“He should get some consideration definitely,” D’Antoni said. “I think he’s played as well as anybody in the league, without a doubt.”
D’Antoni has certainly been vocal about how well David Lee has played this season. Lee is averaging 15/11 this season and has been on fire as of late averaging 18/12 in his last 5 games. Lee is the only true dominant force for the Knicks in the post, but for how long?
The Blazers are just one of several teams who have shown interest in one of the hottest free agent commodities in the upcoming off-season.
Here lies the problem though. With Lee putting up career numbers this season he is going to ask for a big extension this off-season, perhaps more then the Knicks want to offer.
So, what do the Knicks do? Allow Lee to test the free agent market? Extend him before the season is over? Trade him while he’s playing so well to get solid players in return, rather then nothing?
With Lee putting up incredible numbers every night out you can’t help but believe he is going to test the market, especially if the Knicks miss the playoffs. Lee is going to get very nice offers from several elite teams in the NBA, and knows the Knicks are in a bind.
The only way the situation can work out in the Knicks favor is trading him before the deadline. Making the playoffs would be great for New York, but getting swept by either the Cavs or Celtics could do some serious damage to the mindset of our young guys.
The Blazers have shown the most interest in Lee up to this point, but if the Knicks officially make it known to GM’s around the league, then expect more and better offers to come Donnie Walsh’s way.
The Blazers might be the team of the future, but the surplus of youth on the squad could become a problem. The Blazers untouchables are obviously Brandon Roy, Greg Oden, Nicholas Batum, and perhaps Lamarcus Aldridge and Martell Webster.
The Knicks could definitely use the raw talent on the Blazers as they continue to put together a contending squad. No matter what the Knicks do they need to get a quality young point guard and power forward in return.
The Knicks biggest need is at center, but you could also make the case the for the point guard position. The Blazers could offer a point guard of the future in Sergio Rodriguez, but if the Knicks give up Lee they need a low post player to balance it out. The Blazers can’t do that. The team who could offer a quality point guard, and low post player is none other then the Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies are looking to move Mike Conley, and with Hakeem Warrick still coming off the bench he may become more vocal about his playing time. A deal that would include Mike Conley and Hakeem Warrick for Lee would be the best situation in my mind.
Regardless, the Knicks have options with Lee and the fate of Lee will fall on how much he wants to stay in New York, and whether the Knicks have him in their long term plans. I feel the Knicks will end up letting him test the market and try to match what other teams offer him. However, if the Knicks get outbid the damage could be critical to this team’s future regardless of how the 2010 off-season works out.