Warriors looking to trade former All-Star David Lee this summer?
The Golden State Warriors are a team on the rise. The franchise is coming off its first 50-win campaign since the 1991-92 season and has made the playoffs in consecutive years.
But the Warriors’ front office wants to be even better and the group is intent on using this offseason as a way to position themselves to join the ranks of the league’s elite in fairly short order.
For starters the club dismissed head coach Mark Jackson earlier this month, despite the recent run of success the club had under his leadership.
Warriors management then took a huge gamble by hiring league veteran (and five-time NBA champion) Steve Kerr, who has zero NBA head coaching experience, to replace the well-liked Jackson.
However the changes for the franchise don’t appear to be stopping at the coaching level.
According to a report by Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury News, former All-Star forward David Lee could be on the trading block heading into the summer. League sources undoubtedly believe Lee will be available for the right package.
The Warriors currently have $63 million in guaranteed salaries on the books for next season. Lee is owed $15 million in 2015 and an additional $15.5 million the following season. While Lee was extremely productive this season, averaging 18.2 points and 9.3 rebounds on 52 percent shooting, Kerr reportedly wants to add a stretch four to the roster, which has sparked Lee’s name to be included in trade talks.
According to the report, the Orlando Magic may emerge as a strong suitor for Lee.
The Magic have been extremely patient in their post Dwight Howard rebuilding project, so on the surface making a play for the highly compensated Lee seems to be outside of their realm of recent operation.
However, the Magic have plenty of cap room to make a deal happen, should they choose to engage, sitting on just $33 million in guaranteed salary for next season.
The Magic hold the No. 4 overall pick in this year’s talented draft class but the consensus top three prospects, Jabari Parker, Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid, are expected to be off the board.
Whether Orlando ends up as the dance partner in this scenario or not, it’s clear the Warriors will need to make a move due to their salary cap position if they’re trying to become flexible to add a piece or two to make a championship run.
The club has $40 million tied into Lee, center Andrew Bogut ($12.9 million) and forward Andre Iguodala ($12.3 million) next season. Bogut and Iguodala are both under contract until 2017, which will make their respective deals harder to move. Lee, on the other hand, is essentially an expiring contract in 2015 that a team could dangle to secure future assets or clear coveted salary cap space.
Sacramento Kings looking to deal lottery pick
The Sacramento Kings haven’t reached the playoffs since the 2006 campaign, back when point guard Mike Bibby was leading the franchise nightly in scoring. In fact, 2008 was the last time the franchise registered 30 or more wins in a single season.
To put it simply, basketball in Sacramento has been bad for a very long time. But heading into the summer the team is positioned much better in regards to overall talent and may be ready to end the current streak of futility, if the front office can work some magic.
The Kings hold the No. 8 overall pick in this year’s draft, a class where most project the incoming rookies to be much deeper than in recent years.
However, according to Jason Jones of the Sacramento Bee, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro may be looking to package the lottery pick if the right opportunity arises come draft time.
Just got off the phone with Pete D'Alessandro. Kings open to dealing pick, but not at expense of passing on possible "gamechanging" talent
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) May 21, 2014
Sacramento has just $47 million in guaranteed salary on the books for the 2015 campaign. However, this figure doesn’t include the $19.3 million cap number for forward Rudy Gay should the veteran high scorer elect to opt-in to final year of his current deal.
According to D’Alessandro, the team isn’t opposed to moving down in draft order and also didn’t deny being in the market for additional picks later in the draft. One thing D’Alessandro is refusing to do is pass up on a potential game changing player.
Kings not opposed to moving up, down either, for the right deal. Acquiring a second-round pick is still an option.
— Jason Jones (@mr_jasonjones) May 21, 2014
One player the Kings are looking to ensure is in the fold moving forward is point guard Isaiah Thomas, who averaged 20.3 points and 6.3 assists this past season. Thomas is headed toward restricted free agency, which gives the Kings’ front office the ability to match any offer received for his services this summer.
But it is important to note that if Gay does elect to opt-in to the final year of his contract, Sacramento would be hovering near luxury tax levels at $67 million in guaranteed salary for next season and that isn’t factoring in what Thomas would command.
D’Alessandro has been extremely active since taking over as general manager and it appears the team’s lottery pick in this year’s loaded draft class is going to be one of his main weapons to bring Sacramento back into the land of respectability.