New York Knicks' Courtney Lee: 'We're Contenders, Man'
Raj Mehta, USATSI

New York Knicks guard Courtney Lee told Basketball Insiders he didn’t think anything less than a championship was the goal this season.

On the heels of a 32-50 season that left much to be desired, the New York Knicks re-tooled with a roster Courtney Lee says can compete in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re contenders, man,” Lee told Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “They didn’t make the playoffs last year, but we’re looking to change that and win big.”

Knicks president Phil Jackson traded for Derrick Rose this summer and signed Lee, Joakim Noah and Brandon Jennings in free agency. New York also retained Lance Thomas and Sasha Vujacic and bolstered its bench by adding 2015 second-rounder Willy Hernangomez and undrafted rookie Marshall Plumlee.

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Its summer roster additions followed a three-year contract for ex-Phoenix Suns coach Jeff Hornacek to lead the Knicks.

“The ring is the ultimate goal for everybody on the team,” Lee said. “When they talked to me and told me about the pieces they were adding alongside the players who were already there, I didn’t think anything less than a championship [was the goal].”

New York is rebounding from a three-year playoff drought, including a franchise-worst 17-65 record two seasons ago. Lee, who averaged 9.6 points per game with the Charlotte Hornets last season, will start in place of Arron Afflalo, who opted out of his contract to sign with Sacramento this summer.

“We’re trying to get the Knicks back into the playoffs and win big,” Lee told Basketball Insiders. “Everybody is hungry and has their own motivation or chip on their shoulder. We just need to come together, get that chemistry and see it click. Once everybody is together and everybody is hungry, I think we can be very scary.”

Kristian Winfield covers the New York Knicks for Elite Sports NY. You can start the conversation on Twitter @Krisplashed.

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