Let the public media frenzy over LeBron's free agency begin. Really, it already began last season, but this is his final season before his contract is up. Cleveland went all or nothing, signing Shaq as a quick fix. Let's see if it works.
Every team in need of a superstar is shedding payroll to make a hard push to obtain James. With Cleveland being a contender, it's going to take a strong, organized and winning team to pry him away. Somewhere where he could excel on and off the court since LeBron is part of the multitasking generation.
He's certainly not looking to get individual accolades, since he's going to get those regardless. LeBron is not a money player. If he leaves Cleveland, it will be to pair up with another star to make a legitimate run.
After the mess that Scott Layden and Isiah Thomas made with the salary cap, Donnie Walsh did an outstanding job of shedding cap space. To think, for the first time in years, they'll have money to really spend on a superstar.
The Knicks have been over the cap for so many years the average fan won't remember when they had cap space. They'll be able to afford the first franchise type player since Patrick Ewing, with all due respect to Stephon Marbury, Allan Houston, or Latrell Sprewell.
However with all the salar- shedding moves, it leaves the Knicks with limited talent and players playing with expiring contracts. Their two attractive pieces are David Lee, and for now, Wilson Chandler. At best they could be a .500 team, and that's being extremely optimistic.
A player like LeBron isn't going to leave Cleveland, which is always in the playoffs and at the top of the East to go to a team fighting for the respect of having a WINNING SEASON. Come on, get real.
The average Knicks fan's reasoning falls in the line of this being the media capital of the world. He has an obscene amount of endorsements and ventures in Cleveland. He's made Cleveland a major market just by being there.
If he leaves Cleveland, it'll be to win, or at least have a shot at winning. It won't be for money or exposure, since he already gets plenty in Cleveland.
Don't get me wrong; if the Knicks could sign LeBron, I would do a cartwheel on the subway tracks naked holding a LeBron jersey in my teeth. But it's not going to happen, unless Cleveland severely implodes.
I would love to have him, but banking on him after this season is ridiculous. Would Kobe leave the Lakers after winning a ring to play for the Knicks to get more endorsements than he already has?
Neither would LeBron.
However, the glamour of playing in New York will appeal to some players who are unhappy in their situation and would be looking for change. Also, it helps that Mike D'Antoni is familiar with those who played on the Olympic team in Beijing last summer.
His familiarity lies in players like Amare Stoudamire, whom I think is a realistic possibility, Chris Bosh, and a long shot of Dwayne Wade, since Miami doesn't seem to be progressing, and aren't too much better than the Knicks.
Certain superstars are willing to go to a rebuilding team if they love the city, the team, and need to leave an organization that has slowed down their progress. Granted, there are other teams I think could utilize LeBron's talent better, but not the Knicks.
They're finally just getting the Garden clean after years of filth. Let's not expect a home run of a check swing. They're not there yet. I'll be very happy if I'm proven wrong.
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