Courtney Lee‘s numbers suggest a snug fit beside Derrick Rose, Carmelo Anthony in New York Knicks lineup.The Knicks got the shooting guard they wanted, agreeing to a four-year, $48 million deal with Courtney Lee on Saturday.
New York and Lee reportedly found a suitable middle ground on contract negotiations. The Knicks came up from a four-year, $40 million offer, while Lee came down from his four-year, $56 million demand.
His other suitors included Sacramento, Brooklyn, Minnesota and Philadelphia, according to Basketball Insiders.
Lee averaged 9.2 points per game as the starting shooting guard for a Charlotte Hornets team that pushed the Miami Heat to seven games in last season’s playoffs. The Hornets acquired Lee from Memphis in a three-team deal at the February trade deadline.
New York marks the seventh team the 30-year-old guard has played for entering his ninth season in the NBA.
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The Knicks’ agreement with Lee is the latest of a summer that has included a four-year pact with 2014 Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, and a trade that sent Robin Lopez, Jose Calderon and Jerian Grant to Chicago for former league Most Valuable Player Derrick Rose.
Good compromise between Courtney Lee and Knicks: Lee came down from $14M/yr; Knicks came up from $10M.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 3, 2016
Courtney Lee is a perfect pickup for the Knicks. Shooter. Unselfish. Two-way player. Almost everywhere he goes, team he goes to gets better.
— Chris Mannix (@ChrisMannixYS) July 2, 2016
Lee is heralded as an unselfish professional who has improved each team he’s played for. New York is two seasons removed from its worst record (17-65) in franchise history and missed the playoffs last year after a summertime roster overhaul.
Lee replaces Arron Afflalo, who opted out of his final season in New York and agreed to a two-year, $25 million deal with Sacramento. Here are what the numbers say about the Knicks’ new starting shooting guard.
Height: 6-5/Weight: 200 pounds
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
College: Western Kentucky
Drafted: 2008, 22nd overall by Orlando
2015-16 Season: 9.6 points, 2.6 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.2 steals per game
Previous Teams: CHA, MEM, BOS, HOU, NJ, ORL
Last Contract: Four years, $21.5 million in Boston
- Under Jeff Hornacek, the Knicks will be expected to push pace. Lee shot 56.1% in transition opportunities with a .671 effective field goal percentage, which adjusts for the value of a three-pointer. Lee’s 1.40 points per transition play rank him in the NBA’s 95th percentile. No Knicks players averaged more than 1.07 points per play.
- Lee has been a perimeter shooter all his career. His .378 clip from downtown last season ranked 17th among NBA shooting guards, ahead of Wesley Matthews, James Harden and Devin Booker but below Afflalo.
- New York has had its woes defending opposing guards. Lee, by the numbers, is one of the league’s better perimeter defenders. When guarded by Lee, opposing players shot only 42.1% in Memphis and 41.1% in Charlotte. In other words, he held his man to lower shooting percentages than Tony Allen (42.2%), Klay Thompson (43.3%) and Andre Roberson (41.3%) and a hair over Paul George, Draymond Green and Kawhi Leonard. (The only Knicks rotation players to hold their man below 45% shooting were Lance Thomas, Langston Galloway, Kristaps Porzingis and, oddly enough, Derrick Williams.)
- On catch-and-shoot opportunities from downtown, Lee shot 41.3% in Charlotte and 40% in Memphis. Calderon and Thomas were the only Knicks players to shoot better than Lee in those situations last season.
- Much of New York’s offense will run through Rose and Carmelo Anthony. Lee boasted a 13.8% usage rate last season in Charlotte. He’s a perimeter player who continues to be effective with or without the ball.
- Lee’s production tapered in the playoffs despite increased minutes. He averaged only 8.6 points on 41.2% shooting in 37 minutes per game against the Heat. It should be noted Lee averaged 13.3 points on 55% shooting in the playoffs with Memphis in 2014-15 and hit a game-winning three in Game 5 against Miami this year.