Sure, the Warriors have three power forwards already. Still, they have their sights set on Knicks All-Star PF David Lee.
Several sources told me the Warriors are trying to do a sign-and-trade with the Knicks for Lee. I’m not sure of all the details, but I would call it a long shot. Probably nothing will happen until LeBron James makes up his mind. And there is no telling what kind of domino effect his decision will have, so it could be possible. It would likely require guard Monta Ellis (though in my opinion, Lee is much more appealing if he can play with Ellis and Stephen Curry). And, yes, the Warriors will probably have to overpay to get him.
Lee averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds last season, which in this market just might land him a max contract. I don’t think he’s a max contract player, but he might end up having New Jersey and Miami and Toronto bidding for him, which will certainly help his pockets.
The Knicks have offered Amar’e Stoudemire on a five-year, $100 million deal according to the NY Times’ Howard Beck. If the Knicks don’t get LeBron James, they will be in a scramble for Plan Bs and Plan Cs. I’m told they like Monta Ellis, but not sure if they like him enough to present him and possibly Stoudemire to their fans as the back-up plan to LeBron. Maybe they’d want a center more and take Andris Biedrins plus other stuff. Certainly, what the Knicks want factors in to sign-and-trade scenarios.
GM Larry Riley is going to have to sale Lee on the Warriors. Doesn’t seem like a hard sale for a guy who met with the Timberwolves (who would have to do a sign-and-trade). If Lee is choosing, I don’t see why Minnesota would be a more desirable place to land than with the Warriors. But New Jersey, Miami, Toronto – those are certainly nice options.
The Warriors’ stance has been if they trade Ellis or Biedrins, they would have to get someone great back. Is Lee that? He’s a 20 and 10 guy and All-Star. His style of play fits the Warriors. But is he good enough to move Ellis? Is he the difference-maker the Warriors’ need? Or will acquiring him and moving Ellis leave the Warriors still in search of another piece?
If you get Lee, Randolph or Wright has to go (probably Randolph because he has the most value). Is Lee worth losing Ellis and Randolph? I like Lee, not as a main guy but as a sidekick. Warriors fans will love him because he hustles, he boards and he finishes. And his game has improved.
* Don’t forget to factor in the sale stuff. Count me among those who just don’t believe the Warriors will be able to acquire someone with five years and $60 to $70 million on their contract. Not until the new owner comes in. Plus, giving up a ticket-seller like Ellis seems like an automatic no-no until th enew owner is identified.
To be sure, the new owner doesn’t have to be in place yet, or even announced. They could just know who it is, run it by him and get a yea or nay. But it seems like at least that would have to happen before a major move like trading for David Lee could be done.
* By the way, I’m told the Warriors have little to no interest in Al Jefferson. Despite being a beast down low, he has knee issues and he’s slow. He’s not a good passer out of the post and he’s expensive.