"There’s no way LeBron would have gone to New York under the current climate," a James confidant told the New York Daily News' Frank Isola. "He had a falling-out with CAA (agency) and that was a problem as well. But with Phil there I think he will look at it."
Fear not, time travelers. You have not inadvertently set your DeLorean's dial to 2010. This is still 2014, the Knicks are still the Knicks and James is still the one that got away.
And yes, this is still ridiculous.
James can become a free agent this summer, at which point the Knicks can—well, they can do absolutely nothing.
Even if Carmelo Anthony leaves, the Knicks still have no cap space. Any play for James, as Isola notes, must come in 2015 when the team is flush with funds, provided James opts into the next year of his current deal with the Miami Heat.
From there, James Dolan's Knicks must rely on a heavy dose of the Zen Master and a heaping pile of hundy-sticks to land LeBron.
More like proof the Knicks are fools.
To be sure, this was inevitable.
Once Jackson came aboard, this was going to happen. The Knicks chase big names. They sell fans on the pursuit more than they do the acquisition. Now that they have secured Jackson, it's on to the next.
Then again, this isn't on the Knicks. It's James who will "look at" them, we're just certain his glimpse will be met with a lasting stare of desperate lust. And perhaps a chops-licking Dolan, too.
In February, Shelburne, along with ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst, reported that James wasn't going to rule out any free-agency possibilities this time around, so that's not going to help quell this latest rumor.
"This time is going to be different," the source told them. "If LeBron decides to look at other options it won't just be teams with cap space. He has 30 options if he wants them."
After handing Dolan a pint-sized cup with which he can collect the pools of saliva dripping from his open mouth, let's be real.
Chances of this happening are slim—slimmer than Kevin Durant's legs. A lot has to go New York's way for it to even sit down with James.
Not only must the Knicks first hope James hits the open market in 2015 instead of this summer, but they also need Jackson to make a winner out of their loser in one year's time.
"Phil can help the Knicks because he gives them a face and credibility," a rival general manager told Isola. "But these big free agents are only going to a place where they feel they can win. Phil has to build something first."
Good luck doing that so quickly, Phil. Seriously.
History tells us everything the Knicks need to happen won't happen, because free agency doesn't cater to franchises guilty of forever hatching half-baked schemes. So while James may window-shop in New York come 2015 (if possible), don't bank on him buying into what the Knicks and Jackson are selling.
*Salary information via ShamSports.