The plan was simple: Free up cap space for the greatest free agent class of all time and then sign Dwyane Wade, LeBron James, and maybe even Chris Bosh. These acquisitions would be so good that the Knicks would be an instant contender. So what went wrong?
The first thing to note is that it's difficult to work out a sign and trade with three teams. Hard to do, but the Knicks had David Lee whose sign and trade could probably offset one of the three sign and trades. Also, when getting these three players the Knicks cannot care about future draft picks they give up in exchange.
New York provides the opportunity for a lot of appetizing endorsement deals for superstars like LeBron. Think of all the companies that would offer deals just because New York is such a large market and their brands would get so much exposure.
The problem with this theory is that LeBron gets all that exposure anyways so it wouldn't make a difference where he plays. Although it could help Chris Bosh, nobody would give him advertising contracts when they can have LeBron.
The next issue is depth on the bench. The players would only get together if they thought they can win a championship. After all, what's the point if they cannot win?
Also, if they ever win they would get more money from advertisers not to mention they can promote themselves as champions which is something big, because these days all people want (and for good reason) is winners to advertise their products.
LeBron wanted to be a billionaire but he knows that his window of opportunity to win and be hailed as one of the greatest of all time is going to be shut quicker than the door in The Godfather .
He needs to win a lot so he can leverage his brand, maybe even make it better than Michael Jordan and hope it gets him to billionaire status. He will have plenty of opportunities with the Heat but in New York there could be problems.
The final issue is the fans. New York has some great fans but with a city like that they may turn on him if he makes the slightest mistake because they expect perfection from their King. So LeBron might think (though he'd never admit it) that he has a better chance to do well in Miami.
In hindsight the clearing of cap space was not that well thought out. They should have gone after someone early like Carlos Boozer.
But, hey, at least they got Amar'e Stoudemire.