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Do the Knicks have momentum?

Jul 4, 2010, 8:11 PM EDT

Please bear in mind that at least among what I consider to be the very intelligent NBA writers and “people” I speak to on a consistent basis, the Knicks should not be here. They were in such a hole, it took Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni two years just to clear the rest of the garbage out. To do so they leveraged their future, and are starting the franchise over from scratch, only without the benefit that an expansion team has of draft picks (again, traded just to get themselves out of the garbage infested hole).

Then free agency opened, and I’m not going to kid you here, they got their tails kicked. The reports were at best “lukewarm” and at worst “indifferent” on the part of their target, LeBron James. Then came word that they were in serious talks with Amar’e Stoudemire, and that Dwyane Wade was “intrigued.” Then yesterday Amar’e was escalated to starting talks.

Then late Sunday, just as you were cracking open that Bud Light and trying to figure out which end to light the Roman Candle, reports came out that James’ representatives met with Knicks executives Saturday night. This a day after Stoudemire’s little talk outside the theater. The signal is clear.

The Knicks mean business.

As our man Rob Mahoney told you when we brought you news of the second Knicks meeting, the Knicks are still facing a huge sell-job to get even one, much less two max free agents. But the fact is they’ve already planted themselves in this race. Outside of the market, they had very little going for them. Now, it’s hard to find any way to put their odds for getting James or Wade behind Miami, the Clippers, or the Nets. While the Cavs and Bulls remain firmly in the front of the pack, the Knicks are making their move. And as we head into Monday, the earliest conceivable day James could reach a decision, the Knicks have something else on their side.


Whoever winds up landing LeBron or Wade is likely going to do so in a wave, capitalizing on a series of meetings while leaving the competition in the dust.  The Knicks have managed to get in early, land a second max free agent, then get a second meeting late.

It’s a very long way from a commitment, but it would appear the Knicks have gotten traction. They’re not out of the hole, but they can see daylight. And if they continue to pour on the pressure, the Knicks may actually pull this thing off and lead all us doubters with our jaws wide open.

Money and market go a long way. Don’t believe me? Ask yourself why Maverick Carter is meeting with Knicks people on the eve of the Fourth of July when nothing was scheduled. It’s not the first second meeting the max guys have had, but it’s certainly one that’s caused the NBA world to pick up their ears like a German Shepherd.

  1. KnicksTweets - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:03 PM

    Not sure how much momentum plays in this thing. What is certain, is the fact that mainstream media outlets, in particular ESPN (Exaggerated Spin Preferred to News) dogged the Knicks from the beginning. Watch the story change now…as the underdog Knicks build ‘momentum.’

  2. Chrixs - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:21 PM

    I’m not sure if this is momentum so much as it is a brilliant move by Donnie Walsh. By going after Amare’e, and Amare’e being receptive, he forced Lebron’s (or Dwade’s) hand.
    If Dwade or Lebron end up in Chi town with Bosh, then the other, to compete in the East, is going to have to join a team with one of the other max free agents. I love Joe Johnson, but this was always about teaming up Dwade and LBJ with one of the premiere power forwards. I think Boozer is behind Amare’e and Bosh in this respect.
    It is obviously not a done deal that the Knicks will get LBJ or Wade, but Donnie put the Knicks in a great position. They have one max free agent ready to sign, and even if they don’t get Wade or LBJ to join, they still have sufficient cap space to go after Carmello (so as to team up with Amare’e).
    This could have gone down (and still can) differently if Amare’e doesn’t go to NY. Brilliant move by Donnie. Brilliant. And the best part is that the Dolan’s are willing to go over the cap to make a winning team. The Knicks should be looking good in the upcoming years.

  3. Zack - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:24 PM

    The only thing that bugs me is that when MSM/people say, if the Knicks don’t get LeBron then it’s a failure. Sorry, but if they sign Amar’e and 2 more good player then they are a playoff team- and is SUCCESS.
    They have not been a playoff team in years, and if they kept the bad players on bad contracts, they’d still wouldn’t be a playoff team. Sure trading picks away hurts, but it was necessary- it gave them a shot at the best FA class ever. Adding Amar’e plus another contract plus a guy on the MLE is a SUCCESS.
    Rome wasn’t built in a day. (Yes the Celtics did it, they also had Al Jefferson and a high (#3?) pick to make the moves. Something the Knicks lack.)

  4. James - Jul 5, 2010 at 12:59 AM

    I saw the Interbrand numbers. What a pile of crap!!! Would like to see their methodology and assumption. Are they assuming there is no Internet, no cell phones??? LeBron doesn’t need to be a Knick to make his $1 Billion, he needs to win championships!!! He wants a clothing / fragrance line? All he has to do is walk into Goldman Sachs with a suitcase of money, they’re smart, they’re connected, they’ll set him up. 2 months later, I’ll be spritzing Scent of LBJ cologne and wearing my Haus of LBJ tux!!!

  5. Kel - Jul 5, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    I don’t know why people are so eager to cut the Knicks out of the equation. New Jersey sucked way worse than New York. Chicago? LeBron will not want the pressure living up to MJ on him. Miami? He won’t want to share the spotlight with Wade. Bosh is already probably going to end up there. New Jersey? I don’t care about Jay-Z and the Russian, it’s still New Jersey. Almost historically the worst team in the NBA. LA is Kobe’s town. You really think he will go to the Clippers? Cleveland was supposed to win now. They didn’t. LeBron got everyone he asked for, Shaq, Jamison… They still lost. Failed to reach the ECF this year. Got blown away by Boston. That won’t change if he stays in Cleveland. If not Boston, then Orlando or Miami. Even if they got past all of them, they’d still have to beat the Lakers, or even the Thunder. Cleveland is just not destined to win, plus, it’s Cleveland. Come on. If he stays, why would he expect anything to change? Seven years, no rings. If he stays for 4 or 5 years, it won’t change.

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