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Damion Lee thriving in new role in Phoenix, reflects on championship past with Warriors in town

By Madeline Kenney

PHOENIX — Andre Iguodala was one of the many Warriors players and staff members who caught up with Damion Lee Tuesday night during warmups on the ex-Warriors reserve’s new turf.

But once the game started, Lee was focused on getting a win.

Tuesday was the first of four times Lee is set to play his former team in the regular season.

After shootaround, Lee told reporters he was “excited” to play the Warriors, with whom he won a championship this summer. But he didn’t want to make the game about him. He said to save those questions for the Jan. 10 game at Chase Center when he’s expected to get his glitzy championship ring.

“That will probably be the more emotional one, being back in Golden State for the first time in a long time,” Lee said.

There’s no one in particular Lee was looking forward to guarding.

“I just want to get the win to be honest,” he said.

Lee had a storybook ending to his four-year tenure with Golden State, finishing it by parading down Market Street.

But when the post-championship party died down, Lee knew his future with the Warriors was likely coming to an end.

News broke about an hour after Lee threw out the first pitch at the Giants-White Sox game at Oracle Park that the former Warriors reserve was heading to Phoenix for the 2022-23 season.

After spending the last four years in Northern California, Lee agreed to a one-year deal to join the title-contending Suns, who are his third NBA team. He averaged 7.4 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.9 minutes in 63 games (five starts) last season. He averaged two points per game while shooting 38.2% from the field and 25% from 3-point range in 16 postseason games.

“Guys were extremely supportive of my decision, excited for me to have the opportunity to play here in Phoenix,” Lee recalled. “Just excited for me and my future.”

Lee is carving out a nice spot for himself in Phoenix, where he’s emerged as a reliable role player. He scored 11 fourth-quarter points in the Suns’ season-opening win against the Luka Doncic-led Dallas Mavericks. That included a tough game-winning shot over Spencer Dinwiddie.

Lee’s former teammates were thrilled to see the 30-year-old guard hit the shot and secure the Suns’ first victory of the season. In fact, Lee’s brother-in-law, Steph Curry, woke up his 4-year-old son while celebrating the basket.

Lee returned the love Tuesday, gushing about 7-foot center James Wiseman, who’s finally healthy after missing all of last season with a knee injury.

“James has overall talent. He has everything in his bag,” Lee said. “I’m just happy for him because he’s back. Knowing the injuries, knowing what it took to come back from injuries, having so much pressure, really it’s outside pressure, but just excited for him that he’s back, that he’s fully healthy.”

Source: Paradise Post