Golden State Warriors: Letting David Lee Go A Smart Idea


Just because you win a championship does not mean you don’t have big decisions to make in the offseason. After winning an NBA Championship for the first time in 40 years, the Golden State Warriors are left with a big question mark in former All-Star power forward David Lee.

Lee, who the Warriors got in a sign and trade with the New York Knicks five years ago, is coming up on the last year of his contract. The Warriors can decide to keep him beyond this season, or they can trade him elsewhere and free up some cap space.

While the Warriors may not need another blockbuster trade or piece of the puzzle, freeing up cap space by dumping Lee’s contract would be worth it to Golden State.

Losing Lee’s contract will  free up space for a new player in free agency, and it will also allow the Warriors to have more money to re-sign Draymond Green to a new deal. Re-signing Green is the Warriors top priority this season because he is the team’s best defensive player and brings energy to the organization. Green can defend any player on the court, one to five. However, Lee struggles defensively against various players, and he has trouble staying healthy throughout the season.

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Looking back on the season that just ended, Lee did not have an overly significant role for the majority of the campaign. He only played in 49 games due to injuries and through Kerr’s decision to not play him. Lee had career low numbers this season while averaging about eight points and five rebounds a game.

In the postseason, despite playing a reasonable amount of minutes, he did not contribute as much as expected, averaging about three points and two rebounds a night. While Lee was a key part of playing small ball and was able to spread the floor, his lack of scoring and defense hindered the team.

Letting Lee go would not make a huge difference because he was not a huge part of the team’s success this year. But the team would lose some ability to spread the floor and a proven bench scorer. Additionally, the Warriors draft pick, Kevon Looney, is a 6’9″ power forward who averaged about 12 points and nine rebounds per game at UCLA, and he has the potential to be the perfect replacement for Lee. Looney has a wingspan of 7’3″ and has similarities to the style of Green.

Who wouldn’t love two Draymond Greens?

The Warriors could also toy with James Michael McAdoo as new replacement for Lee. McAdoo, who the Warriors called up from Santa Cruz this season, averaged about four points and three rebounds per game. Although his numbers are not impressive, his athleticism and ability to defend the paint is far greater than Lee’s ability to defend the paint.

In hindsight, the Warriors already have two solid options to replace Lee, but they are young and may have some growing pains that they still need to grind out. If they Warriors trade Lee, they should try to find a player that has enough experience to mentor the younger players and be willing to be a productive bench player.

What do you think? Should the Warriors keep Lee one more year? Or should the Warriors trade him?

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