David Lee: “I really want to be here in New York”

April 20, 2010 – 8:00 am by Chris Fedor

When it comes to this summer’s free agent class, the big names are guys like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amar’e Stoudemire, and even Carlos Boozer.  However, one name that isn’t getting brought up much is David Lee.  David Lee has been stuck on a crappy Knicks team for the past five years and because of that he has flown under the radar.  In fact this past summer, he was a restricted free agent as well, nobody really went after him in a big way, and thus the Knicks signed him to a one-year contract.  However, this kid can flat out play the game and may be one of the more underrated players in the entire NBA.

He is a walking double-double that averaged a career best 20 points per game, is coming off a year when he went to the All-Star game, and is getting better and better every year.  David Lee should be a very enticing target for a team that may not have the cash to get Bosh, Boozer, or Stoudemire.

David Lee joined ESPN 1050 in New York with Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney to talk about how tough this season was for him, whether or not he wants to stay in New York, and whether he would take a hometown discount to stay in New York.

On how stressful this year was for him playing on a one-year contract with a bad team:

“It’s been the most stressful for sure.  I had a big year personally this year as far as being on a one-year contract and also we went through a lot of ups and downs as a team this year so it’s been a long season.  It seems like it went really quick, but it was a very stressful, quick season.”

On whether or not he wants to stay in New York:

“I really want to be here in New York.  It’s where I spent the last five years of my life, I feel somewhat like a New Yorker now, I really do enjoy the city, the fans, and the organization.  This is the business side of it.  There’s two sides to it.  The Knicks need to do what is best for the Knicks and David Lee needs to do what’s best for David Lee.  I’d love for this to be like college where you go somewhere, you spend your entire career there, and you graduate or in this case retire, but now the season is done and it’s time to go into the business aspect of the game.  Dealt with it last summer, the summer before that, and now we’re gonna be dealing with it this summer.  We’ll just see what happens.  But like I said my first priority is to be in New York unless for some reason something happens otherwise.”

On what it would be like for New York if they can’t land one of the big free agents this summer:

“I think I’d be pretty scared for the riding season ticket holders.  It’s gonna be interesting.  I think there’s two things that are certain.  That there’s nothing better than winning in New York and then on the other side of the coin is there’s nothing worse than losing in New York.  I’ve taken years off my life the last few years here dealing with losing and dealing with the media aspect of that and the fan aspect of it.  I think that if I come back to New York, I want it to be on a winning team and I think it will be.  I think New York is heading in the right direction.  They’ve sacrificed a little bit here in the last year or two to clear cap space and they’ve put themselves in a position to get players.  It’s gonna be interesting to see how everything falls with so many teams having cap space.  There’s gonna be so much more movement or potential movement this summer than any other summer we’ve seen in the NBA in recent memory so it’s gonna be interesting.”

On whether or not he would take a hometown discount to stay in New York:

“Time is gonna tell with that.  That is definitely a question for July.  I told my agent find exactly what is out there and I think I’ve played well enough to give myself a couple of options and we’ll see what happens.  The Knicks have had opportunities the last couple of summers with no competition to secure me long term and have decided to go a different route and do one year deals which I completely understand.  And Mr. Walsh went above and beyond the qualifying offer by four million or whatever it was to show good faith.  I have no ill feelings to the Knicks and it’s been a great relationship for five years.  But now it’s a matter of I put in the work for five years, I’ve gotten better and better, and now it’s about securing my future.  With that being said, I don’t know what’s out there, I don’t know what teams are interested, and I’ve made it a point to not even deal with that until this summer so we’re just gonna see what comes about.  All I can say is I love New York and we’re gonna see what happens here in the future.”

Listen to David Lee on ESPN 1050 in New York here (Audio begins 17:15 into the podcast)

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