If Lebron James is wondering just how serious the New York Knicks are about improving the franchise, then their latest signing should send a clear message of seriousness.
On Monday, the Knicks agreed on a deal in principle with free agent forward Amar'e Stoudemire. Stoudemire has reportedly agreed to a five-year $99.7 million contract that hopefully will lure King James to New York City. The power forward will be reunited with Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni whom he flourished under while playing in Phoenix.
While Stoudemire still has question marks on the defensive end, and with his ability to consistently rebound, this signing was indeed important for the Knicks. New York had to show James that they are serious about building a winner around him and the signing of Stoudermire surely did that.
After Sunday's meeting between the Knicks and Lebron's representatives to "clear the air" it was apparent that Lebron was still interested in the Knicks and also was interested in playing with Stoudemire whom he had lobbied to play with in Cleveland. Once the Knickerbockers were aware that signing the 27-year-old forward would not hinder their chances of getting James they decided to step up to plate.
Have the Knicks hit a home run?
Well, the ball is still traveling and we are all patiently waiting to see where it lands when King James announces his decision potentially later this week. However, New York did the right thing by stepping up to the plate and taking their best shot since their meeting with James last week to convince him to come to New York. With the Knicks becoming virtually irrelevant in New York over the past decade, they had no choice but to show that they would be serious players in this summer's free agency bonanza.
Adding a player of All-Star talent like Stoudemire should be appealing to James considering he has never played with a sidekick even close to the talent of the Knicks' free agent addition. James, who is masterful with the ball in his hands, could form a deadly pick and roll combo with Stoudemire in New York for years to come.
However, there is the possibility that James does not come to New York at all, but that does not take away from the Knicks making a solid move. Even without King James gracing the Garden next season, the Knicks have improved themselves immensely via free agency. The move to sign Stoudemire will be attractive to upcoming free agents as well that could potentially sign with the Knicks next summer.
The bottom line here is the Knicks stepped up when they needed to, which is something that could not be said about the organization for a long time. They changed the game by being the first team to really make a significant move in the Lebron sweepstakes. Hopefully, showing that they did not plan to sit around and wait goes a long way....the Lebron way.