Warriors traded David Lee to Celts. Good for him. Nice guy. Never a grump when he got benched. Deserves to play and contribute, something he would not have done much on the Dubs.
I’m not sure you’re right about the value of David Lee, at least not after the latest free agent signings. While the Warriors (and far too many in the media) are congratulating themselves on changing basketball–small ball as the future–every elite team that will challenge them next season has gotten bigger.
San Antonio, with Duncan, Aldridge and Leonard, will dwarf Bogut, Green and Barnes, and the Spurs are now better, much better, at each position; anyone who believes that’s an exaggeration should google video of Draymond Green “guarding” Aldridge, or Barnes chasing after Leonard, not to mention Bogut’s struggles to stay up on Tim Duncan: notice the horror genre.
Cleveland, with both Kevin Love & Tristan Thompson (and Mosgov & James), will also be a much bigger team and easily dominate the boards. The Bulls should cause similar problems with Noah, Gasol, Taj Gibson and even the 6’10” Mirotic. The Thunder are big: Ibaka & Durant have given Green & Barnes fits (the Warriors were very lucky not to face a healthy Kevin Durant in the playoffs).
So trading a 6’10” power forward who can score with either hand in the paint and force players like Aldridge, Love, Gasol and Ibaka to work on defense, even if David Lee only played 15 to 20 minutes a game, doesn’t really make sense. Not if the point is winning.
Lacob & Co. save a large chunk of money, it’s true, but of course they’ve already made a ton on this team, and not just on ticket and merchandise sales, but on the increased value of the franchise. So why not pay a bigger tax bill for one year and defend your title with the best team possible? At this point there can’t be much debate–the genius of Tim Kawakami aside–that the best team in the next twelve months for Golden State included David Lee, in a supporting role.
Now if they get pounded in the paint in key games or series next season, and the 3 point shooting goes cold (we’re looking straight at you, Klay Thompson), this trade will be short-sided and damaging–a mistake.
If defending a title is the only real point to the season.
So just how much more are the Warriors worth than five years ago, Joe? And where, exactly, is that money in this equation?
Lowell Cohn has been covering Bay Area sports for more than 30 years and he’s never run out of things to say.