LeBron Will Not Be In a NYC Frame of Mind

John GrayCorrespondent IJuly 5, 2008

Contrary to much speculation, LeBron James will not being going to one of the NYC area teams next year or anytime soon.  Superstars rarely leave their teams as a free agent, since their teams won't let them go and can usually outbid anyone if they are so inclined.  The only free agents to leave in recent memory are Shaq to LA, and lessor mortal Tracy McGrady to Orlando and perhaps Baron Davis.

For LeBron James, this is even more the case since he is from the Cleveland area and the team has been competitive.  The Cavs have been better than both NYC teams.  Some say LeBron wants to maximize the  endorsement potential that NYC can offer.  What product is James not already endorsing?  Isn't LeBron already in the top five paid athletes in endorsements?

Another factor could be the NYC lifestyle versus a smaller city like Cleveland in comparison.  Living in a  less costly estate in Ohio nearby versus living in an apartment or commuting daily.

LeBron Won't Win Any More Games in NYC

The Cavs went seven games with the NBA champs this year and were in the Championship the year before.  The Cavs also have much more salary cap flexibility than either NYC team.  Five players under contract after next season for $50mm and only LeBron is signed for 2010-11.

For the Knicks, Stephen Marbury, Steve Francis, and $40mm come off the books in 2009-10.  Otherwise, the Knicks are best off letting contracts expire or trade them for picks and young talent if another teams desires them. The Knicks need to restrain themselves from overpaid, under performing players with long contracts. Crawford, Curry, and Jeffries are the big ones linger until 2010-11 for $28mm annually.  I am sure LeBron is clamoring to play with the much well received draft pick Danilo Gallinari.

The Nets did a great job of freeing themselves of the big contracts of Kidd and Jefferson for young talent and draft picks.  Vince Carter gets over $15mm per year until 2012 and Bobby Simmons gets $10mm for the next two years.

But as the Bulls learned after cutting ties from Jordan & friends to overall roster in hope to sign Tracey Grady and Duncan: just because you have money doesn't mean players will come.  The Bulls haven't won since they purged their championship team prematurely, costing them at least another trophy or two.

The Cavs are playoff contenders now and have the salary cap flexibility to build around LeBron.  New York is just wishfully thinking.  LeBron will not be in a New York frame of mind or uniform anytime soon.