With the 2013 offseason under way, word leaked out that the Golden State Warriors engaged teams into talks about trading David Lee.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, the Warriors were exploring a couple of scenarios involving the big man. One of the conversations the Golden State brass entertained revolved around potentially acquiring Andrea Bargnani in a swap for Lee:
“Golden State offered Lee in a package for Toronto’s Andrea Bargnani, sources said, but the Raptors made a deal with the New York Knicks”.
Bargnani is an acceptable defender but his offense has simply [SPOILER ALERT] shared the same fate as Robb Stark from Game of Thrones. The Italian forward is said to be a stretch big man, but his 3-point shooting percentages indicate the contrary.
Synergy Sports tells us Bargnani converted 33.6 percent of his spot up 3-pointers in 2012-13. Given that spot up opportunities are typically open ones, that’s an incredibly poor percentage. As a point of reference, Dirk Nowitzki converted 45 percent of his spot up treys in 2012-13.
For those wondering whether Bargnani was simply slumping in 2012-13 on this front, that shooting figure was his highest in the last three seasons.
With that said, the New York Knicks swooped in and took the forward off the hands of the Toronto Raptors. The Dubs’ preliminary talks about trading Lee for Bargnani begs this question though: Why in the hell would the front office want Bargs in return for a productive double-double machine?
In short, the answer is money owed. Lee has three years left on his contract for a total of $44.4 million whereas Bargnani is signed for two years for a remaining $22.5 million (he has an early termination clause for 2014-15).
With that said, there is no substitute for talent, which might explain why Lee is still a member of the Warriors. Golden State must do their due diligence and gauge the value of all their players if they want to upgrade their roster.
Keep in mind, a Lee trade for Bargnani would have also likely ensured the Dubs avoid the luxury tax in 2013-14. Since the tax penalties become far more punitive starting with the 2013-14 campaign, it’s only normal for management to keep an eye out on that.
With the 2013 offseason in full swing, Golden State is hoping to lure Dwight Howard away from the Los Angeles Lakers during free agency. Thus, if they think they have even a realistic chance at bringing in Howard via sign-and-trade, they have to consider trading Lee if they want to reduce the luxury tax bill involved after the fact.
Golden State might ultimately keep the core intact. However, management would not be exhausting all possible efforts to improve the team if they were not having these conversations.
Questions or comments? Feel free to leave them in the comments section or you can contact me by email at [email protected].