LeBron James said yes to the Miami Heat on Thursday, and shortly after, power forward David Lee and the New York Knicks said yes to the Warriors.
According to multiple team sources, Lee agreed to a six-year deal worth just under $80 million, and the Knicks agreed to a sign-and-trade with the Warriors. In exchange, Golden State sent forward Anthony Randolph, center Ronny Turiaf and swingman Kelenna Azubuike to New York.
The deal can't become official until Thursday because the NBA offices were closed when the trade was agreed upon. Until it's official, a "curveball," as one source put it, could happen. But that is unlikely, as even Lee's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the deal. The Warriors are expecting to announce trade once it is approved, probably Friday.
"It's bittersweet and shocking," point guard Stephen Curry said from Las Vegas, where the team opens its Summer League schedule today. "Lee is a great player and I do think he will make our team better. But we'll just have to see it all works out.
"The fans love (Randolph)," Curry added. "They thought he was going to lead this team places."
The Warriors, on the other hand, are elated at adding Lee because, even though it cost them one of their prized young talents, they get a player who averaged 20.2 points and 11.7 rebounds last season. They have a proven player to put with Curry, guard Monta Ellis and center Andris Biedrins.
Warriors management apparently does
Said one source, "The Warriors paid less money over six years than Chicago paid for power forward Carlos Boozer over five years ($80 million)."
The deal had to wait for James' highly publicized decision because the Knicks were hoping he chose New York. Once they knew they weren't going to get James, the Knicks went to their Plan B, which was to acquire Randolph to play on the front line with Stoudemire and sharp-shooter Danilo Gallinari. That prompted the Knicks to reportedly spur sign-and-trade offers from Toronto, Phoenix and Minnesota.
"They're excited to have me," Randolph said from Las Vegas, "and I have the chance to come right in there and play. I genuinely think New York likes me as a player and wants me there."
Lee, who reportedly turned down an offer from the Nets, is expected to start as power forward, with Brandan Wright as his backup. One NBA executive said Lee will fit in perfectly with the Warriors, especially because he helps fill their need for rebounding.
"He's a very high energy player," Wright said from Las Vegas. "I think he'll fit our up-and-down style. He brings a different look to our team. I could see us playing together, especially the way we play."
<b>NOTES: </b>Rookie forward Ekpe Udoh will see two hand specialists about his injured left wrist, the team announced. He will visit Dr. Steven Shin today in Los Angeles, and he will come to San Francisco on Monday to see Dr. Bill Greene. Udoh is out for action for the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas after injuring his left wrist while working out at the team's facility on Sunday.
Bay Area New Group staff writer Mark Emmons contributed to this article.