Courtney Lee has yet to make his season debut for the New York Knicks. And it doesn’t sound like he’s going to anytime soon.
Lee has officially been listed as out with a neck injury. Many have taken that as code for “The Knicks are trying to trade him and clear more cap space for next summer.” And, well, New York is trying to do just that. But attempts to move Lee have nothing to do with his actual absence. His neck injury is apparently baffling those within the organization, per the New York Post‘s Marc Berman:
The Knicks’ starting shooting guard last season is on the trading block, but his extended absence appears unrelated. Lee saw neck specialists Monday and didn’t travel with the team to Milwaukee.
He rejoined the squad here on Tuesday, clearly trying to make it back this season despite an unclear role.
Coach David Fizdale said Lee will need to undergo more tests to find either a remedy or the cause of recent neck spasms that occurred after he returned to practice in the days leading into the season opener and suffered a setback.
Including this season, Lee has two years and a little over $25 million left on his deal. That seemed fairly movable before this injury. It feels borderline untradeable now.
Of course, the Knicks should be most concerned with getting Courtney Lee healthy. They’re not trying to win anything this season, but they’ll be looking to be more competitive next year, when Kristaps Porzingis is presumably healthy and they’ve spent their cap space. If they’re unable to deal Lee before then, he instantly becomes an important piece of whatever noise they’re trying to make in the East.