Blog Entry

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

Posted on: January 6, 2009 12:31 pm
Edited on: January 6, 2009 4:45 pm

Orem, Utah -- Expect the flurry of trade rumors involving David Lee to continue during the run-up to the Feb. 19 trade deadline. We'll lay out the reasons, but first some perspective from a league executive scouting at the D-League Showcase here at Utah Valley University this week:

The executive was incredulous that the No. 1 story coming out of New York about the Knicks has to do with Stephon Marbury, who is far from Donnie Walsh's top priority. "Not even close," the executive said, arguing that the top issues on Walsh's plate involve Lee and Nate Robinson.

Neither was offered an extension before the season, meaning if they're still on the roster next summer they will be fielding offer sheets as restricted free agents. Robinson has exhibited his value as a scorer in MIke D'Antoni's ball-moving, up-tempo system. Lee is averaging a double-double, making his case for a handsome offer sheet that the Knicks would be unwilling/unable to match given their priority to clear cap space for 2010.

It is believed that Lee will be seeking a deal paying him $8 million-$10 million a year, either as an RFA or on the unrestricted market in 2010. That is far too rich for the Knicks, who need that money to attract a marquee free agent or two. Most team executives view Lee as a solid role player worthy of mid-level exception money. He's a gifted rebounder, but is undersized and lacks length, shooting touch, and the kind of defensive/shot-blocking presence most teams expect from a 4-5 man. (In my former job, I wrote that one of the top priorities of the Knicks' new regime would be trading Lee, and it turns out that I'm going to be right.)

The executive commenting on Lee's situation expressed doubt that Portland -- a team known to like Lee -- would trade a package of role players for another role player. The Blazers, according to the executive, would like to parlay players such as Travis Outlaw, Sergio Rodriguez, Rudy Fernandez, and/or Jerryd Bayless in a trade for a star -- not another role player. The Blazers have a star in Brandon Roy, potential stars in LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden, but other than that, they've corned the market on role players. Nothing wrong with that, but why would they need another one?

Portland's affinity for Lee may have been exaggerated in reports about possible trade talks with the Knicks. The Blazers' position, as the executive I spoke with understands it, is that Lee is the only player on the Knicks' roster who interests them. That is much different from saying that the Blazers are hellbent on acquiring Lee. Where does the New York Post's report Tuesday that the Blazers are interested in Eddy Curry fit into all of this? Not sure, but how could anyone be interested in Curry when  he hasn't played a game all season?

Upon leaving the Knicks' practice facility Monday, Walsh called reports that he was trying to acquire former Knick Marcus Camby from the Clippers "made up." The most significant thing that happened with all of this was Walsh getting on the team charter for a four-game, seven-day road trip that begins Tuesday night in Oklahoma City. Marbury's representative, Hal Biagas, expected to meet with Walsh at some point this week to continue buyout talks, but evidently Walsh has other, more pressing business.

UPDATE: A second executive I spoke with here -- one who's had frequent conversations with the Knicks and Clippers -- said the Camby-to-Knicks scenario is indeed the stuff of fantasy. For one thing, the Clippers have recoiled into major cost-cutting mode. All Donald Sterling is looking to take back in trades is cash and short contracts. Camby's deal expires after next season, so the only way Sterling trades him is if he gets a contract expiring after this season in return.

The Lee rumors will continue, though, because 1) Lee is the Knicks' most tradeable assset, and 2) every GM in the league knows that Walsh can't afford to keep him and have enough cap space in 2010. And that is the issue Knicks fans should be focusing on, not Marbury.



Since: Sep 30, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 4:23 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

I agree totally with your analysis.  Imagine if the Jordan led Bulls thought that way about Horace Grant, they would have been short by three rings.  The bigs that can guarantee you a double double every night are few and far between, and as a Laker fan, I'd pull the trigger in a heartbeat for this guy, we could use a scrappy rebounder that will give you 10-12 in the paint every night.  You hear that Lakers, we can do without a frst round draft pick this year.  Out!!

Since: Sep 18, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2009 2:13 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)


Since: Jul 11, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 1:37 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

The Knicks do need Lee. He's their first solid player since Kurt Thomas. Every team needs a guys whos knows how to do his job day in and day out and not look to be the superstar. He's a player LeBron would love to have, he passes, rebounds, plays d, runs the floor, loves the game and is always working hard even in the Black hole of losing the Knicks created inthe Garden. Now imagine a motivated winning Lee and he can fill a role such a Oakley.

Since: Sep 29, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2009 1:02 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

I cant even get through to you guys using sarcasm. New Yorkers must be the most disillusional fans on earth. their is no way in a million years LeBron would ever go their. he just loves worken your media. and you guys talk like its a forgone conclusion that hes coming. the arragance of you people is just awful. im gonna laugh my a$$ off when he crushes your hopes and dreams. lol suckers

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:30 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

Yes, Lee is a valuable commodity in the swirl of trade rumors. Who wouldn't want a "gimmie" double-double guy that hustles and gives 110% a night. The one problem trading Lee does is it de-values the talent on the rosters in order to attract the "marquee" free-agents. He would be a perfect fit for a Lebron James/ Chris Bosh led team. Chris Duhon I believe can handle the point gaurd duties when he is not asked to do too much. A Duhon,Robinson,James, Bosh, "and" Lee starting 5 would create many match-up problems and open so much space on the court "especially in D'Antoni's system" that it would give scouts and coaches alike fits on how to defend them. This roster and this system would leave David Lee open for dunk after dunk.The point is even if my dream scenario works out David Lee is a chip all teams need to go to the finals.

Since: Oct 15, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:26 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

The Sixers should have jumped on the Lee ship as soon as Elton Brand went down. He's one of the best 'role' players in the league, and will make at least 10 mil a year if he can hang in until the 2010 market.

Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:15 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

Since the Knicks seem to like all ex-Bulls, would they be willing to trade David Lee for Aaron Gray?

Since: Jan 24, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:12 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)


Since: Nov 23, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2009 11:15 am

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

And this thinking is why the Knicks will always be a cellar dwelling team in the east. Why would you deal a guy who is a double-double monster every night, just to clear cap room so that you might be able to sign someone like LeBron or D Wade? Why would a guy like LeBron come to a team with no supporting cast? Sure, the $$ might be there, but no chance at a title. The Knicks should build around Lee and Robinson, try to add some talented depth around him. If the team is attractive enough, they may be able to land the marque star in 2010 that they want. There is a nice core of Wilson Chandler, David Lee, Nate Robinson, Danilo Gallinari. Add a center and some depth on the bench, and maybe LeBron would consider the Knicks a better fit than Cleveland in 2010.

Since: Jan 7, 2009
Posted on: January 7, 2009 10:40 am

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury (UPDATE)

Forget Gimpy, er, Camby: he's, what, in his 10th year, and an accident/injury waiting to happen!!! The Knicks should keep/sign Lee and not waste every dollar they have signing Lebron. Convert the Lebron savings into the signing of two other free agents (Bosh, for a start). Combined with Lee (who is a young pup getting better daily), and Chris Duhon (another younster who is proving to be a solid PG), those (2) free agents will create a young and talented NY Knicks "team." Otherwise, if they go the dithc Lee route and waste all their $$$ on Lebron, we'll have a bunch of fellas in NY Knick uniforms watching King James showcase himself on a game-by-game basis.

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