Former Knick David Lee believes the key to success in New York is for everyone - the organization, fans and media - to take a patient approach.
"Everybody, whether it be the fans or the media in New York, want to get everything done overnight," Lee said in an interview on Anthony Donahue's podcast, 33rd and 7th.
"You saw it the other night (during the NBA Draft Lottery) with the Zion Williamson situation. Everyone says, 'All we have to do is get this one guy and we're going to win 20 championships in a row. Or all we have to do is get this one free agent and then everything else will fall into place. When in actuality it is a step-by-step process. You look at what the 76ers have gone through and everybody was complaining but they remained patient.
"And that's not to say it's not frustrating. Just like it's not (to say it's not) frustrating the Knicks haven't been a winner in a while. But I think that you look back at a lot of these decisions such as trading so many guys to get Carmelo (Anthony). Believe me, Carmelo is a Hall of Fame player, incredible, but would he have come here in that (2011) offseason anyways as a free agent? Could you have kept a (Raymond) Felton or a (Danilo) Gallinari? Or some of these (guys) and had more pieces around him? … Maybe it would have been an easier situation."
Lee added of the Anthony trade: "But I think a lot of that was the media saying, 'Wow you have the outside chance of getting Carmelo why would ever in a million years pass that up?' And maybe that had no bearing on the decision, maybe it did."
It would be the sign of a poorly run organization if media coverage factored heavily into a decision the magnitude of the Anthony trade - or any decision, for that matter. Only owner James Dolan, then top basketball executive Donnie Walsh and others involved with the Anthony trade on the Knicks side know if the media coverage influenced their thinking.
On Donahue's podcast, Lee compared the Anthony situation with a potential Lakers trade for Anthony Davis.
"That's a little bit like what's going on in LA right now if they're hoping to get Anthony Davis, which I'm sure they'll make an attempt. It's one thing to trade a few players to get another player. But if you're giving up your entire roster, your cheerleaders, your mascot and half your fans to get one player, you're going to look at - and it's going to be Lebron (James) and Anthony Davis and believe me, those two guys can carry a roster - but if you have no one else on the roster, it's going to be tough. And you're giving up a lot of your young talent," Lee said. "God forbid one of those two guys were to get hurt, have an off year, something like that, you're in a lot of trouble."
Lee, who played for New York from 2005-2010, attended Knicks games recently and participated in some events with the team. It was clear in his interview that he still roots for the organization, which he commended for taking a patient approach in its rebuild.
Lee, a two-time All Star who won an NBA title with Golden State, said this when asked about the current culture: "I think that the coaching staff and player relationship seems to be there…. It feels like to me that everybody seems to be on the same page right now. From when I went to Golden State and saw how they did things when the new ownership took over, I can't tell you how important that is. To kind of have everybody, from the top dog meaning Mr. Dolan, on down to the players, really on the same page. I think that in years past maybe that hasn't been the case where they've had players that haven't wanted to fit into whatever role they were given, whatever the case may be."