The 2013 NBA playoffs were filled with many incredible moments: Ray Allen’s 3-pointer to send Game 6 of the NBA Finals to overtime, LeBron James making a game-winning layup with Roy Hibbert on the bench, Nate Robinson carrying the Bulls to a triple-overtime win and many more.
One moment that might have appeared to deserve mention – David Lee playing after suffering an injury that should have ended his season – was actually one of the postseason’s worst. Here’s why, per Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports:
The Golden State Warriors are exploring trade opportunities for All-Star forward David Lee and the three years, $44 million left on his contract, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.Lee, 30, is a popular and well-respected player within the Golden State franchise but his contract is considerable, and moving him for a star – or a player on a shorter deal – makes financial sense.
There’s a huge difference between a useful player competing through an injury and Golden State using Lee as a gimmick. If Mark Jackson wanted to motivate his team, he should have found other ways, and I believe he was capable. Jackson is one of the NBA’s most inspiring head coaches. Playing Lee was just an easy way out.
Now that the Warriors are considering trading him – a reasonable option on the merit of creating salary-cap flexibility, especially considering how successful they were in the playoffs after his injury – I wonder whether Lee regrets sacrificing his already-injured body for the team.