New York Knicks shooting guard Courtney Lee is one of the NBA players who is expected to be moved before the February NBA trade deadline. Since they parted ways with Carmelo Anthony in 2017, the Knicks decided to go on a rebuilding process with Kristaps Porzingis as the new face of the franchise. Though they are currently focusing on the development of their young players in the 2018-19 NBA season, the Knicks are expected to become big players when the 2019 NBA free agency hits next July.
The Knicks have opened up a huge chunk of their salary cap space after waiving Joakim Noah via the stretch provision. Trading Courtney Lee and the two years and $25 million left on his contract will enable the Knicks to sign maximum free agents like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kemba Walker, and Klay Thompson. Once the Knicks officially make Lee available on the trading block, one of the NBA teams who could express interest in adding him to their roster is the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report suggested that the Thunder could trade Alex Abrines, Patrick Patterson, and Terrance Ferguson to the Knicks for Courtney Lee. The proposed trade deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine.
“Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but the Oklahoma City Thunder (1-4) could use a two-way option at shooting guard. Since time immemorial, this has been the plight of the Thunder, an organization devoted to length and athleticism but one consistently unable to find a shooter who can hang defensively. Hamidou Diallo’s athleticism and defensive potential are undeniable, but nobody guards him on the perimeter. OKC should still do everything possible to nurture his jumper and hope he’s the long-term answer, but Diallo is a long way off from being a knockdown weapon.”
— Marc Berman (@NYPost_Berman) October 24, 2018
Courtney Lee is yet to play a single game in the 2018-19 NBA season due to neck spasms. However, when healthy, the 33-year-old shooting guard will undeniably make the Thunder a better team on both ends of the floor. Lee will not only give the Thunder a good defender, but his arrival in Oklahoma City will also improve their floor spacing which will make it easier for Russell Westbrook and Paul George to penetrate the basket.
In the 76 games he played with the Knicks last season, Courtney Lee averaged 12.0 points on 45.4 percent shooting from the field, and 40.6 percent from beyond the arc. Lee would surely love the idea of playing for a legitimate playoff contender rather than spending the entire season sitting on the bench and mentoring the young players in New York.