Many New York Knicks fans are hoping, praying, and worshiping the NBA gods that Lebron James is delivered to them this off-season. They have the money; Donnie Walsh has spent the last two years clearing cap space, and the Mecca of basketball, Madison Square Garden. With this past trading deadline Walsh was able to clear another $9.5million off the books by moving Jared Jeffries and Jordan Hill for Tracy McGrady. Now they have enough room to offer two max contracts this off-season. Who will make their way to NYC?
Having Tracy McGrady there will make it more enticing to free agents, but besides him they have Wilson Chandler, Eddy Curry, Toney Douglas, and Danilo Gallinari under contract for next year. The real key for any progress hinges on the ability to keep David Lee.
Do the Knicks fans remember a situation similar to this in '96. The Knicks had cleared about $20 million in cap room to woo none other than the last great player to wear 23, Michael Jordan.
The Knicks managed to clear nearly $20 million in cap space while retaining the services of Patrick Ewing, Charles Oakley and John Starks. The addition of Jordan would have vaulted New York back into championship contention. However the Bulls retained Jordan's services with a one year $30.14 million dollar offer, which gave the Bulls another ring and the Knicks on the outside looking in.
The Knicks hope that this off-season will end with them looking like the Celtics after they acquired Garnett and Ray Allen. Two big superstars and surround them with some young talent and some veterans looking for a shot at a title.
Lebron James and a combination of either Amar'e, Wade, Bosh, or Boozer would help most Knick fans erase the past seasons of disappointment. However if the Cavs win a title or Lebron feels that they are a season away he will stay, and this could lead to other free agents shying away from the Big Apple.
Knick fans should accept the fact that they may end up with Joe Johnson and David Lee. Setting expectations too high, such as the message boards that declare "James and Wade Welcome to NY", will lead to greater disappointment. See Chicago Bulls in 2000 when they missed out on Tim Duncan, Grant Hill, and Tracy McGrady. Even getting two top free agents doesn't guarantee success. See Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady in Orlando.
Knick fans do deserve a player that that can bring New York back up to the top but they may end up on the outside looking in again.