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: Dec 25, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 5:45 pm

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

Why trade this kid away, he is a young and up and coming star right now. So is Little Nate who is a beast on the boards I say keep these two high intensity players. But what the knicks need to do is to build up a team with chemistry trading guys left and right isnt the way to do it. I want to see Stoudamire and D Wade on the Knicks in 2010 forget LJ he will stick it out with the Cavs. Knicks need a Center and a guard keep Lee unless you can get someone major.

Since: Feb 2, 2007
Posted on: January 6, 2009 5:34 pm

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

Any team would be lucky to have a  player like David Lee. He is the definition of team first. When Isiah left and Mike Dantoni came to town he adjusted his game and body. He has the ability to be a star. Not to make this a race thing, but generally speaking when a white, non-european player is good, he is ignored or lumped in with "role players". Sure he is no Lebron James, but he is the best player on that team and would be on many.

Since: Oct 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 4:33 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury

trade lee to magic for reddick and  second round pick maybe even battie

Since: Oct 23, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 4:31 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury

trade lee to magic for reddick and a first rond pick maybe he battie

Since: Jan 6, 2009
Posted on: January 6, 2009 4:20 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury

Every team in the NBA has a "potential star."  How many have rugged bigs that turn out double-doubles every game?  How many teams wish they had players who know their limitations and maximize their potential?

Dismissing Lee as a simple role player is a mistake.  He's not Reggie Evans.  Lee has an offensive game.  He just works within the framework of his team.

And before anyone attributes Lee's current strong play solely to D'Antoni's system, take a look at his work under Isiah.  Guy averaged a double-double off the bench in 30 minutes. 

The Knick's real priority is getting rid of Curry.  If we can get a few expiring contracts for Curry, the Knicks can re-sign Lee and acquire to max FA's.

Since: Oct 9, 2008
Posted on: January 6, 2009 3:49 pm

Knicks' No. 1 issue is Lee, not Marbury

This is true in every way. I do feel that the Knicks MUST keep Lee. There is no guarentee that the Knicks will sign a marquee name and Lee on the Knicks might help attract some guys. When Lee is with the Knicks, they will have there best chance in the paint. He can pick up the scraps from misses but Harrington, Duhon and Robinson. The Knicks need Lee more than they think.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or