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 29, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2009 9:46 am

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

Wow! is their a worse place on earth right now to play basketball then New York. If their is i would like to know where. it sounds like no one wants to be their. its becoming like their the Monteral Expos of the NBA. and thats a shame The Knicks fans deserve better. and they have better get it straightened out before 2010 if they hope to lure some talent in their. no star is gonna want to start over. if they are still in shambles. when their are more attractive franchises out their like Cleveland,Boston,LA,Detroit,Orlando,and perhaps a New Orleans. Just sad to see how bad it has gotten in New York.

Since: Aug 29, 2006
Posted on: January 7, 2009 9:01 am

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

I don't get the way Knicks ownership is thinking. They're preparing themselves to spend a billion dollars on a Wade or James at the sake of getting rid of all the players who would compliment such a superstar. When the smoke clears, they'll have Lebron James and a bunch of sub-role players surrounding him. That doesn't work anywhere.

The 76'ers couldn't win with just Ivenson. Even Kobe needed to be surrounded by other stars like Shaq to be a champion. Carmello Anthony isn't enough on the Nuggets.

Guys like Lee and Robinson are the exact kind of guys that would do wonders for James or Wade. If you want to shed baggage and dump salaries, you started out just fine by dumping Randolph. Next up is Curry, Richardson, Marbury, and Rose. Build your team around Robinson, Lee, and Chandler. Everyone else can go

Since: Mar 30, 2007
Posted on: January 7, 2009 4:07 am
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Since: Jun 18, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:34 am

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

The Knicks have a potential superstar on thier roster, Jerome James and he wants to play!

Since: Mar 31, 2008
Posted on: January 7, 2009 12:21 am

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

Lee needs to be kept at any cost. He is their best player hands down and if he goes that will be the biggest mistake Walsh could make. Robinson needs to go because he is a valuable scorer and could be extremely beneficial to a team that is much more well rounded. The Knicks are not even remotely close to being a successful team and they do not have any use for him. We need a big name player who can carry the team. Marion, Wade, Bosh, LeBron, Kobe are all players who would be idealistic in a Knicks uni. However, in order to build a supporting cast, Lee is definitly going to need to be here.

Since: Jan 2, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 8:38 pm

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

The Knicks would be crazy to trade Lee. He is a 25 year old that averages a double double. His numbers have improved every year as his playing time increases. I don't get the comment that he lacks shooting touch. He has a career FG pct. of 57%. Someone needs to save these "team executives" from themselves.

Since: Oct 8, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 7:39 pm

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

The Knicks should keep Lee but they also must know that he is not a superstar. The Knicks cannot let Lee get greedy and eat up cap space that could be used in 2010.  I am sick of Starbury.  David Lee is a solid player but not worth a max deal.

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: January 6, 2009 7:03 pm
This comment has been removed.

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Since: Dec 19, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 6:51 pm

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

Lee is a great player and need a star on his team... and Marbury go be a disfunctional team player anywhere but in New York.

Since: Oct 25, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 6:38 pm

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

The Knicks ought to work out something in the middle to make both parties happy and keep Lee. We all know that they have had little talent and few players that were on the court to earn their pay! Every team needs a good garbage man (example Lakers-Kurt Rambis), that's willing to get down in the trenches and put in some hard work. Lee is that guy for the Knicks.



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