July Madness: NBA Free Agent David Lee

Zach McDonieContributor IJune 10, 2010

NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 17:  David Lee #42 of the New York Knicks against the Chicago Bulls at Madison Square Garden on February 17, 2010 in New York, New York. 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 the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

July 1. It is a day that is circled on the calender of every die-hard NBA fan across the nation. The summer of 2010 has the potential to be the most historic offseason in NBA history. Anyone with a pulse knows that this summer some of the most prolific athletes in the league will have big decisions to make on where they will continue their careers.

This is about much more than just the players, though. The fate of the NBA is at stake. It lies in the hands of names such as Bosh, Wade, James, and Boozer.

Well, it's no secret that everyone and their brother have an opinion on the matter. ESPN floods us with "experts" who claim that "this guy is staying or that guy is leaving" every single day. The fact is, no one really knows for sure. And with a likely "summit" meeting in the making, I don't think that the players even really know.

I, like every sports fan, have opinions on where all of the players will end up. Many people are expecting a huge shakeup of the league. I tend to lean towards that side as well. Normally, I am on the more conservative side when it comes to free agency. However, I believe that the stars are aligned for this to be a memorable summer.

The Eastern Conference definitely has the upper hand financially entering this summer, and I believe that a shift of power is in the making. The East has slowly been chipping away at the West's choke hold on the power in the NBA. I would say it is time for them to slingshot right by. The month of July can get them to that point, making them the dominant power in basketball.

Over the next week, I will be profiling some of the high profile free agents and where I think the most suitable destinations for them will be. Hope you all enjoy. Be sure to give me some feedback along with your opinions on the subject.

David Lee

Lee may be the free agent who is flying most under the radar heading into the offseason. With all the chatter about Boozer, Stoudemire, and Bosh, this all-star is not getting the amount of buzz he deserves.

After averaging 20 points and 11 rebounds per game for the Knicks this season, there is no longer any doubt that Lee can shoulder the load for a team. The Knicks leaned heavily on the 27 year old PF this season and, as usual, he did not disappoint.

Lee will be entering the sixth year of his career and has many more years ahead of him (including three or four in his prime). This is why I am completely shocked that people are not directing more attention his way. Lee will have a tough decision to make this summer, but the NBA draft could make it a bit easier for him.

My thoughts: Lee's best bet is to stay in New York. In any other year, I would probably jump ship. But with attention that the "big three" forwards have been garnering, Lee is not in a position to search out a new team and be treated as a top priority.

His most desirable destinations include Chicago, Miami, and Cleveland. However, each one of these franchises have their eyes on "bigger fish" so to speak. New York is in a position to surround him with outstanding talent. They are probably the franchise which poses the biggest treat to stockpile talent.

If I were in Lee's shoes, I would attempt to work out a deal as soon as possible. Express interest to stay in NYC and knock out a deal. Don't let the front office lust over the big three and put you on the back burner.

My prediction: Pending the Nets avoid drafting Derek Favors at No. 3, I say that they end up signing Lee. The Knicks aren't opposed to the idea of letting Lee walk. While there is no doubt he is a great player, there are other options who they view as not only better, but more marketable.

In the end, I see New York being blinded by the light of the superstars and implementing a wait-and-see strategy with Lee. The only problem with that is, Lee isn't going to wait around. The Nets are in need of a power forward to pair in the low post with rising star Brook Lopez. New Jersey can afford to pay Lee big bucks, and secure a face for the franchise.


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