Lee will make $12,253,780 in the upcoming season and $12,759,670 in 2019/20, which could disrupt the team’s plans to offer a maximum-salary contract next summer.
If the Knicks want to lock up Kristaps Porzingis to a contract extension this offseason, it would cut into their projected 2019 cap room, so moving Lee for expiring salary would help retain some of the their ’19 flexibility and create a clearer path to a max-salary slot. Porzingis, who is expected to miss at least part of the season with a torn ACL in his left knee, is eligible for a extension worth a projected $155MM.
Lee, 32, will likely fall out of the rotation under new coach David Fizdale, Berman writes. Sources tell The Post that rookie Kevin Knox is expected to take Lee’s spot as the starting small forward, while Damyean Dotson will have a bigger role as the backup to Tim Hardaway Jr. at shooting guard and Frank Ntilikina will also see time there. Fizdale reportedly doesn’t view the 6’5″ Lee as a small forward.
Lee has spent the past two seasons with the Knicks after signing as a free agent in 2016. He appeared in 76 games this year, starting 69, and posted a 12.0/2.9/2.4 line.