apart, and the Warriors kept him.
During the 2013 playoffs, I predicted that the Lee’s injury would be a blessing in disguise, and while may were saying that the Warriors would have gone further without him, I think that they may have been eliminated by the Nuggets in the first round.
Whether it was coaching or the home crowd, the Warriors were able to defeat Denver. With Lee — and not Harrison Barnes — in the rotation, the Warriors lost the first game. Obviously, the Warriors cannot blame this on Lee, but they have to admit that playing Barnes really worked in the Warriors’ favor. Everyone is content with the fact that Barnes will be a bench player, but is this what’s best for the Warriors?
Not only did their bench get weaker upon the departures of Jarrett Jack and Carl Landry, but also their entire core was compromised a little bit. If the Warriors can bolster their bench depth by trading Lee for a few key players, then they will be unstoppable. Barnes played just fine as a power forward, and with the strength and rebounding ability that he has, the Warriors should be able to function just fine with him as a replacement for Lee.
In the 2014 playoffs, Lee played decently well, but nowhere near the amount of money that his contract is worth. He was unable to match the all-star performance of Blake Griffin, and could not guard him either. In my mind, this is a huge reason that Lee should be dumped.
The Warriors would likely get a lot for Lee in return, because he is an All-Star. He is, however, a part of the Warriors core, which has worked together so well in this past year. Trading him would be dangerous and the rewards, as well as risks, are both very high.
It’s hard to think about, but the best thing the Warriors could do would be to put Lee on the trading block. Again, this is a high risk, high reward type situation, and the Warriors are going to be looking to do whatever it takes to reach greatness quickly. If that means trading Lee, then so be it.