The Knicks have a long term plan and the two word description for that plan is LeBron James. As the day is coming to a close here in New York, the Knicks are shifting their minds towards 2010.
The Knicks made two big transactions today that, from a basketball standpoint make no sense, but will help the Knicks erase more than $27 million by 2010. At that time, some of the best players in the league will take their game to the free agent market. The list includes LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade, and possibly Amare Stoudamire.
The first of the Knicks' moves was trading guard Jamal Crawford to Golden State in exchange for Al Harrington, a solid forward. The Knicks made a second move by trading Zach Randolph and Mardy Collins to the Clippers for Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas, who is a former Knick.
The Crawford move makes some sense from a basketball standpoint because he does not fit D'Antoni's system well and Harrington is the rebounder that the Knicks have lacked. The Randolph move makes very little sense from a basketball aspect because he has improved greatly this season and the players the Knicks got back are average at best.
While these moves do not make sense from a basketball aspect, the Knicks are aiming towards a different cause, the free agent market of 2010. What the Knicks did today by freeing up so much cap space will enable them to possibly sign two of the big free agents. With the type of money the Knicks will have by the 2010 offseason, they will be able to pair up LeBron James with one of the other free agents such as Wade or Bosh.
The Knicks moves today will not get them far in the next two seasons, but could make them the best team in the league after the 2010 offseason. If the Knicks are able to attract LeBron James and possibly one other big free agent, they could become the favorites in the NBA.
The other contenders for James include the Pistons, who will free up some cap space themselves by trading for Allen Iverson, and the Nets. Unfortunately for the Nets, the new arena in Brooklyn does not look like it will be ready for the 2010 season and therefore they will have to stay in New Jersey for an extended period of time. While LeBron James has a good relationship with part owner of the Nets, Jay-Z, New Jersey is not an attractive place and that could eliminate the Nets from the sweepstakes.
Donnie Walsh made two great moves today that showed his determination for change. The team Isiah Thomas built in New York was a total failure and the cap space problem became too costly for the Knicks. Walsh started his campaign here in New York by replacing Stephon Marbury with a good leader in Chris Duhon. Walsh has now shifted his attention to the upcoming free agents and especially James. Walsh and the Knicks organization are determined to change the face of this team and are aiming towards LeBron James as the solution.