NBA Free Agency: Why LeBron James Best Chance To Win is in New York
Draft Night 2010 saw a multitude of shifting personnel. Teams such as Miami and Chicago made all their moves with one sole purpose: clearing cap space in preparation of making a bigger impact on free agency.
When the clock strikes midnight on July 1, teams will be blowing up the phones of the 2010 Free Agent class.
With many teams expected to make a push for the headliner, LeBron James, everyone has a different opinion on where he is best suited.
"He should stay in Cleveland for loyalty."
"He should go to Chicago to win."
"He should go to New York for the money."
While Chicago would offer LeBron an excellent shot at an Eastern Conference Finals run, I am here to tell you that the New York Knicks offer a lot more than money.
While the Knicks had a less than spectacular season this year, they have set themselves up outstandingly to make a strong attempt to “woo” The King.
I am here to tell you that New York offers LeBron a great chance to win. Maybe even the best. The big apple has five things to offer that other teams don’t.
1. Mike D'Antoni
LeBron has stated multiple times that he really wants to play for a great coach next season. Let’s face it, no team that is courting him has a better head man than D’Antoni.
D’Antoni led Phoenix to two conference finals during his tenure and made the playoffs on another two occasions. Not only is he a great X’s and O’s guy, but he is also a players coach, something coveted by athletes in the league.
D’Antoni maintains outstanding relationships with some of the best players in the league due to his time with the Suns and USA Basketball. LeBron’s relationship with former coach Mike Brown didn’t exactly jump out at you.
LeBron would also be wise to take a look at the different systems each team runs. Sure, he is LeBron and could go out and drop 40 no matter what the system. But in the playoffs, it takes more than just a freak of an athlete to get the job done.
D’Antoni’s fast paced, up and down offense could pair well with James’ athleticism and ability to run the floor and score in transition.
I think that D’Antoni’s system with LeBron is a match made in heaven. Just imagine the highlight reel these two could put together.
The Knicks know that they have the best coach of all the potential suitors, and this is something they will emphasize very strongly.
The Ability To Bring in Another Star
The Knicks are a team that don’t need all the draft night mayhem to be able to afford multiple max contracts. The team has been clearing cap space for what feels like a decade.
While there is no doubt it was a risky move, it has the potential to pay off big time. New York can not only bring in LeBron, but can also acquire a very worthy sidekick in Chris Bosh or Amar’e Stoudemire.
This puts New York on a pretty even scale with Miami and Chicago. Chicago can currently offer two maximum contracts. Miami can potentially offer three, but we won’t know until the salary cap is set.
Quite honestly I think the Heat need to make another move to have the ability to offer that third deal.
This is something I don’t see them doing.
LeBron in a Knick jersey would almost certainly bring along Bosh or Stoudemire, which would be more talent than he ever had in Cleveland.
Eddy Curry's Expiring Contract
Eddy Curry will pick up his player option and return for the 2011 season. Heck, at over $10 Million a year, you would be insane not to.
The Knicks will almost certainly not sign the big seven-footer next season when his deal runs out and he becomes a free agent.
This will free up more cap space yet again. Paired with other expiring deals, New York could be quite a player in free agency in the summer of 2011.
It’s not a bad idea, considering players such as Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant have the potential to be free agents.
With LeBron and another star in New York, those guys would be crazy not to join. New York is the only suitor which will have the ability to bring in another big time free agent next season.
I don’t care who Miami signs this year, a trio of LeBron, Bosh and Durant would bring rings to the “Big Apple” at a very steady pace.
OK, before you X out and mutter bad things about me under your breath, hear me out. The rookie PG very quietly had a promising season. Sure, he wasn’t Stephen Curry or Brandon Jennings, but the dude put up good numbers for the time he played.
Douglas averaged over eight points and two assists per game, all while playing south of 20 minutes per game.
The former Seminole will be asked to take on a much bigger role next season.
This is one writer who thinks he is up for the challenge.
If you extrapolate from his numbers, Douglas would theoretically have averaged around 16 and five with just 35 minutes of floor time. This is a guy who never left the floor at Florida State, so this minute total would be very doable.
LeBron has to be sick of the overrated, overpriced, over-hyped Mo Williams distributing the ball.
Toney would be a very nice change of pace.
Everyone is talking about how Derrick Rose would be the undisputed best PG for LeBron, yet if you think about it, Douglas is the guard whose game meshes better with James’.
Rose and LeBron have very similar styles of play, and both score by putting the ball on the floor and getting to the rim.
Douglas, much more of a perimeter threat, uses his speed and quickness to find gaps in the defense and thrives in the mid-range game.
LeBron would benefit much more with a PG like this, rather than a penetrating one.
The Front Office
The Knicks front office has shown that it is not afraid to take risks to win. The have shown that they will do anything to put a great team on the floor.
This is the kind of dedication that James’ front office lacked in Cleveland.
Sure they could go out and win 60 games. But playoff basketball is very, very different, and management never made it a priority to surround James with the talent that he wanted.
This hurt them in the long run.
New York is a city that is used to winning, and expects it. Management would have the potential to not only make a play this season but also next in free agency. LeBron is an insane competitor and has to win. I feel like New York shares this quality more than any other team.
People can say what they want about the past few years, but all that was done was in an attempt to build to this.
Hell, the team basically threw away two seasons just to try to sign this guy! What says dedication better than that?
Sure, Chicago has Rose, Noah and potentially another star. But don’t sleep on the Knicks. LeBron loves the city and he wouldn’t be signing there just for the market.
He would be coming to restore the Knicks franchise as one of the greatest in sports—something that can be easily done with his help.