NBA Rumor: Courtney Lee Trade

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The Dallas Mavericks, who made a trade offer on July 10 to acquire Iggy, have not budged. While various reports around the NBA have created the impression that there is “new movement” regarding Iguodala, there is nothing of the sort from the Mavs’ side. Dallas’ early-July offer to Memphis for the 35-year-old defensive stopper, who is on the Grizzlies roster but is not really part of the team, was the salary burden of Courtney Lee and a second-round pick, owned by Dallas via Golden State.

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In the case of every attempted trade, Team X is obviously trying to make it an “advantageous’ one. In the case of the Dallas Mavericks and their pursuit of a trade of Courtney Lee, the idea, sources tell me, is to make it a “cap-advantageous” one. The purpose begins with the expansion of the team’s soon-to-exist (around July 1) cap room of almost $30 million, and how to expand that. Finding a way to part with Lee, 34, who came over in the Knicks trade for Kristaps Porzingis with one year and $12.76 mil remaining on his contract, can bump that space up to where acquiring a big-fish free agent like Kemba Walker would be just that much easier. Conventional wisdom suggests that the Mavs can “just” stretch-waive Lee, and that is indeed an avenue.

Alex Kennedy: Courtney Lee told @HoopsHype that he’s excited to join the Dallas Mavericks and that “there are no hard feelings” with the New York Knicks because he understands their long-term plan. Here is Lee’s full reaction to today’s trade:

Hardaway Jr. has been inefficient this season while holding down a large burden on the offense. Despite his struggles, the Knicks need him to prop up their already below-average offense. Moving either Lee or Hardaway Jr. would get the Knicks the cap room they need, though trading Hardaway Jr. (who also has a 15 percent trade kicker) now could also make them uncompetitive way too often. Teams have asked the Knicks about Hardaway Jr. and Lee, according to league sources, but the Knicks have been adamant about not attaching assets to move them. Maybe a playoff team in need of scoring or wings will accede at some point and offer the Knicks a worthwhile return, or maybe the pressure of the trade deadline can make things move along.

Because Parker makes $20 million this year, and because the Bulls want to take back no players with contracts that stretch past this season, Parker would most likely have to be involved in a multi-team trade with one team under the cap. The Knicks and Pelicans have interest in Parker, according to league sources, but Chicago would not be willing to take back Courtney Lee from New York or Solomon Hill from New Orleans, making a three-team deal the only way Parker could wind up in either spot.

He’s seeing his playing time slashed as coach David Fizdale focuses on developing the team’s young players. Yet Lee is trying to remain positive. “You gotta stay professional,” Lee said after the Knicks’ morning shootaround Tuesday at Pepsi Center. “I’ve been in the league 11 years. Over those years from my rookie year on up I’ve had vets that’s been in this situation. I watched the ones that stayed positive and continued to work and stay ready.”

Hardaway is averaging 21 points, but his scoring efficiency is subpar and he’s being paid too much for the limited role he should be playing. Lee has missed 25 games with a neck injury and hasn’t looked himself when he’s been available. Neither player is large enough to defend bigger wings effectively. Contending teams may rather pass on both given the salary commitment. Front-office sources expect that the Knicks will have to attach an asset to dump Hardaway or Lee. The trouble will be finding a team willing to aid their cause.

Lee’s return naturally will double as a trade audition. Perhaps the most elegant way for the Knicks to clear a max salary spot for the summer of 2019 is moving Lee’s $12-plus-million-per-year contract that runs for another season after this one. In the meantime, the 33-year-old brings strong perimeter defense, a 40-percent 3-point shooting stroke and a been-there-before presence to the mix. “I’m just happy for him that he’s getting back to a place where he can play,” Fizdale said.
3 years ago via ESPN

They’ve been trying, sources say. With Lee on the books, the Knicks can carve out about $30 million in room depending on where they draft — that’s about $8 million short of Durant’s max, and $3 million below the max for a player with between seven and nine years of experience. They would prefer not to sacrifice a second-round pick in shedding Lee’s $12.7 million salary for 2019-20. That is going to be harder than you’d think, and maybe harder than it should be. New York needs to find a playoff team that values Lee’s on-court contributions more than the cap space it would sacrifice to get him.

Courtney Lee wants out?

Courtney Lee arrived a week and a half ago at the Knicks’ Tarrytown training center for voluntary workouts, gearing up for Monday’s start of training camp. The Knicks guard just doesn’t know how long he’ll be there. According to an NBA source, Lee’s preference is to be dealt to a playoff team or a contender. It’s an understandable wish formulated during an offseason spent in Orlando and Los Angeles as he saw the Knicks franchise’s youthful direction.

That started when they traded Carmelo Anthony before last season, and it continued when they drafted two high-ceiling prospects in the first round of the NBA Draft: Kevin Knox and Mitchell Robinson. They’ll join Kristaps Porzingis (once he returns from injury) as the future of the Knicks franchise. One player who’s apparently not part of that “future” could be Courtney Lee. In an Instagram post designed to get fans excited for the “Future of New York,” the Knicks featured a mash-up of Porzingis, Knox, Robinson, Enes Kanter, Tim Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Lance Thomas, Emmanuel Mudiay and Trey Burke. Noticeably absent is Lee, who led the Knicks in total minutes last season. Hmmm.

Lee’s contract expires in 2020. Indications from Knicks brass are they would like to get him off the books at some juncture and open even more cap space for 2019, when management believes it can make a big free-agent splash. Lee is having a career year but is 32. The trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m., but indications are the Knicks feel there will be other chances to deal veterans such as Lee. “That’s part of the business,” Lee said of the possibility of being traded. “I think everybody that’s here wants to be here, including myself. I think everybody is ready to take that challenge. I can only speak for myself and the guys in here, man. I can’t speak for management.”

With his two-way play Lee, who has made seven stops already in his 10-year career, is the sort of three-point shooting, defensive-minded wing that contender are seeking. And he knows it. “I’ve been in this league 10 years,” Lee said after the Knicks morning shoot around. “I’ve been traded a couple of times, so it’s nothing new. Only thing you can do is control what you can control, show up, be a professional, do your work, go hard, leave it all out on the court and whatever happens happens. “I understand a lot about this NBA man, it’s a business first and foremost. It comes with the territory. I definitely understand.”
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