Warriors Rumors: Polarizing Guard Likely to Return Next Season

Damion Lee

Getty Damion Lee reacts to a play in a Golden State Warriors game.

There may be no member of the Golden State Warriors more polarizing with fans than reserve guard Damion Lee, and one insider predicts they’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the future.

Lee is one of six Warriors headed to unrestricted free agency after this season, and the team already deep in the salary cap could have some difficult decisions to make and will likely lose some players who played important roles in the rotation this year. But the San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau believes that Lee will likely be safe — even if he isn’t always the most popular with fans.

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Lee’s Future With Warriors

In a recent mailbag, a fan asked Letourneau whether Lee and fellow reserve Juan Toscano-Anderson could return next season. Though both have been stuck near the end of the rotation throughout the team’s playoff run, Letourneau noted that not all members of a 15-man roster will be able to crack the rotation in the playoffs, saying that both Toscano-Anderson and Lee have proven their value during the regular season.

The fact that both Lee and Toscano-Anderson are content in their roles is a help for both in returning, he added.

“There is also the fact that they have endeared themselves to the coaching staff as diligent role players,” Letourneau wrote. “If it’s between Toscano-Anderson and Lee or some relative no-names available on a minimum, I’d take Toscano-Anderson and Lee any day.”

Fans Roast Lee’s Play

Lee has been a frequent target for criticism from the vocal set of Warriors fans that reside on Twitter. Many were particularly upset after Lee’s performance in Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals, when within a five-minute stretch he missed a pair of quick 3-pointers, committed two fouls, turned the ball over and got hit with a technical foul in an incident with the Mavericks’ Davis Bertans.

Lee fell further down the rotation in Games 2 and 3, with many of his minutes going to rookies Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody. If the Warriors advance to the NBA Finals, Lee could fall out of the rotation with the return of Gary Payton II and Andre Iguodala.

Some speculated that Lee’s connection to Warriors star Steph Curry — Lee is married to Curry’s sister — is helping him keep his spot on the roster.

But Lee seems to have the support of the team and head coach Steve Kerr. Back in October, Kerr said that both Lee and Curry can maintain a healthy balance between family and team responsibilities, which makes them both better players on the court.

“They are directly related, there’s no question,” Kerr said, via NBC Sports Bay Area. “I’ve long felt that’s one of Steph [Curry’s] secrets to his success, he loves his life. He loves his family, he loves his hobbies, his daily existence on the Earth, he just enjoys it so much. He’s got so much going for him that it makes everything smoother and more fun for him on the court. I think that’s true for everybody. If you can get things in order and you’re in a comfortable place, you’re going to have more success.”

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