Courtesy of USA Today Images

Just two years ago, power forward David Lee was an integral part of the Golden State Warriors. He earned an All-Star nod in 2013, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds.

But now, hours after Golden State’s NBA championship, ESPN’s Marc Stein reports that Lee and the team have agreed to find him a new basketball home.

When the Warriors hired Steve Kerr as head coach last summer, Lee’s role changed dramatically.

A 35-minute-per-night player under Mark Jackson, Lee became a reserve in 2014-15. He appeared in 49 regular-season games, managing 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds—the lowest totals since his rookie season (2005-06).

During the playoffs, his playing time decreased further.

Lee remained on the bench through the duration of the first-round win over the New Orleans Pelicans, logged 55 mostly garbage-time minutes against the Memphis Grizzlies and just 12 minutes opposite the Houston Rockets.

After sitting for the first two contests of the NBA Finals, Lee sparked a near-comeback in Game 3. He tallied 11 points, four rebounds and two assists, effectively earning a spot in the rotation for Game 4. Lee contributed nine points, five boards and three assists in the series-changing victory.

But then, Lee was a non-factor in Game 5, returned to his post—err, the pine—and played a single minute in Game 6.

Parting ways with Lee is a mutually beneficial agreement.

According to HoopsHype, Lee is set to earn $15.5 million next season. Golden State must re-sign restricted free agent Draymond Green to a hefty deal, perhaps a max contract. Lee being traded opens space for that to happen, lest the franchise pay millions in luxury tax.

Plus, for Lee, he’ll find a place where playing time is a legitimate possibility. The Warriors certainly appreciated Lee’s contributions, but he wasn’t a critical piece of their rotation and is an expendable asset.

Photo: USA Today Sports

David Kenyon
Writer for Sportsnaut and Bleacher Report, mostly covering college football as well as the NFL, NBA and college basketball.