(Lee in a still from his short lived MSG show, “Non-Stars On Non-Stars”)
The past several days of musical chairs in the NBA left some observers to conclude David Lee would have no choice but to return to the Knicks, with few, if any suitors having the requisite cap space to recruit the former Gator. While the Daily News’ Frank Isola encourages the Knicks to pursue free agent PG Allen Iverson, Hedu Turkoglu’s stunning decision to bail on Portland’s offer in favor of a 5-year pact with Toronto makes the Blazers Lee’s most likely new suitors, the New York Post’s Marc Berman.
The Blazers have long lusted after Lee, who also seeks $10 million per season, exactly the amount the Blazers are under the cap. Bartlestein said because Lee is restricted, the Blazers were fearful of waiting 10 days to see if the Knicks would match and instead jumped at the surer thing in Turkoglu.
With Memphis and Detroit making other moves and Portland involved with Turkoglu, the Knicks’ chances of re-signing Lee for $7 to $8 million had seemed to increase.
Bartlestein claims he’s talked to nearly 15 over-the-cap teams who have proposed sign-and-trade deals with the Knicks for Lee. But because he is a base-year compensation player, it is difficult to make the math work under the CBA.
Turkoglu leaving Orlando also affects their other free agent, Nate Robinson. As the Knicks await word on Jason Kidd’s decision, they are anxious to see if Robinson will sign an offer sheet on July 8 with another club. The Knicks would have 10 days to match — and that obviously would depend if they sign Grant Hill or Kidd.