Apr 20, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee (34) and Golden State Warriors forward David Lee (10) during the first half of game one of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets won97-95. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Golden State Warriors Exploring Trade Options For David Lee

Free Agency has began, and the trade rumors are in full force too.

Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski reported Sunday night that the Golden State Warriors are exploring trade possibilities for David Lee, who has three years, $44 million left on his contract.

Wojnarowski reported that the Warriors offered Lee in a package for the Toronto Raptors’ Andrea Bargnani, but Bargnani was ultimately traded to the New York Knicks later Sunday evening.

Golden State’s interest in Bargnani is interesting, because he’s pricey and he’s coming off one of his worst seasons as a pro. Not to mention that his niche is shooting-the Warriors need rebounders and defenders up front, especially with Festus Ezeli out until at least December.

The Warriors have also set their sights on one of the NBA’s elite power forwards (an excerpt from Wojnarowski’s report):

Aldridge as part of an offer that included Brandon Rush, league sources said. Portland has been engaging trade talks for Aldridge, but has pursued more robust offers than Golden State’s proposal, sources said.

The report doesn’t come as a huge shock, but it does have a “wow” factor to it.

The Warriors thrived without Lee in the playoffs, shifting to a small-ball approach that better suited their offense. This led many to question Lee’s value to the team. In other words: would they be better off without Lee? And more significantly  could they save some money by trading him?

Both questions are up for debate, but the Warriors do value Lee in spite of their efforts to explore trade possibilities:

LaMarcus Aldridge is a much more capable defensive power forward. He averaged 21.1 points and 9.1 rebounds in 37.7 minutes per game in 2012-13.  Lee, who tore his hip flexor in Game 1 of the first round of the playoffs, averaged 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds in 36.8 minutes.

When we talk about building blocks, Aldridge fits that description, whereas Lee is more of a secondary piece with a pricey contract. Aldridge will make a little less than $15 million in 2013-14 and close to $17 million the next year.



Tags: Brandon Rush David Lee Golden State Warriors Lamarcus Aldridge Portland Trail Blazers Toronto Raptors

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