While the games this weekend went in the Golden State Warriors’ favor, there was a poignant cloud that hung over them: David Lee announced his retirement.
Lee had, somewhat surprisingly, not signed with a team yet this season, so the writing was a little on the wall. Still, it’s always a little sad to say goodbye to a player who donned the Golden State colors for five years.
Lee’s tenure in the Bay Area was bittersweet. He represented a change in culture for the Dubs, and ushered in a few new eras of Warriors basketball.
After an All-Star nod in 2010 as a member of the New York Knicks, Lee signed a large free agent contract with Golden State. Long before Kevin Durant walked through the halls of Oracle Arena, Lee was the first big name player to choose the Warriors. It was a sign of positive changes in the Bay.
In 2012-13, his third season with the Warriors, Lee averaged 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds. He was named the first Golden State All-Star since Latrell Sprewell 16 years prior, and, along with Stephen Curry, took the Dubs to the playoffs for the first time since the We Believe squad.
The bittersweet side came in 2014-15, when Lee was injured to start the season. This opened up a starting opportunity for then-seldom used Draymond Green, who promptly became a key component on both sides of the floor. First-year head coach Steve Kerr decided to cement Green’s role in the starting lineup, even when the Lee returned from injury.
Just two years after representing the Warriors in the All-Star game, Lee was relegated to the bench, where his minutes were cut exactly in half, and he averaged just 7.9 points. But on the bright side, he still played a strong role in that year’s team, which ended the season in championship celebration.
When Lee came to the Warriors, they were a 26-win team. When he left them, they were champions. That constitutes a job well done.
Enjoy retirement, David. Thanks for the memories.
h/t to user dubsofbluedream for first posting this news