David Lee expects Warriors to try trading him this offseason

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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.