Well, the Knicks just got a whole lot worse. Then again, they also got a lot less expensive. Remind you of another New York-area team?
The Knicks have dealt away Jamaal Crawford and Zach Randolph, acquiring Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley, and Tim Thomas in their stead. This will clear up cap space for 2010, when you-know-who becomes a free agent.
I don't think the Knicks are suddenly more likely to land LeBron than the Nets. See, the Nets are dead-set on LeBron, and it has a lot to do with their owner, Jay-Z. LeBron wants to be in New York, which helps both teams' causes, but the Nets have that special bonus factor.
There are other elite free agents that offseason, including Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade. With such pieces available, both the Knicks and Nets could bring in some serious talent. But while the Knicks are clearing space, they could sign any of those players and walk away happy. The Nets could sign any of them as well, but due to their ownership situation, they're clearly targeting LeBron way ahead of the other two.
Can the Knicks land LeBron? For sure.
They are New York's premier team, and if the Nets wind up screwed out of Brooklyn, he'd be better suited in the Garden. But the Nets are gunning for this guy specifically, while the Knicks just want one of the three big names. The Nets will put out more for him, and they have that ownership bonus. I think both teams will improve that year, and both will wind up with one of the three, but I think New Jersey/Brooklyn will still wind up with King James.
Incidentally, I thought I'd point out that Thomas is back with the Knicks for the second time. The last time he was here, he got into a fight with then-Net Kenyon Martin, calling him "Fugazy." Thomas and the Knicks went on to get trizzounced by the Nets in their playoff matchup, and the poor lad had a lot of egg on his face. Welcome back to New York, Timmy. Don't think we've forgotten.