The NBA rumor mill continues to churn as the league lifts its restriction to trade newly-acquired free agents on Friday. One of the most interesting speculations emerging right now is that of a trade between the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks centered around shooting guard Courtney Lee.
Lee is currently averaging 12.7 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists, and a co-team-best 1.4 steals in 32.2 minutes per game as the Knicks starting two guard. The former Western Kentucky standout is also shooting a career-best 43.2 percent from downtown this season.
Lee’s performance has made him a valuable trade asset for the Knicks, who are reportedly focused to build their roster around talented big man Kristaps Porzingis.
Bleacher Report’s Dan Favale said that “multiple teams” have approached the Knicks to inquire on Lee’s availability and that it “should come as no surprise” given his marked improvement from the field.
Favale suggested a deal that would send Lee, veteran floor general Jarrett Jack, and a 2019 second-rounder (via the Cavaliers, Rockets, or Magic) to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Jerryd Bayless, sophomore Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, and a top-18 protected first-round selection next year.
The Sixers are currently in playoff contention, hanging on the seventh spot in the East with a 14-13 record. The duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons have been a revelation so far for the squad, and rumors abound that the team will continue to acquire assets that will complement the two.
Lee’s game fits perfectly with head coach Brett Brown’s system. However, he would most likely be utilized by Brown as a sixth man behind J.J. Redick, which is much-needed. Philly continues to have a shallow wing lineup, and Lee could be the solution for that issue.
Jack is a solid acquisition as his veteran mettle to orchestrate an offense has been proven valuable throughout the years. The report said that right now, Jack is leading the Knicks to a “top-five offense” in the league, which is not bad for a 34-year-old, 13-year veteran.
Meanwhile, getting journeyman Bayless and youngster Luwawu-Cabarrot may appear to be a loss for the Knicks as both players have played sub-par games this season.
However, the first-round sweetener would be valuable for New York should they keep it. The pick gives them two selections in the first round of what experts see as a top-heavy draft next year.