This past week, Stephen A. Smith, of ESPN, reported that the Warriors are interested in Knicks’ center Tyson Chandler. The trade Smith outlined involved sending Chandler to California, while sending Harrison Barnes and former Knick David Lee to the Big Apple.However, unlike Smith, I do not think the Knicks should consider this trade, not because of the players involved, but rather the contracts of the players involved.
“I believe there’s a possibility that the Golden State Warriors would trade those two guys for Tyson Chandler,” Smith said. “I’m not saying it’s definite but I really believe in my heart they would do it. And if there’s a possibility that they would do it, the New York Knicks have got to investigate it.”
Back in the mid-2000′s, when Lee was on the Knicks, he was a fan favorite. In fact, he’s still one of our favorites here at Turn On The Knicks.
Since joining the Warriors in 2010, Lee has been a vital part of their resurgence back to the playoffs. In those four seasons, he averaged 18.2 points and 10 rebounds. While Lee is not a top defensive big man by any means, when paired up with the elite wing defenders in Golden State, such as Andre Iguodala or Draymond Green, his defensive numbers were better.
The other player in the possible deal is Harrison Barnes. Following an impressive rookie campaign, the former North Carolina Tar Heel took a slight step back this past year. His field goal percentage, free throw percentage, and rebounds per game all took a slight drop, while his points per game only went up 0.3. However, Barnes is still full of potential, and like the Knicks forward Iman Shumpert, many believe the best has yet to come.
These two players are talented, and would give the Knicks a good chance to win games, but the trade is not worth it for New York due to one important factor: the contracts. The Knicks long-term plan should be to re-sign Carmelo Anthony this offseason, continue to raise their young talent such as Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr., and sign a top free agents in 2015 to pair with them.
David Lee’s contract is unfavorable for the Knicks. In the 2015-16 season, he will be owed $15,493,680. This will hurt the Knicks chances of acquiring a top free agent in the summer of ’15 where Rajon Rondo, Kevin Love, and LaMarcus Aldridge are all available. Harrison Barnes’ contract is not nearly as damaging, as he has a team option prior to the 2015-16 season worth $3,873,398. However, I don’t think receiving Barnes can outweigh the big negative of the trade: David Lee’s contract.
This trade would help the Knicks get a few more wins and possibly make the playoffs in the short-term. However, in order to create a team that is a consistent winner and threat in the playoffs, the Knicks cannot accept this trade.