Thursday , Jan , 29 , 2009 C.Y. Ellis

Who Wants David Lee?

With every game and every double-double, David Lee shreds another piece of conventional wisdom: that he can’t shoot, can’t score, can’t play for Mike D’Antoni, can’t be an everyday starter. One stubborn assumption still stands: that Lee can’t stay with the Knicks.

It is generally understood that the Knicks are conserving salary-cap space for 2010, also known as the Summer of LeBron. Spending tens of millions on Lee, a restricted free agent in July, would seem to run contrary to that goal.

But Knicks officials believe they can retain Lee, and there are forces working in their favor: a poor economy, a deep free-agent class and a small pool of teams with significant cap space.

Lee, 25, is expected to seek at least $10 million per season. Based on current projections — and assuming the cap stays flat, which many executives expect — only seven teams will have $7 million or more in cap room this summer.