LeBron James Never Wanted to Play for Knicks as Free Agent, Says James Dolan

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2019

Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James, right, reacts next to New York Knicks' Kristaps Porzingis, left, during the second half of a NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Andres Kudacki)
Andres Kudacki/Associated Press

The New York Knicks failed in their attempt to bring LeBron James on board following a 2010 meeting, but owner James Dolan said the King "never" wanted to play in the Big Apple.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reported the news, noting Dolan said the then-Cleveland Cavalier "was not engaged" during the meeting. Despite the failure to land the all-time great, Dolan expressed confidence in the Knicks' ability to sign free agents during the upcoming offseason.

James in turn signed with the Miami Heat and won two NBA championships in four attempts before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014. LeBron won another championship in 2016 with the team that drafted him out of high school in Ohio.

By contrast, the Knicks have won one playoff series since the 1999-2000 campaign and have the NBA's worst record this season at 13-54.

That abysmal record at least provides New York with some hope for the future, as Tankathon gives it a 52.1 percent chance at a top-four selection and 14 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 draft.

It isn't difficult for Knicks fans to envision a future with hypothetical No. 1 pick Zion Williamson playing alongside free-agent signings such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. After all, Williamson himself even said it would be "dope" to play with those playmakers:

Adam Zagoria @AdamZagoria

‘It would be dope to play with KD and Kyrie but whatever team drafts me I’m going to be ready to play hard and work’ @Zion told me @SNYtv

Those fans were surely dreaming of a similar scenario in 2010, though, when players like James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were free agents. That didn't work out for the Knicks, and Dolan placed the blame on James' lack of interest instead of his organization with his most recent comments.