Blake Griffin Could See LeBron James Joining Knicks Before LA

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2017

Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, left, tries to get past Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Friday, Jan. 16, 2015, in Los Angeles. The Cavaliers won 126-121. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

There's been plenty of buzz linking LeBron James to a potential move to the Los Angeles Lakers when he becomes a free agent after the 2017-18 season. But at least one NBA player, Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin, thinks a move to the New York Knicks is more likely.

"I could see him going to New York before L.A.," Griffin said on the View from the Cheap Seats podcast (h/t Aaron Mansfield of Complex.com). "I still think, when you go to the Garden, it’s a completely different feeling. The energy there seems like there’s just a consistent buzz the entire game… even last year when you go play them, it’s still there."

Griffin added, "Honestly, I don’t see him coming to L.A. period. Listen, again, I have no idea [laughs]. I think something is brewing with him and his group of guys. I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I think something’s brewing and they’re going to try to make that work."

James' "guys" have traditionally been his close friends and fellow veterans: Carmelo AnthonyChris Paul and Dwyane Wade. One of those players, Anthony, is already in New York, though he is seeking a trade and the franchise has reportedly been exploring offers.

Nick Friedell of ESPN.com, meanwhile, reported "Wade isn't expected to be long for the [Chicago Bulls'] future, as nobody would be surprised if he decided not to stick around for a season in the tank and instead chooses to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months."

He added that "the widespread belief within the organization is that a deal that would allow Wade to play elsewhere will eventually get worked out at some point during the season."

As for Paul, he could decide to sign elsewhere next summer. He opted into the final year of his contract to facilitate his trade to the Houston Rockets this offseason, but the opportunity to pair with James may be enough to entice him to leave for a team like the Knicks. 

So while James' future remains incredibly cloudy—maybe he'll stay in Cleveland depending on the fallout from the Kyrie Irving saga, or maybe both he and Paul George will sign with the Lakers—the possibility of him making a move to the Knicks if Anthony remains and Paul is willing to leave Houston is intriguing. 

Kristaps Porzingis at the 5, Anthony and James at forward and Paul at the point would be a fascinating quartet, and certainly one that could at least compete with the Golden State Warriors and the rest of the NBA's elite.

Or maybe Anthony will depart this offseason but James will convince players like George and Paul to join him in New York.

The Knicks would have to get creative and move some salaries around to make it all work—Tim Hardaway Jr., Lance Thomas and Courtney Lee will make around $36 million combined in 2018-19—and Anthony, James and Paul might have to sacrifice some money as well to balance the books. Plus, James convincing some of his friends to join him could happen on any number of teams other than the Knicks.

But there is a certain appeal to playing in New York, and wilder things have happened.