NBA / Jul 1, 2009 / 11:34 am

The Knicks Might As Well Spit In David Lee’s Face

David Lee

If you can’t sign ‘em, Donnie Walsh must believe that you might as well insult ‘em. After averaging a career high 16 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, the Knicks are apparently only prepared to offer David Lee a four-year, $32 million deal.

To me that’s crazy. I understand teams not wanting to overpay for marginal players, but Lee was the third leading rebounder in the NBA last season and the heart and soul of the Knicks. While it appears the going rate (at least in Lee’s mind) is $10 million a season, it seems no matter how much Knicks fans love D-Lee, money also cheers louder.

“There’s no question he’d love to stay in New York,” Lee’s agent, Mark Bartelstein told the News’ Frank Isola. “But you are only a free agent so many times in our career, especially in the prime of your career.”

And teams with money that they’re willing to spend will eventually win out. If the Knicks are smart, they’ll pull off a sign-and-trade with either Lee or Nate Robinson rather than letting them walk away for nothing, and it appears Portland, Detroit, Oklahoma City and Memphis have the most interest in the power forward.

What do you think will happen?

Source: Daily News

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  • QQ

    Insult to DLee. Useless Knicks.

  • Arrogant

    they will let him go unless someone wants Curry or Jerrod Jeffries…. to get rid of those salaries….

    Have u heard Currys’ house is going through foreclosure???

  • DH

    Putting on a Knicks jersey every night is insulting enough…

  • Mike

    More disrespect from my Knicks. I hope they realize that players will begin to take notice and some of them may not want to come to NYC based on the shiesty handling of Knicks players.

  • Sanpitch

    insult or not, that’s what i would put his price tag as. how many times have we seen players put up stellar numbers in a contract year???

    anyone honestly believe elton brand is a $15 million dollar man? teams overpay and get locked into players all the time.

    i don’t think it’s a slap in the face. i think lee overpriced himself.

  • Kudabeen

    Memphis needs to pick him up and pick up a solid PG. They aren’t that far from a playoff contender as people think. Marc Gasol was solid in his first season. Arthur was solid. Gay and Mayo are only going to be better. They have a legit shot blocker now have Sam Young to boot. I like their base.

    Pick up Lee and Try to grab felton or Jarret Jack, since Miller will won’t to go to a winner.

    Sessions will probably fit best for Memphis though.

  • PALakerFan

    It’s called negotiating. Player wants 10, team offers 8, they settle at 9.

  • dk

    He damn sure aint worth more than ten million. In that system he should have had 15 boards a game, an undersized, older Boozer would have. Let Lee go, everyone knows they need mad cap space next year. The knicks should be looking lottery by January next year. Keep Nate, upgrade Duhon, develop the rookie and get some role playing bigs of proportianate NBA size they dont command more than 8 mil a year. Its that fucking simple Isiah. Of course they could blow their wad on BG and AI, that would fit the GM trend in NY….

  • Rafa23

    I think its not too bad. if I were donnie I wouldn’t go beyond 36 for 4.maybe thats even too much.
    lee is good, thats it. he is bad defensively and cant shoot.yes he is rebounding like crazy, but his scoring is partly because of d’antoni.

  • mellmeister

    it ain’t an insult… donnie walsh just wants to be real with what lee brings to the table. they are an undersized team, even if you put yinka dare with the knicks and give him the same playing time and exposure as what lee gets then for sure he’d average double doubles… :)

  • Ian

    if healthy hes worth it or at least close to it.

  • Dell

    Yo, you check out the economy lately at all? It’s an insult to us all to say offering someone 8 mill is an insult.
    But in the context of the nba, is that 8 really that bad? D. Lee can’t be a winner in the NBA, he’s too small to be the starting 4 on a contender, doesn’t do enough offensively, and can’t stop the bigger more athletic 4. It’s like saying Reggie Evans should earn 8 because he rebounds.

  • Celts Fan

    He’s a solid player, but anyone honestly believe he’s that much better than Jason Maxiell or (a healthy) Leon Powe in a traditional offense? The offer the Knicks made is about where I’d draw the line too. Play D and learn to shoot jumpers and we can talk. Do you really wanna have to say, “We couldn’t sign ____ to go with (fill in name of major FA we know they’re going to sign) because we kept David Lee at $10M a year.”? He’s a really solid player, but if he’s not in that system, he’s not putting up 65 double-doubles and is probably averaging more like 8 and 7. Good #s, but I wouldn’t go much over $8M per, ESPECIALLY if it messes up their cap space. You could replace him w/ Varajauo at roughly the same price and get the same #s in that system AND better D is all I’m saying.

  • Deez

    8 mil a year for a guy who cant guard his position and basically no offensive moves and a decent (not even good, decent) jump shot? sounds about right to me yall…

  • ERIC

    its not a slap in the face.. look at Nash at the beginning of the season when he wasnt playing for D’Antoni.. he was averaging 16ppg and 7apg… David Lee is athletic, and hustler, and $8million is what he deserves.. if he wants to play in Memphis or OKC out of the bright lights of NYC that he loves, then he can go for the money and I wouldnt fault him for it.. but i would not call $8million per year a slap in the face…


    unfortunately, in isiah’s last laugh, he included the knicks 2010 UNPROTECTED lottery pick to the Suns in the Marbury deal – the suns later traded it to the JAZZ.

  • http://www.hot1047fm.com Steve Gomez 10a-2p on Hot 104.7 Modesto, CA

    I’m saying right here right now he WON’T GET A HIGHER OFFER. He’s gonna Ben Gordon himself right out of New York.

  • paul

    Hey dk, Isaiah isn’t in charge of the team anymore, just so you know–and only someone who doesn’t follow or watch the Knicks would say to keep Nate and get rid of Lee. Lee is by far a better fit long term for this team. He is and should be a part of the long term plans. Everyone should just chill out about teh Knicks opening offer, because negotiations have just begin. If another team puts a better deal on the table, Walsh will try to offer Lee a package that is closer to what he wants. One big thing in the Knicks favor is that D Lee really enjoys NYC and loves being a Knick–and I get the impression that he is the kind of player that will factor those things in and not just go for only the money. The Knicks could also back load a deal to give Lee closer to the total dollars he is looking for. That way they can possibly keep him and still keep their cap space in 2010. Lastly, dk, and other Knick haters–to write the team off as a sure bet lottery team next season is ignorant. This past season they were in the playoff race up until the last couple of weeks of the season, and did so even while suffering through losing streaks brought on by lack of depth due to injurys and wear and tear, and because of disruptive trades. So, Given a year under their belt with D’Antoni, mor estable chemistry, and with whatever improvements are made between now and the start of the season, it is conceivable that teh Knicks will be a significantly better team next season.

  • http://www.knicksfan.net Dan L

    This is way off base.

    “To me that’s crazy. I understand teams not wanting to overpay for marginal players, but Lee was the third leading rebounder in the NBA last season and the heart and soul of the Knicks. While it appears the going rate (at least in Lee’s mind) is $10 million a season, it seems no matter how much Knicks fans love D-Lee, money also cheers louder.”

    Rebounding in the NBA is pretty fungible. As far as being the heart and soul…of what? A 32 win team that’s never won more than 33 games since he’s been on it. That earns you whatever contract you want? 8 Million is PLENTY for David Lee. He’s not an all-star. He’s a good player with SERIOUS deficiencies on defense and offense (no jumper).

    His numbers were inflated by playing in D’Antoni’s system. The more shots that get jacked up the more rebounds there are available to corral. Same with his scoring…there are more shots to go around. You don’t pay David Lee $10 million. That’s star money, not 4th/5th option hustle/garbage man type player.

  • David_Brandon

    @ steve gomez,

    youre not too far at all. i’m up in sac. i like how you hit up dime before you start the shift lol

    you really dont think he’d get more than that? i mean, soo many guys get cashed out now…well, they used to actually. if the kings can pay kevin martin $11 million/yr to basically just score 24 ppg, then i dont see how david lee shouldnt be in that range also. aside form the consistency, he’s one of those “high charater” guys you always hear about. and what the hell is that anyway, high character? lol not getting into legal trouble as a pro athlete now has to warrant a title?

  • paul

    Oh man, half of you guys commenting have no idea what you are talking about. Celts Fan says that Lee only did so well this past season because of the D’Antoni system and insinuates he is nothing special in a “traditional offense”. That’s nonsense. Again, if you donlt know what you are talking about, don’t comment. here are the facts–in ’06-’07 season, Lee started 12 games, played 29.8 mpg, and averaged 10.7 points and 10.4 rebounds. In 07-08, he started only 29 games, played 29.1 mpg, and averages 8.9 and 10.8; then last season, 08-09, Lee started 74 games, played 34.9 mpg, and averaged 16 and 11.7. So, for anyone who actually knows what they are talking about, it is clear that Lee still rebounded around 11 per game, even when not a regular starter and playing only 29 minutes per game–and surprise–that was in a traditional, non-D’Antoni system, and under a clueless coach by the name of Isiah Thomas. So, to say his stats are an abberation is completely off base. The truth is that once he was given the starting role and minutes he always deserved, he is finally getting attention. Lastly, for the “Lee can’t shoot or play defense crowd”–that is dumb and you know it. No player is perfect, and Lee is no exception. However, teh thing about him is that he works his strengths very, very effectively–and those are rebounding, hustle, great pick n roll instincts, outlet passing, general intangibles. Coaches and GMs value those things, and also value smart players who know how to play within their abilities, like Lee. But for teh record, teh guy has proven to be a hard worker, and I guarantee the defense and shooting will steadily improve, just as the rest of his game has.

  • paul

    Correction–Lee averaged 8.9 rebounds per game and 10.8 points in 07-08, not the other way around as I stated in my last post. but this doesn’t really change my point much.

  • Chaos

    yea but you can ind rebounders that are better defensively than lee and a better scorer at least. if Jordan hill is half of wht the say he is and hits the gym he can take over where lee left off. thats too much for a mostly 1 dimensional player. knicks can let him go. as long as youre an athletic big man in the nba, you can fit into d’antoni’s scheme. his team is built around pg play and they need a better pg than duhon(sessions anyone)

  • paul

    Chaos–I’m not saying he’s irreplacable. I’m just saying that it is a myth that he only flourished under D’Antoni. He has been doing what he did last year his whole NBA career. He’s very consistent, and his numbers went up due to increased playing time, not teh D’Antoni system. Also, I’d say he’s more than a one dimensional player due to his intangibles

  • hahns

    i’m w/ paul-

    if you watch david lee on a nightly basis (like any knicks fan did) you can recognize that this guy brings intangibles to the table that stats wont recognize. hes got great hands- great ability to finish around the basket- has one of the best “noses” for the ball in the entire league- runs the floor, all while playing out of position the entire year. good things happen when david lee is on the floor. ive said it on dime before, but david lee is the type of player that will put a team over the hump to win a chip. no question about it. he’ll get that extra rebound, he’ll clean up that one botched layup that will win a game.

    that all being said- i dont think 8mm was an unreasonable first offer- at the same time, i think dlee can and will get more from other willing suitors, and as much as i want dlee to stay (ive been chanting “DLEE MAX CONTRACT” all year) i think he should take the money and run. he deserves it. hes been playing for a losing franchise w/ no heart for his whole professional career. dude deserves to go somewhere where they do it right. i think san antonio could be a great fit.

  • dk

    @ paul

    Yo paranoid much. I wonder why. I was taking a shot at Isiah, thats all. And the smart thing to do for them is get another great pick and sign, Bosh, Bron. Nate would be a good fit.

  • dk

    @ paul

    Im not sure youve seen Nate play but something tells me he would do a ton of damage on a Bron and Bosh led team. Like I said before, they dont need 10 mil $ rebounders. They will need Nate.

  • dk

    It looks like the wheels on the Lee bandwagon are gonna fall off by January if hes not in GS or NY. But hell I dont know shit. Kobe sux, the Lakers have the worst franchise, and Yao is God.

  • hahns

    trust me- the knicks dont need nate. hes a great bench player to provide a spark…but totally replaceable.

    dk- do you live around NY and get to watch the knicks often?

  • paul

    Ok dk–I won’t argue too much about Nate. I like the guy, but I just think that if they have to choose to resign Nate of D Lee, they should go with Lee. But, I say again, Lee is more than just a rebounder. Anyone who has seen a even a few Knick games would realize this

  • ed

    at least we have jordan hill and his hair cut from 1996

  • frenchbk

    Its called a business.
    No doubt – he was the soul of the team and a hard-worker who bought it every night, but bottom-line is he is not worth morgaging your future on.
    AS emotionally invested as we are as knicks fans in D LEE, there must come some reality regarding future implications and the fact that he has frankly reached his ceiling.
    Is it insulting on D LEE’s part if he is not willing to take 1-2million less per year to commit to the team which drafted him earlier than predicted and gave him the PT and play design in which a player with his abilities could excel in? (hint: no it isnt, cause its a business)

  • loons

    it’s not an insult. it’s reality. the knicks (under walsh) have been very clear about their intentions for 2010. lee knows whats up. if he wants to stay he should take the back loaded deal, so the knicks dont take a big hit for next summer. otherwise, hopefully the knicks can pull off a sign and trade.

    follow Alan Hahns Knicks Fix blog. that is the true barometer of where the knicks are and what true knicks fan realistically expect.

  • http://www.myspace.com/beenobrown BERN BROGDEN aka BINO BROWN STR8 UP N DOWN


    He wants at least 10 a year.
    They offered 8.

    What’s the big deal?

    They should be able to compromise. That’s all I’m saying.

    DLee – get your agent to work out sumptin’ where you’ll get your double figure$ through tons of incentives.

    Hold the opposing PF to under 40%…hit 45% on mid-range joints…whatever…come up with some incentives and load that contract up!

    And proceed to get yours pimpin.

    It’s the Media Mecca of the World and they LOVE you!

    Sometimes it’s bigger than money.

  • karizmatic

    The truth of the matter is Lee is a great player, but with that being said he’s an 8 mil a year or less guy…however the market says he can get 10 mil a year doing what he does. So that’s what he wants, if the Knicks aren’t willing to pay it (which they shouldn’t be) then Lee will go to a team that will pay it. I like Lee but at best he’s a great rebounder and the 3rd offensive option on a good team. I don’t think that is worth 10 mil a year even these days, maybe I’m wrong though. If I was the Knicks I’d offer him the same offer with a willingness to go to about 9 mil a year, if I can’t get him for that I let him walk or sign and trade him, I got to keep my balance sheets clear for 2010 even though I’m not getting Lebron I might be able to get Bosh or someone.

  • Danny

    lmao yeah okay knicks fans saying dlee isn’t worth 10 million when you have already PAIIID eddy, crawford, shit most of the knicks players fat contracts that they never deserved.

  • Diego

    Yeah, not an insult. Lee’s agent should try to negotiate a bit better of a deal–maybe an extra year and a bit more $ per year, and Lee should take it.

    Or he could pull a Ben Gordon or be exiled to some unglamorous market, as others have noted.

  • anjoe

    Give Lee his 10mil a year. They are probably going to have to give him up to get LeBron next year anyways. Because most likely if LeBron ends up as a Knick, it will be in a sign and trade deal. That is the only way he will get max dollars, as no team can offer more money to LeBron than Cleveland. It’s baffling how they overpay for marginal talent (see Curry, Jeffries) and try to screw over a player such as David Lee.

  • paul

    Danny–this is 2009, not 2006–pay attention–and last I checked, Knicks fans are not the ones who negotiate contracts or sign paychecks. Go home Danny

  • LaMont

    he’s what four years into the league, by far this is his best season which is what a contract year. With Curry coming back Lee won’t be averaging 16 points a game, he still can’t guard anybody, will still get his layups blocked at the rim instead of dunking. there are so many players in the league that can do what he did last year off the pick and roll and his rebounding numbers would have been fewer if Z-Bo had not been traded.

  • Jason

    This is a legit offer. 8 mil a year for 4 years. Maybe you can get a little more maybe not in this market.

  • marcus the great

    whats up with this picture?

    it looks like he said n***a about 4 seconds ago lol

  • paul

    Lamont–nonsense form you. Lee is a strong finisher, so I don’t know what you are talking about with the “blocked at the rim” garbage. As for rebouncing, check my post above for the proof that you have no clue on Lee’s rebounding. Lastly, you are assuming that Curry will be coming back as an effective, go to scorer, and that remains to be seen. but even if your right that Curry will come back and play a big role, how do you figure that necessarily means Lee’s scoring will slump? Clueless comments, Lamont–seriously

  • dk

    8 mill a year is plenty. If hes that great Paul and the Knicks can afford 10 mil then fine. But what happens when it comes down to a few mill and they cant afford Bosh and Bron. I would clean house. Nate commands half a Lee and is worth it IMO.

    Who ever the idiot that said Nate is replaceable, well, your an idiot.

  • dk

    PS IMO Nate is a instant game changer on both ends of the floor. Those are rare and rebounders can be purchased for cheap.

  • dk

    Hahaha Isiah traded the 2010 pick, boy life is grand!!!!

  • http://www.knicksfan.net Dan L

    @ Paul…

    That Lee’s rebounding numbers improved only modestly instead of greatly compared to the increased amount of possessions (and shots) that both sides get in D’Antoni’s system suggests that Lee actually had a down year statistically last year.

  • http://www.knicksfan.net Dan L

    and anyone who watched the games noticed that since Lee’s ankle injury he hasn’t had the same bounce to his step. And also it took him 5 years to develop a below average jumper. Maybe in another 5 years it can be slightly below average.

  • lee

    Come join the champs in replace of odom.

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  • paul

    Dan L–I don;t think thats quite right. In the previous two seasons before 08-09, Lee averaged about 10 rpg, while playing about 30 mpg–thats works out to about 3 rebounds every 10 minutes, or around .3 rebounds per minute. Last season Lee’s minutes increased to 35 mpg, which means he should have increased his rebounds from about 10 per game, to around 11.5 per game. Lee averaged 11.7 last season, so he didn’t have a down year as you say.

  • http://www.knicksfan.net Dan L

    @ Paul,

    Aside from just minutes Lee you have to take into consideration possessions per game/minute.

    The Knicks (and their opponents) had more possessions per game/minute this year than any previous year Lee played in.

    The more possessions per game or per minute, the more opportunities Lee has to get a rebound since there were a lot more shots (and misses) jacked up.

    In real terms I think his rebounding went up less proportionally than available rebounds did.

  • paul

    … and Dan L–the possessions per game don’t seem to have increased dramatically, if you want to break it down that way. Here’s a link–compare and contrast with past seasons: http://www.82games.com/0809/0809NYK3.HTM

  • hahns

    i cant believe this kid is saying nate is irreplaceable….

    only time he watches nate is probably when hes on espn and all star weekend.

    nates a great player, dont get me wrong, but he does not play in control, and hes mostly just a scorer. as i said in my previous post, hes a great energy guy off the bench- very effective, someone boston could use. but of walsh needs to decide who is more important to the knicks’ future, its lee all day- its seriously a no brainer

  • paul

    Dan–i’m starting to see that this possessions per game breakdown of Lee’s rebounding stats is a little bit out of control. Although its a legitimate point you are trying to make, I have a feeling that its pretty crazy to break it down to such fine detail. the fact remains that Lee’s rebounding numbers indeed did increase, and in particular, his defensive rebounds per game increased by 2.6 per game from 07-08 to 08-09, so I would say that probably exceeds the possessions per game point you are trying to make

  • http://www.knicksfan.net Dan L

    Possessions per game increased 5 according to that website.

    FGA/game increased from 82 to 86.

    Opponents FGA/game increased from 82 to 86 as well…looks like a net 8 shot increase per game. Less than I was expecting. So you could be right.

    At any rate you’d hope that the Knicks wouldn’t spend any extra money than they think is worth for 1 or 2 additional rebounds per game.

  • Coop

    Yeah 8million pounds per season to play basketball is a real insult. The guy can’t defend you bunch of clowns and he stands out only because the team is so awful. 8mil is right on the money (excuse the pun). Lee is no pivot project.

  • Coop



  • paul

    Coop–You’re right, his 17 ppg and 11.7 rpg are completely meaningless statistics because the Knicks are the worst team in the history of basketball.

    I canlt believe you wasted your time with that moronic comment.

  • http://bt.davka.info/ SparkyJ23

    32 million dollers in this economy? grab it and shut the fuck up

  • weng santos

    I can’t believe how full of themselves NBA guys can be.

    Somebody wants to pay David Lee 8 million dollars a year for four years to play basketball in one of the most historic arenas for one of the most storied franchises in a great city like NY, and they want to give him that money in one of the worst economic slumps ever.

    How’s that spitting in someone’s face?

    Really? You can’t tell me Lee can’t live- and live luxuriously, I might add- making 8 million a year. This is just crazy. Can he honestly look in the mirror and say to himself that it’s not worth it to play basketball for 32 million?

    As a fan of the game who has a hard enough time scraping the $140 together just to see the visiting Nuggets play at Staples for 1 game, riding the bus just to get to Staples in the 1st place, and who can only dream of working hard to make even a tiny bit of what these guys make, I’m actually the one that’s insulted that an athlete finds $32 million insulting.


  • Jah

    Sign and trade.

  • the cynic

    8 mil seems pretty fair to me. Lee isn’t worth more then 8 mil and no team is going to offer him 10 mil. Everyone knows Lee’s numbers are heavily inflated and his game is very limited. David Lee is solid, nothing more nothing less. Do the smart thing Dave and take the money, and try to get the Knicks to tack on an extra year

  • nick c

    cynic u summed it up perfectly. stole what i was about to say. INFLATED numbers with no other real big men in a knicks uniform that were good. yeah harrington but i think of him as a small forward and not a rebounder

  • ?

    SMH shows how greedy people are you give me 8 million per to be on a team i love playing the sport i love im signing on the dotted line

  • ?

    SMH shows how greedy people are you give me 8 million per to be on a team i love playing the sport i love im signing on the dotted line. He is a solid player but he isn’t worth more i would have offered him 6 million per year

  • shawn

    we all love lee for 2 reasons: double-doubles and sentiment. Defense is NOT ONE of the reasons. he’s a great piece on the right team. The knicks is not the right team this year. maybe in the next year or two, he is the right fit. But right now, he is not worth more than 8 mil per. Donnie walsh has it right and doing the only thing he can do. Pure and simple. The only other option is to match any offer and then TRY to trade him at a good value, which could backfire. Sign and trades are always at risk of not working out. If he signs him for 8 mil MAX, then wouldnt a trade be much easier?

  • Moneybaga

    Why don’t you hop off nates dik? Once in a lifetime game changer? Nate is a spectacular player but he is no different from someone like ben gordon. Nate has great offensive ability but he’s nothing more than a scorer, very similar to earl boykins. Once nate’s athleticism starts declining or god forbid he has an injury, his production will start dropping exponentially. I personally don’t even care whether the knicks sign David lee or not, but to say rebounders are easier to find than scoring guards in the NBA is complete bullshit.


    pistons got charlie v and gave him 35 mil for 5 years so go figure and hes a way better talent than david lee

  • Paul

    His numbers are NOT inflated. It’s just not correct to say so

  • Sweet English

    Paul we can all look at 82games.com, itn doesn’t make you special.

  • http://www.huh.com mike

    i think knicks should sign and trade him to portland for steve blake and travis outlaw. They are great players and would really help our knicks. david lee suckkkss over priced!! drop him off in portland and grab two valuable players. i really like it