The biggest hurdle in the deal involving Knicks free agent forward David Lee and Warriors forward Anthony Randolph is LeBron James. Nothing happens until he decides.
The next biggest hurdle was whether Lee wanted to come to the Warriors. That is a hurdle no more, not as much anyway. The Warriors and Lee have all but agreed in principle to a six year deal totaling about $80 million, team sources told me. At an average of about $13 million per year, Lee would become the Warriors highest-paid player. If he signs it.
Who could stop him from signing it?
* LeBron James. Since technically, Lee is signing the deal with Knicks (who would then trade him to the Warriors), the Knicks would have to do the deal. They aren’t going to do it until they are officially out of the LeBron sweepstakes. As far as the Warriors are concerned, one source told me, the Knicks have not given up hope. Signing Lee would take eat up their cap space and take them out of the running for LeBron. Not going to happen. Of course, if LeBron chooses the Knicks, which few expect will happen, the deal is dead anyway. The Knicks would have to renounce Lee to make room, ending all sign-and-trade capabilities.
* New Jersey. After saving up for LeBron, all the Nets have to show for themselves is SF Travis Outlaw (five years, $35 million). They might be desperate for Lee, who is the biggest name left on the free agent market after LeBron decides, and top the Warriors offer. If Lee wanted to, he can take the Nets offer and end the Warriors’ sign-and-trade hopes. He could only get a five-year deal, though, while a sign-and-trade gets him a sixth year.
* Minnesota. Or any other team looking to sign-and-trade for Lee. The Knicks love Randolph and already envision the longest frontline in the league: Randolph/Stoudemire/Gallinari. But if a team likes Minnesota comes with a package the Knicks like better than what the Warriors are offering, the Knicks could take it. The Timberwolves, Nets and maybe even Phoenix (OK, not Phoenix) could try to trumph the Warriors’ sign-and-trade offer for Lee.
The Warriors and free agent power forward David Lee has agreed to contract worth about $80 million over six years, according to team sources.
The deal paves the way for a sign-and-trade with the New York Knicks. Golden State would send forward Anthony Randolph, center Ronny Turiaf and swingman Kelenna Azubuike to New York in exchange for Lee.
The deal is still not official. Lee would have to sign the deal as a Knick then get traded to the Warriors. Sources said that won’t happen until the Knicks know for sure that LeBron James is not going to New York. Signing Lee would eat up the salary cap space the Knicks have reserved for James.
The possibility also exists that another team, such as Minnesota, could up their trade offer to the Knicks, ending the Warriors’ sign-and-trade deal with New York. Also, a team like New Jersey could still come in and offer Lee more than the Warriors and steal Lee away.