Tag: David Lee

Memphis Grizzlies v Golden State Warriors - Game Five

David Lee expects Warriors to try trading him this offseason


When a report emerged two years ago about the Warriors trying to trade David Lee, the forward said that wasn’t the case.

Golden State reportedly tried harder to trade Lee last year.

Now, he has wised up.

Scott Howard-Cooper of NBA.com:

Lee, on the books for $15.4 million in 2015-16 as the final installment of a six-year, $80-million deal as part of a sign-and-trade with the Knicks, knows they will try to trade him.

“I think they tried to trade me the last two years, didn’t they?” he told NBA.com.

“That’s nothing new,” he said of preparing to be traded. “But once again, what’s kind of predicted and what ends up happening is not always the same thing. We’ll just see what happens. I love it here. We have accomplished a lot here. We’ll see once the season’s over. The most important thing, though, is getting this ring first and then worrying about that later.”

Lee is right. Though he has handled his demotion this season with class and provides solid insurance behind the team’s rotation players, Golden State will try to trade him.

The financials mandate it.

Let’s say – perhaps generously – the Warriors decline Marreese Speight’s team option, and Brandon Rush declines his player option. Add a max contract for Draymond Green, the standard 120 percent of scale for the No. 30 pick and four minimum contracts to fill the roster.

Using data from Basketball Insiders and the projected luxury-tax line, that’d give Golden State a payroll of $136,078,768 –$99,124,416  in salary and$36,954,352 luxury-tax payments.

Remove Lee, and it drops to $86,676,840 –$83,630,736 in salary and$3,046,104 in luxury-tax payments.

The Warriors don’t use Lee much, anyway. They sure don’t want to pay nearly $50 million to keep him next season.

But they want to keep Green, which means working hard to find a new home for Lee.

Adjusting for playoff rotations says Warriors and Cavaliers should be favored to reach NBA Finals

Golden State Warriors v Cleveland Cavaliers

The Hawks went 60-22, Cavaliers 53-29, Warriors 67-15 and Rockets 56-26 this season.

How much do those record tell us about those teams entering the conference finals?

Something, but definitely not enough.

Players like Thabo Sefolosha, Kevin Love, Dion Waiters, Justin Holiday, Patrick Beverley and Donatas Motiejunas all factored into their team’s regular-season results. But – due to injury, trade or shortening of playoff rotations – they likely won’t play a part of the conference finals.


In an attempt to get better data, I’ve used nba wowy! to rank playoff teams by regular-season net rating (offensive rating minus defensive rating), counting only the lineups that include five players projected to be in the team’s post-season rotation.

This measure is far from perfect. It doesn’t account for opponent or weigh lineups based on how often they’ll be used in the postseason, and it’s impossible to precisely predict a team’s playoff rotation.

We did this exercise before the playoffs and before the second round. I’ve updated the numbers with second-round results and modified projected rotations where necessary. As always, remember, this is only one data point in a complex picture when evaluating teams.

Here are the conference finalists’ ratings – actual regular-season to projected based on expected rotations:

Eastern Conference

2. Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 114.9
  • Defensive rating: 106.9 to 103.3
  • Net rating: +4.8 to +11.6

1. Atlanta Hawks

  • Offensive rating: 109.6 to 110.5
  • Defensive rating: 103.8 to 103.0
  • Net rating: +5.8  to +7.5


  • The big question: Will Kyrie Irving play? This projection assumes he does.
  • Without Irving, Cleveland actually rates better by this model (114.7 offensive rating/91.4 defensive rating/+23.3 net rating). This doesn’t mean the Cavaliers actually are better without Irving. Of course, they’re not. That stellar play without Irving comes in just 273 minutes, a small sample that was at least partially self-selected by David Blatt. Cleveland surely wouldn’t fare as well if it had to play its Irving-less minutes against the starters of a 60-win team, but that will be the predicament the Cavs would face without him here. This indicates, though, the Cavaliers might fare better than expected without Irving. That’d mean more responsibility for LeBron James, which often works out well. It’s hardly a sure bet, though – just a clue.
  • In the same vein, even with Irving included for Cleveland, the Hawks’ projected rotation players have play more than 2.5 times as many minutes together as the Cavaliers’. Before the playoffs began, Cleveland looked poised to run through the Eastern Conference. But Kevin Love’s injury threw a wrench into the projections. Not only do the Cavaliers rate worse than with Love, we have less information by which to assess them.
  • This model does not account for game location, and Atlanta has home-court advantage.
  • Bottom line: We know the Hawks are good. The Cavaliers – at least those that project to play these Eastern Conference finals – have looked better than Atlanta, but we also know less about them.


1. Golden State Warriors

  • Offensive rating: 111.7 to 115.4
  • Defensive rating: 101.3 to 97.9
  • Net rating: +10.4 to +17.5

2. Houston Rockets

  • Offensive rating: 107.5 to 110.1 to 112.3 to 111.4
  • Defensive rating: 104.0 to 101.0  to 101.2 to 104.2
  • Net rating: +3.5 to +9.1 to +11.1 to +7.2


  • The Warriors’ projection includes includes David Lee and Festus Ezeli, not Marreese Speights, who’s out at least Game 1. If Speights can play, Golden State rates even better on both ends.
  • As noted by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, the Rockets are the first team since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams to reach the conference finals while being outscored in the postseason. Most teams – at least the ones that avoid injury – see their projection rise as they win during the playoffs, but Houston’s has fallen. The Rockets are still well ahead of their actual regular-season production, though.
  • One big reason this model underrates Houston: Dwight Howard doesn’t factor as prominently because he missed so much time due to injury. As long as he remains healthy, the Rockets will rely on him more than projected here – and they’ll be better for it.
  • Bottom line: The Warriors, as has been the case all along, are the clear favorites.

Marreese Speights won’t play in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals, according to Steve Kerr

Marreese Speights, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant

On Tuesday, the Warriors will host either the Rockets or Clippers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals (depending on who wins Game 7 this afternoon), and they’ll be without backup power forward Marreese Speights, according to head coach Steve Kerr:

Speights suffered the calf injury in Game 3 of the Warriors’ second-round series against the Grizzlies, which ended on Friday. He’ll be out for at least the start of the Conference Finals, which will mean more playing time for David Lee, who has seen his role increase in the second half of the Memphis series.

Warriors’ Marreese Speights out at least a week with right calf strain

Marreese Speights

The Warriors will likely be without a key rotation piece for the rest of the second-round series against the Grizzlies, and maybe beyond, if they go to the Conference Finals. Marreese Speights suffered a calf strain in the Warriors’ 99-89 loss to the Grizzlies on Saturday.

Speights played a key role on the bench for the Warriors this season but he hasn’t played much in the playoffs. He’s averaged 7.3 minutes per game, 4 points and 2.3 rebounds. The injury means the Warriors will be expecting more out of David Lee going forward.

Klay Thompson’s dad ‘heard it on good authority’ Warriors would ‘go hard after Kevin Durant’

Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson

Kevin Durant will become a free agent in 2016, and plenty of teams – Wizards, Knicks, Lakers, Raptors – have been mentioned as possible destinations.

Of course, the Thunder have a strong shot to re-sign Durant, too.

They might have to fend off another suitor, though – the Warriors.

Mychal Thompson – Klay Thompson’s dad/former NBA player/Los Angeles sportscaster – on ESPN LA (hat tip: Alex Torres of Warriors World):

I also heard it on good authority from a team that plays in the Bay Area that they’re going to go hard after Kevin Durant.

David Lee’s massive contract expires when Durant hits free agency, and the salary cap will skyrocket. But that doesn’t mean Golden State will have enough cap room to sign Durant.

The Warriors have five players under contract for 2016-17: Klay Thompson, Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Andrew Bogut and Shaun Livingston. They’ll also likely give Draymond Green a max contract this summer. Plus, they have their own first-round pick each of the next two years.

With those eight players to the roster, Golden State projects to have a little less than $11 million in cap room. Durant’s starting salary projects north of $25 million.

It’s not inconceivable the Warriors could create the necessary room, though. Move Livingston and one of the eight-digit players, and Golden State should get there. They’ve been down the road of needing to clear salary to sign a free agent before.

Obviously, at this point, the idea is mostly fantasy. But the thought of Curry and Durant on the same team? As someone who enjoys quality basketball, yes please.