NBA Free Agency: Convincing the King - Knicks Are a Darkhorse for LeBron James

Daniel DinunzioAnalyst IJuly 5, 2010

CLEVELAND - MAY 11: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers looks on while playing the Boston Celtics in Game Five of the Eastern Conference Semifinals during the 2010 NBA Playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena on May 11, 2010 in Cleveland, Ohio. Boston won the game 120-88 to take a 3-2 series lead. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The teams have come and gone when it comes to arguing for why Lebron James should wear their jersey. But which team has the best case of landing LeBron?

I believe it will come down to three teams: the Knicks, the Bulls, and the Cavaliers.  Each have a lot of positives to why he should play for them. The most recent chatter has James strongly contemplating the Knicks because of the possibility of playing with Amare Stoudemire and in the future, possibly Carmelo Anthony.

Remember, it is also New York, the mecca of sports cities. The possibility of winning an NBA title with a franchise that hasn't won since 1973 has to be appealing. Many people argue that the Knicks will not contend for a title with it's current roster even if LeBron comes aboard.

Imagine a team in New York in 2011 consisting of James, Stoudemire, and Anthony.

The Knicks must be weighing heavily on Lebron's mind. Donnie Walsh and company have been preparing for this offseason for well over the last two seasons. They basically have sacrificed two seasons in order to put themselves in this position.

Right now, I like where they stand, because their intangibles and benefits potentially outweigh any of the other franchises. From a money standpoint, LeBron James could become a billionaire with endorsement deals and contracts living the New York City lifestyle.

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Mike D'Antoni is a great coach who runs the type of offense that James would thrive in. He would also have the opportunity to play at home in Madison Square Garden, one of the most famous sports arenas in America.

Remember that LeBron is a student of the game. Growing up, he watched Iverson, Jordan, Malone, Pippen, and Kobe. He knows what pressure he would face if he left Cleveland for New York. The expectations would be through the roof.

LeBron James is that good, and his superstar skill set is what would be able to help carry him and his team to the next level.

As we have seen in Cleveland, it is nearly impossible for one player to win a championship. Basketball will always be a team sport no matter how you look at it.

The most likely scenario, in which I see the Knicks pulling off what many call impossible, revolves around Wade and Bosh.

Wade needs to leave Miami for Chicago. In all honesty, I don't think we will see Wade and LeBron as teammates. Both have too much talent and need to have the ball in their hands when it comes to crunch time.

The Clippers never had a chance to begin with. Miami Heat will be in such dismay if Wade leaves that there is no reason for LeBron to go to South Beach. As far as the Nets are concerned, I don't think he would choose them over the Knicks in that market.

And no offense to Jay Z and the Nets, but LeBron James doesn't want to move to Newark, even if the move to Brooklyn is two years away. It's not the ideal situation.

That leaves it down to the hometown Cavaliers and the Knickerbockers. Fame and fortune is waiting in the wings of wherever he chooses, but in New York the sky is the limit. In the end, it is going to take a lot for LeBron to leave his hometown.

From the beginning I never thought it would happen but now I'm leaving the door slightly open. James is a hometown kid and promised to win a championship in Cleveland. Cleveland hasn't won a sports title since the Browns did in 1964.

The damage and consequence of James deciding to sign on with New York would be about as harmful as it gets for Cleveland. Almost as bad as Art Modell packing up and moving the Browns to Baltimore.

That's what is at stake for Cavaliers fans in the state of Ohio.

The Knicks are a true darkhorse in these sweepstakes. There is still an enormous amount of time for decisions to waver one way or another.

In the end, LeBron is going to do what is best for LeBron. Wherever he has the best chance to win an NBA title. In this league it is all about how many rings you have.

LeBron James is still searching for one.