9. Courtney Lee, New York Knicks
With Kristaps Porzingis likely to miss some if not all of the 2018-19 season, the New York Knicks figure to be competing for the No. 1 overall pick next June.
That makes Courtney Lee expendable.
In late June, new Knicks head coach David Fizdale dismissed the possibility of starting Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. alongside one another, according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. A week later, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the Knicks would “explore moving Lee,” as Fizdale was considering starting Hardaway Jr. at the 2 and rookie Kevin Knox at the 3.
In mid-September, Lee told ESPN.com’s Ian Begley that he’s happy being a Knick and doesn’t prefer to be traded, but another 50-loss season could go a long way toward changing his mind. He’s been sitting out since late September with a neck strain, and there’s no timetable for his return, according to Berman.
If Lee works his way back from his neck injury without further complications, his 3-point shooting could entice a contender to come calling. He’s drilled 40.4 percent of his triples over the past two seasons, which could make him a valuable addition to the bench of a playoff squad.
Finding a taker for the remaining two years and $25 million left on his contract may not be easy, but he’s wasting away on a lottery-bound squad in New York. If the Knicks can get anything of value for Lee—even a high second-round pick—without taking back salary beyond this year, they should be open to dealing him.