SAN FRANCISCO -- Damion Lee ventured onto the BioFreeze Center practice court under different circumstances Wednesday afternoon.
No longer under a two-way deal, he began his post-practice workout under a new moniker: Potential Warriors long-term piece. As of Wednesday, he is under contract until 2021, after signing a multi-year pact with Golden State in a process that has been too fast for him to even process it.
"I was talking to my family about it, mainly my wife yesterday, just like the reality of it just hasn't set in yet," Lee said following Wednesday's practice. "I've always envisioned myself being a professional. I think now that it's here, it's like, she's telling me that I need to take a step back and enjoy it, but then also, at the end of the day it's like I said, just to begin it, it's a matter of turning two into 10. I feel like that's always been my motto."
Lee's deal is the result of his recent production. In 26 appearances, he's averaging 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists. Last month, he scored 22 points and adding a career-high 15 rebounds in an upset win over the Rockets. As Lee produced, his two-way days began to dwindle, creating a conundrum for Golden State's front office.
Pressed against the hard cap, the Warriors waived forward Marquese Chriss to keep Lee. On Thursday the 27-year-old guard is expected to start against the Nuggets.
Lee's current circumstance is a culmination of his journey. In college, he broke his hand and tore his left ACL. After transferring from Drexel to Louisville, a recruiting scandal forced the school to impose a one-year postseason ban. Two months into his G League career, he tore his right ACL, putting his career in peril.
Before last season, Lee signed a two-way deal with the Warriors. Last summer, he signed another, prompting his current stretch. Now, with his first guaranteed deal, Lee reflected on his path.
"Growing up in a house with me and my mom, me and my older cousin having to share a room, my two other cousins, having to share a room. Going to daycare down the street, from the house, waiting to get picked up," he said. "My mom working 12 hours a day, my aunt working the other 12 hours a day."
"Not saying that we struggled, but just as a young kid growing up in that environment," he continued. "You want to make sure that those are the people that you do it for."
Plenty of people reached out to congratulate Lee on his deal, including Mavericks guard Seth Curry -- Lee's brother in law.
Both Seth and Lee share similar stories. Not a heralded high school recruit, the younger Curry accepted a scholarship to Liberty University -- a small Christian school in Virginia -- before transferring to Duke. After stints in the G League, he carved a niche as a shooter in Dallas, inspiring others along the way.
"Seth is like one of the biggest inspirations in my life," Lee said. "Just knowing everything that he's been through, knowing how he's worked so hard to make a name for himself and continues to make a name for himself. Obviously, you see what he's doing and he's... I'm very proud and very lucky to have him as a brother."
Now, Lee hopes his play will simultaneously keep him in the league and inspire players under similar circumstances.
"Late bloomer and it took a lot of work, took a whole lot of hard work to get here," he said. "Just got to keep pushing. Can't just settle with just one contract."
Damion Lee excited to be Warriors' long-term piece after tough journey originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area