The Golden State Warriors may seek a trade with David Lee this offseason after winning the NBA finals, as the team has Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green locked in at the front court and if a trade happens, teams like the Boston Celtics, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets could be interested in making the move.
Lee was marginalized this season with the emergence of Draymond Green and the play of Bogut and moving forward he likely is expendable. Earlier this season the Warriors explored deals with Lee and now Marc Stein at ESPN.com is reporting that the team is "working with" Lee and his camp to get a deal done this summer. Stein writes that the team is looking to help Lee "find a new home," as he is no longer part of the future for Golden State.
The team is planning to bring back Green, who is a restricted free agent, while Bogut is signed for two more years before becoming a free agent in 2017. Lee has $15 million die to him next year before becoming a free agent and it comes after he signed a five year deal when he was traded to the Warriors from the Knicks. Lee was a double-double machine in the past, but his defense has not always been top notch and that has been a main priority for the Warriors.
Players like Greg Monroe, Marc Gasol and LaMarcus Aldridge are on the market this summer and teams that are looking to sign those names but miss out could target Lee instead. The Celtics have cap space and are looking to make moves and they could see Lee as a fit, while the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets and Clippers also could be options. The Clippers have DeAndre Jordan as a free agent this summer and if he leaves for Dallas (which is rumored), Lee could be a target for Los Angeles.
Lee was relegated to the bench for the playoffs and most of the season and the team opted to keep him through the postseason after trying to work a trade at the deadline. Lee made an impact in the middle of the series and averaged 10.0 points, 4.5 boards and 2.5 assists while shooting well from the floor, but overall his salary does not justify his role. The Warriors want to move Lee and his salary so they can go after Green and make sure he stays and he could net some draft picks or a solid bench player for Golden State.
Lee averaged less than 20 minutes per game this season after going for 33 and 36 minutes per game the previous two years. Lee averaged just 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds per game and that production is simply not good enough for his salary and what the Warriors are trying to do. The team has won a championship and now the goal is to keep the core together and try to make another run. Lee could be valuable for many other teams in a starting role and teams with money to spare could go after him over signing players like Monroe or Aldridge to max contracts.