OAKLAND – Warriors forward David Lee heard the offseason trade rumors involving Kevin Love and said they didn’t leave him feeling unwanted by the team.
“There was no hard feelings,” Lee said Monday. “There can’t be. Our front office is trying to improve the team, and Kevin Love is a great player.
“It happened, and I’m not mad at anybody. I don’t feel bad. It’s just this is a business.”
Lee, the Warriors’ highest-paid player making $15 million this salary, would have likely been shipped to Minnesota had the trade gotten done. Instead, Love was dealt to Cleveland and Lee got to joke about pondering a move to the Midwest that wasn’t to be.
“At that point, I go buy a jacket and maybe one of those old Hummers – the wide ones – I was thinking that was an option,” Lee said. “But after that, it doesn’t happen, so I stay with the hoodie instead for nighttime.
“The worst thing I could have done was let it bother me and not get prepared like I need to be prepared for this season.”
Lee, 31, averaged 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game last season and in the offseason underwent minor surgery to repair a core muscle injury that caused his withdrawal from the Team USA training camp roster.
Lee said not trying out for Team USA gave him time to work on his jump shot and change the mechanics of it. He expects to improve after losing confidence in that part of his game and focusing more on scoring in the paint last season.
“I’m not going to sit here and brag that I’m Chris Mullin now, but I’ve worked on it,” Lee said of his 15-footer. “I’ve made some improvements, and I’m really excited about getting back to taking and making that shot this year. And I think it’s going to be with what’s been explained to me about our offense, I think it’s going to be something that’ll be important for me to do.”
Lee said he met twice in Los Angeles with new coach Steve Kerr, who has spoken of the player having his role enhanced by the team’s emphasis on ball movement.
“After all that kind of blew over (with the trade rumors), I was just really excited about being back here,” Lee said.
“I’m excited to have the best year of my career. I think that’s very possible with what we have coming back and the position I’ll be put in.”