On Friday's edition of the Kings Insider Podcast, CSN Kings Insider James Ham reported what a lot of folks have been speculating since Dave Joerger was hired, and that is the Kings' predictable interest in Charlotte Hornets free agent guard, Courtney Lee.
Via James Ham, Kings Insider Podcast
"The Kings, from what I know, are targeting Courtney Lee. They love Courtney Lee"
Courtney Lee is the sort of tough, veteran, defensively responsible shooting guard that can hit the three at very respectable percentages the Kings should be targeting. His obvious connection with Joerger substantiates the Kings' interest to a certain degree, although it was that same Memphis Grizzlies organization that traded Lee to the Hornets in the first place.
Some reports suggest that Joerger was upset, or at the very least uncomfortable with how the Grizzlies unloaded both Lee and Jeff Green at the trade deadline, which I only mention because I'd be curious if there is any animosity towards Joerger from Lee's standpoint. In other words, Lee will have many suitors, this is his last long-term, big money deal, and I wonder if signing that last deal with a coach that was just in the organization that shipped you out will come into play.
I think it's a lot more likely that Lee would welcome a return to a Joerger-led team. He played some of his best basketball in Memphis, and potentially more importantly, Joerger was the first coach to really give him a long-term look as a starter. With how weak the Kings are at shooting guard, Vlade Divac can make a pretty compelling argument that, under Joerger, with the Kings' guard situation as weak as it is, the Kings can offer him more playing time and a starting role that other teams with cap space cannot guarantee.
For as much as I like Lee, and for as good of a fit as I think he can be, I do worry about the sort of offer the Kings will have to send him in order to lure him to Sacramento. Lee will be 31 by the time training camp opens, and my own personal irresponsible speculation is that he's going to command $10 million, give or take a couple million in either direction, per year for 3-4 years. The Kings probably have to bite that bullet, but his long-term effectiveness is a concern considering is age, particularly in that potential third or fourth year.
Beggars can't be choosers, though, and the Kings are still very much beggars. I like Lee's game quite a bit, and on a different level, I think he can be a really good mentor to someone like Malachi Richardson. Lee is such a smart player, he's someone that is hyper-aware of his role, and for a young guy with notorious shot selection and decision making issues like Richardson, learning from Lee could be a career-saver.