Prior to the draft, the Knicks and Grizzlies were rumored to be talking about a deal that would center on moving David Lee to Memphis for the number five pick, which was eventally used to select UCLA star Kevin Love.
Ultimately, said deal fell through, and there has been much speculation as to why that was the case. Now, it appears that Lee has shed a bit more light on the matter.
As reported by the New York Post's Marc Berman:
Lee did not deny his agent, Mark Bartlestein, before the draft advised Memphis not to trade for him because the Knicks gritty forward would never sign a long-term contract with the Grizzlies.
"I don't know what happened on his end," Lee said. "His job is to represent his players."
Seems typical of Bartlestein from what I've heard of him.
The situation intrigues me because I'm unsure where it falls from an ethical standpoint.
On one hand, one has to wonder if doing this sort of thing allows players a bit too much freedom to influence their trade destinies. But at the same time, if Lee wasn't willing to sign with the Grizz, Bartlestein likely did the team a favor by letting Memphis know now so that the Grizzlies didn't make a move that would hurt them down the road. Perhaps it depends who started the conversation; if the Grizzlies sought out Bartlestein to ask him about this, it's certainly hard to complain about his telling the truth. It seems a bit murkier the other way, but ultimately, it doesn't seem as though there is a complaint to be made about the conduct of Lee and his agent at this point.