Wishing for LeBron James to join the New York Knicks might be nothing more than a dream at this moment, but the truth is none of us have the slightest clue where—or for what reasons—the top-of-the-world, superstar free agent will sign.
As long as that's the case, the Knicks have a shot.
Of course, while the addition of a player—especially one of LeBron's stature—makes a world of a difference, it is already proven that no player can do it alone.
In other words, if the Knicks do manage to sign LeBron, the work can't and won't stop there.
Here are seven moves I think the Knicks should make if they land LeBron James.
Only one player (Dwight Howard) has had more double-doubles the past two seasons than David Lee.
It's insane how Chris Bosh and Carlos Boozer are talked about as being "max" players and Lee is apparently just chopped liver.
Over seven seasons in Toronto, Bosh managed to lead the Raptors to the playoffs only twice, both times resulting in first round exits.
The injury-prone Boozer has averaged 59 games per season over the last six seasons.
Lee is young (27), durable (only three missed games over the past three seasons), an elite rebounder (fourth in league with an 11.7 average last season), an efficient scorer (56 percent from the field for his career), a near-80 percent free-throw shooter, as well as a coachable team player who goes hard all the time.
He's also a fan favorite.
Why pay Bosh $20-plus million per season when you can have Lee for $14 million per season?
Wake up, Donnie Walsh, and sign the man.
Brendan Haywood will be one of the most sought-after free agents this offseason for the simple fact that true centers are scarce.
At 7'0" and 280-plus pounds, Haywood is both an effective rebounder and post defender.
Last season, he ranked fourth in blocks per game (2.1) and third overall in offensive boards despite only averaging 30 minutes.
The 31-year-old is due for a raise on the $6 million he made last season. The Knicks should offer him a four-year, $36-million deal.
That's a little steep but more than reasonable given the alternatives.
After literally lighting up the league last season—17th in threes with 140, fifth in three-point field goal percentage (46 percent)—Morrow will be in demand this offseason.
A 6'5" sharpshooter, the 24-year-old Morrow showed great potential, scoring 20 or more points 18 times in 69 games with the Golden State Warriors last season.
He led the NBA in three-point percentage in 2009.
The Knicks should offer Morrow (a restricted free agent) a deal significant enough to deter the Warriors from matching.
Four years and $24 million sounds just about right.
George Karl is battling cancer.
Free-agents-to-be, Kenyon Martin and J.R. Smith, are most likely gone after the season.
The Nuggets will surely decline the $14.2 million option on Chauncey Billups, who will turn 35 next year.
Both Carmelo Anthony and Nene Hilario can opt out of their respective deals next summer.
Let's be honest about the Nuggets: They’re done.
Denver has been bounced out of the playoffs in the first round in six of the past seven seasons.
For one reason or another, things haven't worked out and now with the core of the team in contract limbo, the franchise is in need of an overhaul.
In other words, Anthony can be had in a trade.
In return, the Nuggets would get two talented youngsters in Danilo Gallinari and Wilson Chandler, as well as a 2011 first-round draft pick.
Eddy Curry's expiring contract makes the deal work logistically.
Udonis Haslem is the type of player every team needs.
He's team-oriented, hard-working, active around the hoop, and committed to defense.
His per-36-minute averages last season were 12.7 points and 10.4 rebounds, proving he's productive when he gets the opportunity.
The 6'8", 240-pound power forward can be had on the cheap; between $4 and $6.5 million per season.
After being selected by the Golden State Warriors with the ninth pick in the 2006 Draft, Patrick O'Bryant has struggled to get any serious burn.
That's a shame because the 7'0", 260 lb center features a 7'6" wingspan, good mobility around the hoop, and a decent touch. However, his best asset is his shot-blocking ability.
In 90 NBA games over four seasons, O'Bryant's per-36-minute averages are just shy of 13 points, nine rebounds and three blocks.
The Knicks need size and defense in the paint. Why not bring him in for cheap and give him 18-22 minutes per night off the bench?
If not him, other young bigs should be targeted and given the chance to battle for rotation minutes.
Forget about LeBron James being the next Michael Jordan or Dr. J. What he should be doing is focusing on being the next Magic Johnson.
LeBron is a playmaker more than anything else. Is there anything he does better and more naturally on the court than pass the ball?
C: Brendan Haywood
PF: David Lee
SF: Carmelo Anthony
SG: Anthony Morrow
PG: LeBron James
BE: Udonis Haslem
BE: Patrick O'Bryant
BE: Toney Douglas
BE: Bill Walker
BE: Sergio Rodriguez
BE: Andy Rautins
BE: Landry Fields
The notion the Knicks need to go out and sign two "max" players is ridiculous. All they need to do is get LeBron, put a small core of quality parts around him, and then seek to add an All-Star-caliber sidekick via trade.
A LeBron-Anthony pairing is frightening when you think about all the damage they can do off the pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop. LeBron might be the most dangerous player in the league off the drive, and Anthony's mid-range game is second to maybe only Dirk Nowitzki.
How could you stop this duo?
Toss into the mix great rebounders in Lee and Haslem. Haywood and O'Bryant eat paint space and protect the rim. Morrow and Rautins can shoot the lights out. Douglas is a defensive specialist. Walker and Fields are aggressive slashers.
The bench looks thin, but I'm a firm believer you have to give bench guys a chance to emerge. We all saw what the likes of Darren Collison did last season after receiving the minutes. Douglas and Walker showed flashes.
You have to give guys a chance.
This is the kind of team the Knicks need to build; a star or two, a few hustle guys, shooters, defensive specialists, hungry unprovens, and so forth.
And they can do it.
They should do it.