Another Golden State Warriors free agent has departed. This time it’s guard Damion Lee, who is joining the Phoenix Suns on a one-year deal, presumably for the veteran’s minimum.
Free agent guard Damion Lee has agreed to a one-year deal with the Phoenix Suns, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 2, 2022
Lee averaged 7.4 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.0 assists per game this year, in 19.9 minutes per game. His three-point shooting dropped to 33.7%, but even with the bad shooting year he was a 35.7% shooter from deep during his four-year tenure with the Dubs.
I’ll be honest, I have a bone to pick with Warriors fans about Lee. They were often overly-critical of him, chastising him for not being a great bench player, even though he was very good for his role (which was near the back of the bench). He was reliable, played decent defense, understood and fit the system well, and was a strong teammate and locker room presence, despite having minutes that were all over the place.
Fans were also overly-reductive about his spot on the Warriors. Many claimed that he was only on the team due to nepotism (he’s married to Steph Curry’s sister, Sydel), but there’s no evidence supporting that, and the Suns — a very good team — signing him is further proof that he is very clearly a player who deserves to be on an NBA roster.
Somewhat hilariously, the Warriors social account tweeted out a video of Lee throwing out the first pitch at the San Francisco Giants game just an hour before the news broke.
Lee jumps from contender to contender, as he’s joining a Suns team that had the best record in the NBA last year, though they fell to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals. The Suns have a star core of Chris Paul and Devin Booker, but their future is a tiny bit up in the air. Center Deandre Ayton seems to be on his way out, and former Warriors superstar Kevin Durant has reportedly listed the Suns as one of his preferred teams for a trade.
With Lee gone, six of the seven Warriors free agents have made their decisions. Lee, Juan Toscano-Anderson, Gary Payton II, Otto Porter Jr., and Nemanja Bjelica have all left the team, while Kevon Looney has re-signed. Only Andre Iguodala, who very well might retire, remains.