On a day where LeBron James is owning the headlines nationwide, the New York Knicks appear to be attempting a last-second deal to let "The King" know they can assemble a team around him.
The Knicks are rumored to have a deal on the table that would send Lee to Golden State for Anthony Randolph, Ronny Turiaf, and either Keleena Azubuike or Brandan Wright.
It is, by far, the weirdest deal we have heard involving Lee, who would have to agree to the deal in what would seem to be a money-grab.
It's a deal that appears to help neither team. Let's explore why.
This appears to be a last-gasp move by the Warriors' current management to bring a new mix to town.
The problem is that, when you break the numbers down, Lee is essentially an older Randolph.
Randolph's 11.6 PPG and 6.5 RPG in 22.7 minutes per game are comparable to Lee's 20.2 PPG and 11.7 RPG in 37.3 minutes per game.
So, you're taking in a much higher salary in Lee and getting the same production in a body seven years older than Randolph.
The Knicks just went out and spent $100 million on a top-tier power forward in Amar'e Stoudemire.
The idea was that the Knicks needed to get top-notch guards back in a deal for Lee.
Instead, they get a guy who has tremendous upside but has played limited minutes in the NBA.
The knock against Lee is that he is not a traditional low-post player that would work in the Warriors' system.
They need a back-to-the-basket guy with moves in the post that can work in half-court sets.
Lee is not that guy.
If Don Nelson is not the coach for the long-term—as is the thought in Golden State—the team is going to need a power guy that has more versatility in playing style.
The idea in a sign-and-trade is that the Knicks would get something useful back in exchange. The point guard, the shooting guard, the small forward to go with Stoudemire.
In this deal, there are far better options on the free-agent market for the Knicks to chase rather than eating up $9 million in cap space to take back these three players.
Lee for Randolph on paper is an even swap.
The Warriors are taking on a huge amount of salary in the deal and a long-term commitment.
In the process, you're losing a 6-10 center that has been a productive part of the team's rotation.
I know the Knicks need to find players at this point, but they have a lot of money to make that happen.
Taking on two role players in Turiaf and Azubuike or Wright, you're essentially admitting that you can't do better on the free agent market.
It's too soon in the process to concede that.
Azubuike and Turiaf are two of the team's best defenders and big-guy defenders at that.
On the other hand, Lee is a slightly-below-average defender at best.
You're losing manpower to defend against guys like Pao Gasol, Tim Duncan, or even Luis Scola.
That's a step backward.
The Knicks are likely losing out on LeBron James. When that happens, they're going to be seen as a major failure for what they looked to accomplish this summer.
Getting Stoudemire is a huge help, but you have a valuable bargaining chip in Lee to bring something of high quality back in return.
There are more people that will have to Google Anthony Randolph than will applaud the deal.
It completely lacks the sizzle that the Knicks need this summer.
The team is in a huge ownership flux right now. You have a star in Monta Ellis and a rising stud in Stephen Curry. Randolph fits that mold more than Lee.
On top of that, why take on a $60 to $90 million deal at a time where you don't know what direction the team is heading in.
It's much more of a head-scratcher for Golden State.
Beyond the lack of sizzle here, taking back a 20-year-old project is not what Knicks fans want to see right now.
The loyal core of fans have stuck by the team because they've been told, "Just wait for the summer of 2010. We got this."
Anthony Randolph doesn't say, "We got this."
It says, "Hey, we're grasping at straws here. This is the best we can do."
New York is not a crowd that's happy with that. They pay top-dollar prices. They want top-dollar talent.
The Knicks would be better just re-signing Lee in this scenario. He's the best guy on the market right now.