OAKLAND – David Lee officially began life as a Warrior, and an ex-Knick, on Monday as Golden State opened training camp about 2,500 miles away from the world he at once loved and is glad to escape.
Lee spent the last five years amid the draining madness of the Knicks and the embraceable chaos of New York City. So the sign-and-trade that brought him across the country with an $80-million deal involves much more than a different coast and a different team.
It’s a different world.
“I don’t want to say anything about New York because it’s given me some great opportunities and I had some unbelievable times there,” Lee said. “But it’s going to be a big change out here. I think being able to get down to basketball and getting down to just worrying about winning and worried about getting better every day, not only my game better but our team’s game – I think that’s going to be a lot easier when there’s fewer distractions. I love New York. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity out here, though. I’m very excited to be here.
“There was always a lot going on, on and off the court. I think everything there is under a magnifying glass, and that’s something you come to expect when you sign on in New York. Out here, I’m really kinda getting a breath of fresh air as far as I think it’s going to be easier just to focus on basketball and get to the task at hand, which is winning ballgames. I’m happy that I went through what I did for five years in New York, because I feel like now I’m really prepared for anything that comes my way. I played for Larry Brown my rookie year, who is very tough on rookies. I played for Isiah Thomas for a couple of years, which was interesting, and played for coach [Mike] D’Antoni, who runs a similar system to what we’re going to run here. I’ve really experienced – from a coaching standpoint, from an organizational standpoint – a lot of different things.”
Isiah Thomas. Interesting.
How very diplomatic.
“I’ve seen about 25 years of drama in a five-year period that’s for sure,” Lee said. “When you consider on-the-court stuff, off-the-court stuff, I think there were 53 players, three coaches, two general managers since I started five years ago. Eddy Curry and I were the last two around. I’m looking forward to a new beginning here.”