Warriors Lose Another Fan Favorite to Division Rival

Damion Lee Warriors

Getty Golden State Warriors wing Damion Lee celebrates during a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

It looks like the Golden State Warriors are going to have a very different-looking bench for next season.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports that Warriors’ wing Damion Lee will be leaving the Bay Area and joining the Phoenix Suns on a one-year deal. At the moment, no details were made about the contract he signed.

Ironically, the news happened about 90 minutes after Lee threw out the first pitch for the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park.

Lee averaged 8.1 points and 3.4 rebounds, converting 43.7% shooting and 36.6% from the perimeter. His peak came during the 2019-20 injury-plagued season for the Warriors, when he averaged 12.7 points and 4.9 rebounds in 29 minutes per game.

The Suns will be the third team for Lee. He spent his rookie year with Atlanta after going undrafted. After that, Lee joined the Warriors on a two-way contract initially spending his time between Santa Cruz and Golden State.

Fans may be sad, but some have already been making jokes that Lee will be receiving his ring in front of Chris Paul.

Next Year’s Roster Will Look Different from the Bench

Lee’s departure marks the sixth Warrior to bolt the Bay Area for other opportunities elsewhere. Hometown favorite Juan Toscano-Anderson left first to join the Lakers within two hours when free agency opened on June 30.

Then Gary Payton II signed a three-year, $28 million contract up north with the Blazers. The Warriors tried to keep Payton II by offering their taxpayer MLE around $6.5 million, but ultimately the Blazers outbid Payton II for his services.

Otto Porter Jr. was a key cog in the Dubs playoff rotation, but he ultimately walked to join the Raptors on a two-year deal.

The good news is playoff hero Kevon Looney will be returning on a three-year, $25.5 million contract. But Nemanja Bjelica bolted to Europe and signed a two-year deal with Fenerbahçe, a top-tier team in Turkey.

Chris Chiozza is widely seen as not returning to the Dubs, after the team did not extend a qualifying offer to him, making him an unrestricted free agent. Andre Iguodala is still undecided about his future, but if he decides to retire, the Warriors may have six different faces on their bench when they defend their championship next season.

Signing Throws Out Claims Lee Was on Team for Nepotism 

Lee is married to Stephen Curry’s sister, Sydel, and many have made baseless claims that Lee has been with the team because of his ties with Curry. After spending the majority of his career with the Dubs,

The fact the Suns went ahead and signed him within 72 hours of free agency shows that there is still a competing market for Lee, and his services are not tied to the fact he is related to the Warriors superstar.

This claim should have been cast aside given that he is a capable scorer off the bench, but claims of nepotism always happen whenever any players have any off-the-court relationship with people on their respective teams.

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