Report: Orlando Magic Could Be Trade Destination for David Lee

Dan FavaleFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2014

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 1:  David Lee #10 of the Golden State Warriors during the game against the Los Angeles Clippers in Game Six of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Oracle Arena on May 1, 2014 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
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David Lee's future with the Golden State Warriors isn't looking too bright.

Newly instated head coach Steve Kerr values floor spacing and is expected to implement an offense that calls for a stretch 4. While Lee has some range, he isn't a skilled three-point shooter and doesn't figure into Golden State's future plans. 

That may be good news for the Orlando Magic.

According to Bay Area News Group's Marcus Thompson, the Magic might be interested in acquiring the two-time All-Star:

I've been told to watch out for Orlando as a potential trade partner for Golden State. They have cap space and after a second consecutive year finishing way down in the Eastern Conference standings, they need to make a move. They might be a taker for David Lee for the same reasons the Warriors were back in 2010: they need someone who can produce reliably and usher the franchise into respectability.

The problem with any Lee trade remains his salary. He's owed more than $30.5 million over the next two seasons, a bill that Thompson acknowledges has "lowered the bar" on Golden State's expected return. 

Of course, the Warriors have an ulterior motive here: Kevin Love.

Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of named them as one team that "intrigued" the disgruntled Minnesota Timberwolves superstar. Lee would be an essential part of any deal, if only because the Warriors need someone who can make the trade work financially.

In the event the Timberwolves aren't interested in Lee—which is very possible—the Magic can enter talks as a third team that sends something or someone of additional value back to Minnesota.

Jim Mone/Associated Press

Moving Lee to Orlando serves another purpose as well: keeping or replacing Klay Thompson.

Golden State prefers not to move its starting shooting guard, but it may have no choice, according to Thompson—unless it's able to acquire someone like Arron Afflalo from Orlando, that is.

From Thompson:

Afflalo factors in if the Warriors have to move Klay Thompson. If Minnesota doesn't want Lee and the Warriors have to put together a package centered on Thompson (say Thompson, Barnes and Speights), the Warriors could be fine with that if they can send Lee to Orlando and come away with Afflalo to replace Thompson. If Love goes elsewhere, which is likely, the Warriors could package Lee and Thompson to get someone like Carmelo Anthony, then try to pull off a separate deal to get Afflalo. He plays both ends and he can shoot the 3. Plus, Love and GM Bob Myers would welcome another Bruin to the mix.

Acquiring Afflalo renders Thompson expendable or allows the Warriors to retain him by sending Orlando's guard to Minnesota instead. That would be huge.

It's also unlikely.

Chances are the Magic won't jump at the opportunity to flip Afflalo in any deal for Lee. Though they could certainly use Lee's double-doubles, Afflalo was their leading scorer last year. He only becomes expendable if they draft a guard and are then super high on said guard. Even then, there are no guarantees they want to move Afflalo, who was an All-Star-caliber scorer last year.

Nothing can be ruled out at the moment, though. The market for Lee will be determined as the draft nears and in the days, weeks or even months after. 

"This is a really good team," Kerr said of the Warriors at his introductory press conference, via Thompson.

They would be even better with Love, who becomes a much more attainable target if one of the Timberwolves or Magic sees Lee as $30-plus million well spent.


*Salary info via ShamSports.