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Knicks pitch to LeBron – build your own dynasty. Oh, and take less to do it.

Jun 30, 2010, 10:23 AM EDT

Thumbnail image for Knicks_logo.gifThe Knicks do not have the inside track on LeBron James anymore. They are considered on the outside looking in at the race.

But they have a new strategy — tell LeBron he can build a dynasty in New York. He can be the leader of a team winning titles. He can bring home the bacon and fry it up in the pan.

Oh, there will be a little less bacon, though. Over at Sports Illustrated, Ian Thompson breaks down the Knicks pitch based on his sources.

A league source with understanding of New York’s plans told SI.com that the Knicks will recruit the Cavaliers’ two-time MVP with a grandiose vision of surrounding him with Hawks shooting guard Joe Johnson as well as an elite power forward — Chris Bosh of the Raptors or Amar’e Stoudemire of the Suns — to form a starring trio capable of contending for championships for years to come…

But the recruitment of James, Johnson and a big man is a more inspired and promising idea. By dividing its cap space equally among three elite recruits — another idea floated on behalf of Miami — the Knicks would pay starting base salaries of $11.5 million each to James, Johnson and the power forward. That amounts to a salary cut of $5.3 million per year compared to the max salary each player could receive from another market…

The Knicks will enhance the offer by pointing out the numerous off-court opportunities available to star athletes in the world’s largest media market, enabling the players to ultimately make more money in New York than each could on a max contract in other NBA cities

Except, that’s not really true for James. He is already a national and international brand with one of the highest Q scores in sports. People already know who he is and he is, he already has national marketing deals, he is already on nationally televised games all the time from Cleveland. That is not increasing in New York. As was pointed out at the SLOAN Conference as well as by others.

And right now, in this economy, nobody is making more on endorsements. LeBron has a McDonald’s deal, but it’s less than his last one. Same with his Nike deal. Maybe his inexperienced team of negotiators has something to do with that (and they travel wherever he goes) but it’s really more about the market right now. This is not a good time to be in the endorsement business.

On top of all that, he will build a dynasty (or try to) wherever he lands. But that’s the pitch. It’s really all the Knicks have left. Then it is on to Plan B.

  1. realist - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:38 AM

    I told you sports reporting isn’t your forte before and I’ll say it again. The Knicks can work out a sign and trade for Bosh giving him max deal. Then can sign James and Johnson to max deals. No one has to split anything.

  2. Anthony - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:54 AM

    I think the Knick’s plan makes a lot of sense, especially since “winning” is the most important criteria for Lebron. But, as the previous message states correctly, the Knicks can sign Lebron to a max deal, and then do a sign and trade with the Raptors or Hawks to get Bosh or Johnson. The remaining free agent will be signed to the max outright.
    The Knicks will also have Eddy Curry’s exprining contract to get the quality point guard (either this summer or next season) to complete the “mega” team.
    The Bulls main weakness is clear: Although the have the pieces to have a championship team now, their ownership/mangement team has a record of letting the pieces go and not wanting to pay top dollar. Some of their current players have contracts that will expire in the next few years.

  3. Jdub - Jun 30, 2010 at 10:55 AM

    Why do they need 3 max deals?
    Get James and Bosh than sign the best 3-point shooter out there — Ray Allen. Keep Lee, and you have a pretty nice squad.

  4. Evan - Jun 30, 2010 at 11:05 AM

    Klein,
    You’re discounting the value of NYC. Lebron’s brand definitely has worldwide reach with or without the Knicks. But this isn’t really about the Knicks.
    .
    NYC’s brand is bigger than Lebron’s brand. NYC sells more in a day than Lebron sells in a year. The bottom line is if Lebron is successful with the Knicks, he will make more money than if he is equally successful anywhere else. He knows it. The Knicks know it and all of you Knick/NYC haters know it. Of course, we’re talking about the Knicks here.
    .
    The Knicks carry probably the most risk with the most potential reward for Lebron. Stop discounting the potential reward. If you think Lebron can make as much money playing in Miami or Chicago (assuming he would be equally successful in all) as compared to NYC, you have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about.

  5. cory - Jun 30, 2010 at 11:29 AM

    where does joe johnson come into play lebron is looking for money and while he has the money they will sighn chris bosh and just play him at center keep the allstar david lee and just get a point gaurd like jordan dragic or a gilbert areanus we all no john wall will start wich will leave gilb on the bench make him a deal come one now they dont need a joe johnson to waste there money on it all comes down to the playoffs and he still isnt ready for it

  6. Shock Exchange - Jun 30, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    Dating advice for NBA owners: “Don’t sweat Lebron” http://clicky.me/ot7

  7. mike - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:07 PM

    What if you just offer the best 5 guys (LeBron, Bosh, Dirk, D-Wade, and JJ) about 5 mil, 1 year contracts and then resign them all next year for max deals for the next 5-6 years…
    Talk about the MEGA team….
    with a bench of Douglas, Rauntins, Landry, Jordan,

  8. Jdub - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:11 PM

    That’s tough Mike. Look at your job, if you were making 50k a year, but could go to another company working the same job and make 150k a year, wouldn’t you take the 150k?

  9. mike - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:41 PM

    Jdub –
    I totally agree if it were a normal person. Secondly, teams are allowed to sign their players for more then other teams. So in the end the players would get their max deal, but it would just be a year from now. Lastly, what it in turn does, is give maybe a Dirk or JJ a year of max contract at the end of their career where at this point it will be lower once this contract is over. Imagine Dirk or Joe Johnson 6 years from now is anyone going to give them 15-18 million for one year in 2016? I highly doubt it. In the end it will totally balance. Sometimes people always worry about right now, but rarely think down the line…

  10. mike - Jun 30, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Jdub –
    I totally agree if it were a normal person. Secondly, teams are allowed to sign their players for more then other teams. So in the end the players would get their max deal, but it would just be a year from now. Lastly, what it in turn does, is give maybe a Dirk or JJ a year of max contract at the end of their career where at this point it will be lower once this contract is over. Imagine Dirk or Joe Johnson 6 years from now is anyone going to give them 15-18 million for one year in 2016? I highly doubt it. In the end it will totally balance. Sometimes people always worry about right now, but rarely think down the line…

  11. NY Sucks - Jun 30, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    New York is such a craphole. No wonder why they have to overpay for people to go there.

  12. JDMann - Jun 30, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    LeBatard is reporting Bosh to the Heat is a done deal. And the Heat cleared enough cap space in the process to make a play for #23. Enjoy your maxed out Joe Johnson, New York.

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