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Golden State Warriors: 5 Teams That Would Pursue David Lee

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Cleveland Cavaliers

April 17, 2013; Charlotte, NC, USA; Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving (2) drives through the defense of the Charlotte Bobcats forward Josh McRoberts (11), forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist (14) and guard Kemba Walker (15) during the game at Time Warner Cable Arena. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Cavaliers won the finals equivalent for non-playoff teams; the draft lottery. This means they are getting their second first overall pick in the span of three years. What they want to do with that pick has yet to be established. The Cavs general manager, Chris Grant, has mentioned that they are willing to trade the pick which would expand Cleveland’s pool of players they could add this offseason.

One of the players in consideration would be David Lee. Lee would be the perfect fit for a young team like the Cavs by adding veteran experience to the team. He could be the key in developing a young talent like Tristan Thompson into a model player. Cleveland also has the space in the next couple years to continue paying Lee’s contract with ease.

How would the Warriors benefit from this trade?

With the flexibility of the No. 1 pick, the Warriors could go many ways with their choice. The predicted first pick, Nerlens Noel, wouldn’t really make sense because the Warriors already have Andrew Bogut and are developing Festus Ezeli. However, Ben McLemore makes sense. He who could fill in the same niche described in the Sacramento Kings section about an athletic guard who can put the ball down and drive to the hoop. His presence at the shooting guard position would allow the Warriors to use their small ball lineup.

Further, McLemore’s constant penetration to the basket will open up the floor for Stephen Curry and create better opportunities for everyone on the team. McLemore would also be an asset, not a liability, on defense, as his size and quickness would help shut down opposing guards. This is a trade not only across positions, but across age and potential. Ultimately. I think there is enough upside for both teams to make a trade like this.

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Topics: 2013-2014 Preview, Atlanta Hawks, Chicago Bulls, Cleveland Cavaliers, David Lee, Golden State Warriors, NBA, New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings

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  • Balls

    I think you are hugely over estimating David Lee’s value. He’s a nice player but massively overpaid for a guy who plays no d. Every team in the league would love to have the guy at a decent salary, but he makes almost 14 mil a year, coming off injury (and has been injured quite a bit throughout his career), and is a revolving door as a PnR defender. He had a nice year so I think there are a decent amount of teams that might be willing to take on his contract (which you probably couldn’t have said a year ago), but nobody is going to give up significant assets for him.

    C’mon, the number 1 pick? I realize the draft is pretty thin at the top but that doesn’t mean it should be given away for the right to overpay a guy who plays the same position as one of your best young players. Same thing with Teauge/Lou Williams. Teague is a very solid prospect on a rookie deal and Williams is a good player on a very reasonable deal. No way I would give up either for Lee.

    • Dhara Taheripour

      Thanks for the read and the comment. I think the question of value is relative to the team. Let’s look at the Cleveland Example. They have an average team age of 24.96, the fourth youngest of the league, and four of their starters are younger than 22 years old. This is why David Lee would potentially be a more attractive option instead of another young player that needs to develop. Lee would instantly provide experience, proven talent and leadership to a young team. He would be the perfect guy to mentor Tristan Thompson and Cody Zeller. Let’s also not forgot that Lee wouldn’t just be one of those old vets that gives pep talks in the locker room; he would be an improvement to current starter Thompson and obviously he is still a great player, at least on side of the court. Even if Lee has defensive issues, you can’t knock his rebounding and scoring ability. On the question of cost, Lee’s expensiveness can’t be measured in a vacuum because the contract they would have to sign the No. 1 pick to would be about $5 million per year, so, on balance, Lee would be about $9 million more than the alternative. Would you rather pay $14 million for a All-Star forward who lead the league in double-doubles or $5 million for a player who will, at best, need time to develop and acclimate to the NBA, or, at worst, need a lot of time to develop and acclimate to the NBA. Draft picks are risky, and despite his injuries, Lee is the safer option.

      The Atlanta situation is completely different and I will admit much, much, much less likely. The described scenario would only occur if the Hawks lost out on every free agent and were unable to retain Josh Smith. Now maybe Jeff Teague is a stretch, but if you were Hawks management, wouldn’t you potentially pounce on someone like Lee, rather than have to default to someone like Ivan Johnson? This is where value comes back into play. Would you rather create a formidable frontcourt in the short-term, or would you rather wait on younger players like Jeff Teague to develop and carry you out of the first round of the playoffs. The answers to these questions lay in the minds of the management, but the point is value is relative. While to us, something might seem far-fetched, if you are a GM facing pressures to get out of the first round, you might consider a short-term strategy, like Lee for Teague and Williams.

      • Balls

        Yep, I’d definitely rather have the #1 pick. That would a bad trade if Lee was on a very reasonable contract (like less than half what he makes now). Say what you will for the guys at the top of this draft, who all have warts, but I’d take any one of them over an overpaid, non-defending, injury prone thirty year old power forward, even if he is a really good rebounder and pick and pop option.

        • Dhara Taheripour

          Thanks for continuing the discussion. I respect your opinion and I think it has validity and at the same time, I think you are downplaying David Lee a little. Now, I am by no means a huge David Lee fan and I agree with a lot of what you have to say about him, but I will disagree on a few points.

          Yes, he is a bad defender and is notoriously well-known for it. I don’t think its fair to call him injury prone if he has only had two injuries (that he has played through) in his 8 years in the NBA. I think overpaid is a loaded word because then again, value is relative. Perhaps to you and I David Lee is overpaid because we saw Harrison Barnes, Draymond Green, Carl Landry and Festus Ezeli play the 4 and, for the most part, deliver through the playoffs. But let’s also not completely forsake Lee, as he was pretty essential during the regular season to even get us to a playoff spot with Andrew Bogut’s absence and Stephen Curry’s development of the pick and roll. Lee is a proven quantity. They know exactly what they are paying for with Lee, a mediocre defender and a double-double machine. And in terms of being injury-prone, let’s not forget that the pretty much consensus No. 1 pick Nerlens Noel will be on crutches when he puts on the Cavaliers cap. Noel will need 6 (realistically 8) to 12 months to recover from the February injury.

  • Ye

    dude are you fucking dumb? ben mclemore would be a HORRIBLE fit for the warriors. The purpose of the small ball lineup is so that steph can play off the ball. By getting mclemore and giving away david lee is a horrible idea. The small ball won’t work as well with steph still playing the point. On top of that, the warriors would then have no big man depth.

    • Ye

      it seems as if you want the warriors to get more guards when they have plenty of quality guards…

      • Dhara Taheripour

        Thanks for the comment and read. McLemore would serve the same purpose as the potential Eric Gordon trade would have done. The Warriors don’t have that “put the ball down and drive” guard. The small ball lineup still works fine as Harrison Barnes at the stretch 4 pulls defenders out of the paint which in turn creates better driving opportunities. This means that someone quick and athletic like McLemore could drive to the basket and either take the shot or dish it back out to Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson for the shot. Festus Ezeli and Andrew Bogut are two more defensive minded bigs that would provide the perfect rebounding support for a high flying offense such as this one. We would still have plenty of depth at the forward position with Draymond Green, Swingman Brandon Rush, Festus Ezeli and Dwayne Jones and Carl Landry. Ezeli and Jones specifically are two nearly 7’0” bigs who could come in and provide relief minutes for Bogut. Landry, Green and Ezeli have proven their ability to play the four. Let’s also not forget McLemore would be about 9 million dollars less expensive than Lee per year which would really free up the Warriors coffers come the 2014-15 season which holds one of the strongest free-agent classes to date.