In the past months, rumors and speculations continue to swirl that Courtney Lee and the New York Knicks will be parting ways this offseason. The Knicks recently made controversy on social media after posting a picture of some of the members of the team, which does not include the 32-year-old shooting guard. Lee responded by saying, “There I go,” heating up the speculations that his days in New York are numbered.
Courtney Lee was one of the players former Knicks President Phil Jackson acquired to help Carmelo Anthony bring an NBA championship title in New York. Unfortunately, the Knicks’ “Super Team” didn’t to live up to expectations, and even failed to secure a playoff spot in the weak Eastern Conference. As of now, Lee is considered the odd man out in New York, and according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, the Knicks are planning to use Tim Hardaway Jr. as their starting shooting guard in the upcoming 2018-19 NBA season.
“The hope is Hardaway, who played a lot of small forward this season in an awkward tandem with Courtney Lee, will return to his natural position of shooting guard. According to sources, Lee’s status is unclear as the Knicks have looked to deal his contract that has two years and $25 million left on it. While Knicks brass has impressed upon Hardaway the need to be a leader in 2018-19, he admits he hasn’t spoken to Lee this offseason — another indication the veteran is not paramount in the Knicks’ plans.”
With Kristaps Porzingis expected to miss the most of the 2018-19 NBA season due to injury, the Knicks are not expected to compete for a playoff spot in the LeBron James-less Eastern Conference. Trading Courtney Lee now makes a lot of sense since it will enable younger players like Tim Hardaway Jr. to have more time to develop their skills. The Knicks must be wanting to see what their future looks like with their core of Hardaway Jr., Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Porzingis.
Per Bryan Kalbrosky of HoopsHype, there are three NBA teams who have expressed interest in adding Courtney Lee to their roster. These include the Washington Wizards, Philadelphia 76ers, and Oklahoma City Thunder. Lee won’t have a hard time making himself in either of those teams even as a starter or a backup shooting guard.
At 32, Lee remains a reliable contributor on both ends of the floor. In 76 games he played with the Knicks last season, he averaged 12 points, 2.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists, and 1.1 steal on 45.4 percent shooting from the field and 40.6 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Expect more rumors to circulate around Lee as the 2018-19 NBA season draws near.