After missing most of training camp and the beginning of the regular season due to a nagging neck injury, Courtney Lee was having difficulty getting acclimated into the Knicks lineup.
So he decided it would be best to get some extra reps in the G-League, where he played for Westchester in their loss to Lakeland on Tuesday night.
Lee posted 16 points, 7 rebounds, and 3 assists on an off-shooting night. He took a high volume of shots, trying to find his touch, but finished 7-21 from the field and only 1-9 from three. Being that this game was a tune-up for Lee, the numbers don’t matter as much as the reps.
Lee did not travel with the Knicks for their game on Wednesday in Cleveland. He will return to the lineup in Charlotte on Friday.
The veteran guard requested the time in the G-League to get into shape and rhythm again.
Fizdale was impressed by Lee’s decision. “That was his decision to go to the G-League. I was like, ‘What a pro,’” Fizdale said in a quote recorded by the New York Daily News. “The fact he came to us and said, ‘I’m hurting the guys, I have no legs and I have no rhythm. If it’s OK, can I go to the G League and play some minutes?’”
Of course, the Knicks have a roster decision to make shortly after Allonzo Trier returns from a hamstring injury, if they want to sign him before his 45-day NBA service time expires. The Knicks could let negotiations extend beyond 45 days, meaning Trier would return to the G-League until a contract and roster spot is settled.
It was reported by Adam Zagoria earlier on Monday that the Knicks are expected to convert Trier’s two-way contract to a standard NBA contract.
To eventually make room for Trier, I would expect the Knicks to waive one of their players on a one-year deal (such as Kornet or Baker) rather than complicating their efforts in trying to accomplish two goals by trading Lee: shedding his 2019 salary and creating an extra roster spot. So if you are inclined to connect transactional dots, don’t read too much into this Westchester assignment.