David Lee is uncertain about the summer

The soon-to-be free agent has had a career season for the Knicks, averaging 20-12, while shooting almost 55% from the field en route to his first All-Star nod. He told the New York Times that he doesn’t have any idea what’s going to happen this summer.

“I don’t know how the Knicks are going to do timetable-wise, or if LeBron is going to have a decision made by July 1 or Sept. 1,” Lee said. “I don’t know how it’s going to work. At this point, I’m just going to look at everything as it comes to me and let my agent do his job.”

Ideally, the Knicks would sign two superstars, with James and Bosh the top targets. That would require renouncing the rights to all of their free agents, including Lee. But there are countless ways to spend the cap space. They could sign one marquee player and have enough left to sign Lee and another solid free agent. Or they could strike out entirely on the marquee players, in which case they will have plenty of room for Lee — and a long line of depressed season-ticket holders.

Chris Sheridan writes that it’s likely that another team will make him a sizable offer early in free agency and ask him to make a quick decision.

There’s a significant chance someone makes David Lee a take-it-or-leave-it offer that he’ll have to make a choice on almost instantly, and that could happen on the second or third day of July if the Knicks are still waiting on James. If Lee bolts, their best sign-and-trade asset will have disappeared, too. Gonna be an interesting July, eh?

I agree with Sheridan. Some savvy, second-tier team with cap space — I’m talking New Jersey, Washington, Sacramento, LA Clippers, Oklahoma City or Minnesota — will realize that their chances of landing a top-tier free agent like LeBron James or Dwyane Wade is next to nil, and will make a move on the Knicks’ backup plan (Lee) when they’re still wooing one of the big-name free agents. (By the way, when I say “second-tier,” I’m talking about the size of the market, the quality of the team and the franchise, etc. I would say that the Bulls, Knicks and Heat are top-tier free agent landing spots.)

If a team like the Nets makes Lee an offer averaging $10-$11 million per season and puts a time limit on it, it’s going to be tough for Lee to sit around while the Knicks figure out who they can and cannot sign. And if Lee is no longer an option, then there goes the Knicks’ best sign-and-trade chip, which is why Peter Vescey advocated last week that the franchise should re-sign Lee as soon as possible this summer.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

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