The Golden State Warriors have inquired about a trade with multiple teams involving their All-Star power forward David Lee.
The team talked to both the Portland Trail Blazers and the Toronto Raptors, according to a report by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. Talks didn’t get very far with either team, especially when Golden State asked about the availability of Trail Blazers All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge.
It was also reported that the Warriors had brief talks last season with the Los Angeles Lakers about swapping Lee with Pau Gasol. Those discussions did not go very far either.
It is unclear if the Warriors are really looking to move Lee or if they are just trying to figure out his value by throwing him out on the market. Either way, it is understandable why the Warriors are looking at their options. Lee is set to make $13.8 million next season is and owed a grand total of $44.4 million over the next three years. The Warriors, like most teams, will want to avoid as much luxury tax penalties as possible.
With money being spent on newly-acquired swingman Andre Iguodala and star point guard Stephen Curry, it would make sense to move Lee’s contract to make room for Harrison Barnes and Klay Thompson when they are eligible for extensions in the next few years.
Moving Lee not only makes sense financially, but also from a pure basketball standpoint.
When he went down in the first round of the playoffs last year, coach Mark Jackson decided to move rookie forward Barnes to the power forward spot and play small ball. This proved to be successful as the Warriors upset the higher-seeded Denver Nuggets and held their own against the San Antonio Spurs before being eliminated.
Even though Lee has a career year and made the All-Star team, his defense has been so bad that it negates most of what he does offensively. Do not be surprised if Lee is moved for cheap role players to make room for a core of Curry, Iguodala, Thompson and Barnes close to the trade deadline this upcoming NBA season.