With the news that Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will now team up in Miami, the eyes of the world now shift to LeBron James. LeBron is the remaining mega free agent who has yet to publicly make his decision. But it will not be long.
The thinking is that Wade and Bosh's commitment to LeBron has narrowed the King's choices to Cleveland and Miami, leaving Chicago, New Jersey and even New York out in the cold.
While New York is still a possibility, the chances appear decreasing with every passing hour. That is why the Knicks are still screwed if LeBron opts to go elsewhere, leaving the Knicks staff, the fans and the city as a whole in brutal disappointment.
No team had as many unrestricted free agents this winter as the Knicks. They had nine players come off the books, including players like Nate Robinson who were gone midseason.
They are now left with a shell of an NBA roster and millions of dollars in cap space, but no legitimate star players to fill the void. Without LeBron it's going to take serious work and creativity to fill this roster.
Chris Duhon picked up and headed south to sign a 4-year, $15 million with the Orlando Magic. That is not good news for a team that is currently looking at Eddie House as its point guard for 2010. The Knicks may not get LeBron, but who is going to get Stoudemire the ball?
The Knicks surprised many with their two second picks in this year's draft. The spent the 38th and 39th overall picks on Andy Rautins and Landry Fields, both considered legitimate reaches by most NBA talking heads.
Now both will likely play a significant role with the Knicks in their rookie seasons, filling the small forward position hoped to be occupied by LeBron.
Amar'e has never been the central focus of a team, but that's exactly what he'll be without LeBron James. That is uncharted territory for the big man who will reportedly sign a 5-year, $100 million contract to move to MSG. Stoudemire had Steve Nash in Phoenix. Now he's got....uh, who exactly?
Knicks fans have been waiting two excruciating years for this summer. The Knicks front officeall but promised its fans to just "wait until 2010." Well now it is 2010 and it looks like Knicks fans will be left crying into their remodeled jerseys as they watch LeBron play somewhere.
How does a team sell its fans on its product, especially considering that teams owns the worst winning percentage in the NBA since the 2001 season? Whatever committed Knicks fans kept going to the Garden (and bless you for your efforts) may now be looking for the exits for good.
David Lee was the Knicks center, but really was a forward playing out of position. With Amar'e on the roster does it still make sense putting the 6-foot-9 at the center? This is something that Lee is likely considering and could be a significant factor why the Knicks' best player over the last few seasons could be on his way out the door.
Amar'e Stoudemire decision to leave a team that went to the Western Conference Finals to a team mired in mediocrity had to come with the belief that another star would be joining him.
So far, Amar'e is left standing with a limp kite as he waits for another big name player to help salvage the Knicks off-season. Maybe it is Carmelo Anthony that comes to save the day next season, but how happy can Amar'e be knowing he's going to receive the lion's share of the other team's attention on a flat out bad Knicks team?
The Knicks have been one train wreck after another when it comes to their public perception and just flat out disasters emanating from the front office (Isiah Thomas? Marbury? Blackmail?).
With the front office's promise of LeBron, if they cannot seal the deal the Knicks' perception of being a franchise without a long term plan or ability to build for the future will only be enhanced. The Knicks have taken serious public relations body blows. Can they afford another if they miss out on LeBron?
With all due respect to Mr. Stoudemire, he alone will not put rear ends in the seats. This is New York City, the Big Apple, and sports fans want big stars. It's why the Yankees and Mets go after them. It drove the Rangers to Mark Messier and an old Wayne Gretzky. Without that star power, the Knicks will remain in general obscurity within their own city.
They have their big money guy in Amar'e Stoudemire, but without LeBron James just how improved is this team over the one that went 29-53 a year ago? Not much given the utter turmoil and uncertainty on the roster. Good luck Knicks fans!