Programming note: For comprehensive coverage of Warriors Media Day, watch SportsNet Central tonight at 6, 10:30 and midnight on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
OAKLAND – David Lee spent his summer avoiding the fray, healing and rebuilding his body, making the adjustments required of an NBA player entering the dark side of his prime.
But the Warriors power forward saw and heard the chatter. How could he not? It stalked him. Throughout June and for most of July, Lee's name was at or near the top of the league's trade rumor mill.
Lee was a major component of a Warriors package that was proposed to the Timberwolves in hopes of obtaining All-Star power forward Kevin Love.
Other names – Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes in particular – were floated as possibilities but Lee seemed to be an essential part of any deal.
"After about the first day or two of it, when I knew it was rumor, there really (was) no ireason to read any more into it," Lee said Monday, during Media Day. "Either it's going to happen or it's not.
"If I get a phone call and they say I'm moving to Minnesota, then I'd go and buy a jacket – and maybe one of those big Hummers, the wide ones. But . . . it doesn't happen. So I stay with the hoodie instead for nighttime.''
Lee expects to retain his position as the team's starting power forward. But the concerns about his effectiveness were legitimate. And, too, Love is conceivably the league's best power forward and five years younger.
That Lee is 31 and has endured five seasons with the Knicks, under unrelenting scrutiny in the Big Apple, provided some perspective.
"I was in New York, where it seemed like all 15 players, from the start of the season to the end, were in rumors of some kind," Lee said. "I've been through it plenty of times. As a player, you have no control over that. What can you do?
"You can read every single article and . . . either it's going to happen or it's not. In this case, it didn’t happen. There are no hard feelings. There can't be. Our front office is trying to improve the team, and Kevin Love is a great player.
"There really is no reason to worry about that kind of stuff. You worry about the team we have coming back, which I think is a great team with a chance to do wonderful things.''
First-year coach Steve Kerr has expressed excitement over what Lee can bring to the offense he plans to install when training camp begins on Tuesday.
Lee says he's fully healthy, having undergone minor surgery in his core/pelvic region late last spring.
Left unsaid is whether Lee, the highest-paid member of the Warriors, feels motivated to prove his worth. It is safe to presume that he does.