FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – With a towel over his white polo shirt, David Lee looked right at home at Arthur Ashe Stadium. As he cleared his face in the humid weather, he looked like Andy Roddick or Andre Agassi during the fifth set.
Yet, Lee was at the Billy Jean King Tennis Center not to play, but to watch the New York Liberty compete in their outdoor matchup with the Indiana Fever. Although the Garden’s woman’s team had an Isiah Thomas Knick-like performance, Lee seemed very happy to be there, and more importantly happy he’s still a Knick after an offseason of trade rumors.
“I think I will be with the Knicks next year,” said Lee during halftime. “But there’s not one guy on the team who thinks he can’t be dealt just because we haven’t won a lot of games the last couple of years and we have new people in who want to make the franchise better. I know it’ a compliment because other teams are asking about me in trades.”
Lee thought if he would be dealt it would have come on draft day. Yet he is still with the Knicks and had a nice conversation with general manager Donnie Walsh and coach Mike D’Antoni during the summer league in Vegas a few weeks ago.
“I met with coach and Donnie Walsh and they seem very excited having me on the team,” he said and feels he could fit into D’Antoni’s system nicely. “We played a lot of it in college [at Florida]. We pressed for 40 minutes every game. The one time I played it in the NBA was a rookie-sophomore game coached by the Knicks assistant coaches. I did ok that game. If I prefer to play any style, this would be it.”
It also helps that Walsh made a few moves to improve the club and acquired character players. “With the acquisition of Danilo Gallinari, he’s a good character guy, and Chris Duhon coming in, I can see that there’s a lot more positive feelings around the facility,” Lee said. “Character’s something they want to put a premium on. There’s not a big difference in the NBA between wins and losses. I think a lot of it comes down to character and chemistry. I’m glad we’re moving in that direction.”