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LeBron's representatives met with the Knicks again, this time with Amar'e Stoudemire in mind

Jul 4, 2010, 8:16 PM EDT

It may mean nothing at all or it could mean everything, but the Knicks have received a second audience with LeBron James. Or at least LeBron’s people. From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

According to a Knicks official, Garden president Scott O’Neil and
senior VP of Basketball Operations Glen Grunwald were dispatched to
James’ hometown and held a brief clandestine meeting with James’ reps
to make a second pitch to the two-time MVP. It is unclear if James was in the meeting but it is believed that
his business manager, Maverick Carter, and agent, Leon Rose, met with
the two Knicks executives on the same day that James spoke to both the
Cavs and Bulls.

The timing of the meeting is interesting since it came one day after
the Knicks received a verbal commitment from All Star power forward
Amar’e Stoudemire. The Knicks wanted to relay to James that the
organization is committed to doing everything in its power to surround
him with talent.

There’s no question that Amar’e immediately makes the Knicks a more attractive landing spot for LeBron, and I’m not entirely skeptical of Stoudemire’s commitment being a motivating factor for this second sit-down. However, even Amar’e’s talent isn’t enough to skew the odds of landing James considerably in the Knicks’ favor.

After all, the Knicks are, last I checked, still the Knicks. They don’t have the one-man brochure known as Derrick Rose, one of LeBron’s buddies among the owners, the hometown allure, or Dream Team potential. They just have bright lights, Madison Square Garden, and Toney Douglas. Adding Stoudemire is huge, but is this really the team that will inspire James to leave behind his home and his franchise, much less spurn a number of attractive suitors? Maybe, but the Knicks still have a hell of a selling job to do.

Thursday will supposedly be decision day, and there could be all kinds of fun meetings between now and then. Still, New York clearly has something to work with, even if they’re just whispering into the ears of LeBron’s reps at present.

  1. Keith - Jul 4, 2010 at 8:45 PM

    First, I find it amusing how most of the MSM is downplaying the New York factor. “They just have bright lights, Madison Square Garden…” Yup, they “just” have the greatest city in the world and the World’s Most Famous arena and a rabid fanbase.
    Second, let’s look at the facts: 1) They’re the only team that can sign 2 max players RIGHT NOW; 2) Gallinari is immediately becomes the best 3 pt. shooter LeBron has ever played with. Who the heck is knocking down 3’s on the Bulls?; 3) Scoff all you want at Douglas, but he is a better fit at PG for James’ game than Rose. Rose duplicates James’ skills. Douglas plays solid D, doesn’t need the ball, and can knock down an open 3. Remember, Kobe and Jordan played with PG’s with a similar skillset and won; and 4) The Knicks will actually have a lot of roster flexibility going forward w/ Curry’s contract coming off the books and Dolan’s willingness to pay the luxury tax. Everyone is focusing so much on 2010, but they’re not thinking about what each team has to offer for the duration of James’ contract. Imo, the Knicks can offer just as good a basketball situation as anyone for the long term. (granted, I am a Knicks fan, but still…)
    Finally, should LeBron leave Cleveland and assuming Wade stays in Miami, is there any team that you can definitively say will rule the East, ala the Lakers out West? Orlando would certainly be the favorites, but there seems to be a lot of turmoil with that club after Howard has shown he is less than impressed with Jameer Nelson. The Celtics are another year older and the Hawks had an epic collapse. The Cavs won 60 games with James supported by Mo Williams (overrated), Delonte West (ditto), Varejeao (no offense), Z (statue), Shaq’s corpse, and Antawn Jamison (very good player, but no Ama’re.) You don’t mean to tell me that a lineup of Amar’e, Gallo, Bron, Chandler, and Douglas with Bill Walker and whoever else they sign to fill out the roster would be a 4 or 5 seed at a minimum? And if the team gels they could send that Curry expiring for more firepower.
    Anyway, my ultimate point is that the mainstream media is severely underestimating New York and what this town is capable of. The Knicks are sending closers to this meeting. Further, guys like Gallo, Douglas, Walker, and Chandler are better than most people realize and would likely get a nice bump playing with superstars like LeBron and Amar’e.

  2. TexasMike - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:29 PM

    This is a quote from the same story that you forgot to add,”The sense the Knicks get is that James will likely re-sign with the Cavs. In fact, as recently as Thursday, one Knicks source said it was “very doubtful” that James would sign with New York.”

  3. Jimbo - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:30 PM

    Just look at Chicago…Derrick Rose – All Star age 21, Joakim Noah – 15 rebounds, 15 points a game…2 All stars before the free agents, Enough cap space now for 2 superstar free agents – trade Luol Deng and they can put 5 all stars on the floor…NOW!!

  4. twillis - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:35 PM

    Good post Keith. I’m not a Knicks fan. I live in Atlanta but can’t really support the Hawks because of the lack of effort by the over-rated players. ESPECIALLY Joe ( down syndrome ) Johnson. Joe has absolutely no passion for the game or a competitive nature at all a.k.a. Garnette, Jordan, Kobe, Lebron or Wade etc. But now he is making a much as some of those guys! But I digress, King James would benefit most in a Knicks uniform. If I had talent, I would want to play on the biggest stage, for maximum exposure. Plus I dispise the favorable calls Kobe ( girlie-man ) Bryant gets, in crunch time. It’s my belief that he gets those calls because the Lakers currently generate the best ratings/ profit because they are currently the biggest market. That would change over-nite if LBJ signs with the Knicks. Then we will have a true opportunity to see which big market team is the best.

  5. Adub - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:42 PM

    A) The Knicks are not the only team who can grab 2 max-contracts now. There’s a few teams that can make that claim.
    B) The Knicks are horrible and trying to trade away one of their only good pieces.
    C) I prefer London to New York. New York is a bit tacky.
    D) Chicago would allow James as much advertising space as New York. Plus, they’re more likely to be a championship for years to come.

  6. edgy - Jul 4, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    You can try to make chicken salad out of chicken crap but the fact is that New York vs Cleveland and Chicago is about the stupidest argument around. It’s a cash grab for James because he walks into a better team in Chicago and if he stays in Cleveland, all they really need to do is find a replacement for Shaq and even with him, they’re still better than the Knicks. You’ve got a guy leaning toward a team that won 61, 41 and 29 and I don’t see 32 extra wins with the “talent” that’s on the Knicks vs the Csvs (eve if they add in a 2nd max player), especially when you consider that the Cavs put it on cruise control down the stretch because they clinched just about everything with about 2 weeks to go. Oh and with 3 guys who shot better than Gallinari, just how do you get that he’s a better 3-point shooter – hyperbole or fact?

  7. twillis - Jul 4, 2010 at 10:15 PM

    Unless LBJ scores 60 pts a game, Cleveland will only get to the 2nd round, at-best ! Mo Williams is HOT GARBAGE…he is so unreliable in the clutch and is an average 6th man at best! Plus he is a liability on defense. He is their best 2nd option. Jamison was exposed in the playoffs and is not a clutch player. He is too soft and too small to defend.
    Chicago is a bad option for a super-star like LBJ. Why would anyone of his calibre play in Jordans shadow! From day one, he will be under pressure to produce championships. And unless he wins 7 championships ( 1 more than Jordan ) he will be a failure, in the Chicago fans eyes.
    LBJ will be a potential Billionaire on endorsements alone, if he goes to NY. He can use his salary NY pays him as pocket change. So that takes care of the money issue. Players/ free agents from around the league will sign up to play for NY, once LBJ signs. Amare has already given a verbal.
    NY or BUST !

  8. Kells - Jul 4, 2010 at 10:38 PM

    I wonder what Delonte West has to think about mama-James leaving town? Are the knicks committed to covering for her bizare behaviour? She makes mama-Iverson look like a rhodes scohlar (she was a crack head btw) Does Bron want to open himself up to a town that has more than 2 beat reporters like cleveland?

  9. jerry - Jul 4, 2010 at 10:49 PM

    Yeh Lebron will be a billionaire in New York then he has to pay NY taxes. All the sudden he is not a billionaire anymore. This is such a silly arguement. In this day and age Lebron can make money anywhere. Who gives a crap about the Knicks anyway. They have not won a championship in almost 40 years.

  10. Mike - Jul 4, 2010 at 11:41 PM

    Folks.
    Do the math. Joe Johnsons off the table now.
    Wade can make hay in Chicago with Rose and Noah and (Taj, Deng rest of supporting cast), and he knows he can’t win it in Miami unless they add some major pieces,and his sons are in Chicago, and the guy actually looks beyond just money and the ring. So unless Miami gets Bosh or Lebron or both, ain’t no way he stays in Miami.Wades also FROM Chicago. Hometown. There is no way he goes to NY, so if he makes first move and says I’m in with Chicago on Tuesday, then Lebron’s hand is basically forced, and Chicago is in cat bird seat to land either Lebron or Bosh. So if Lebron stays in Cleveland, then they will be facing the likes of the Bulls with Dwade, Rose, Noah, and, Bosh a pretty fearsome force to be dealt with for any team. (lakers and celts included.) Their defense will be crushing.
    No way he wins a championship in Cleveland anytime soon,with the pieces and no coach they have there, and the massive max cap deal they’d have to give him. Theyd have nothing left to build around.
    Lebron and Rose are buds, Lebron likes Chicago far more than NY. If he’s in it ONLY for the money(which I doubt), he goes to NY. If he’s in it for the titles, no way he stays in Cleveland. That leaves Chicago. Nets are out of it. Period.
    Chicago is going to close D’wade before others make decision. You may hate Reinsdorf, but the guy knows how to put championship teams together, and definitely knows how to lure the talent when its out there to be had, and can horse trade with the best of ‘em.
    Bosh requires a sign and trade deal, and Chicago is only team with tradable talent other teams really would want. (Deng, Gibson, others)
    The math says: Chicago gets either Dwade first, and/or Lebron, and/or Bosh, and/or Boozer. If Lebron is letting others make the first move, he’s being far too cute, and may end up with only money. that says a lot about Lebron. All ego. no brain, or strategic savvy, only listening to his agent/money/fame, and therefore will NEVER WIN Any titles.
    Just sayin’…

  11. bulls fan - Jul 4, 2010 at 11:53 PM

    Sorry twillis, but not true. LBJ would start his own legacy here.

  12. terry - Jul 5, 2010 at 12:15 AM

    You don’t win with 5 all-stars – you win with 5 guys who play together and compliment each other. Remember Philly back in the late 70s? And the Celtics didn’t win 11 titles in 13 years with all-stars – they won because they were a TEAM.
    Between 1991 and 1998 the Bulls won 6 titles. In those 8 years they had an 83% personnel turnover – 10 out of 12. Given that it doesn’t hurt if your remaining 17% are named Jordan and Pippen but that is still an impressive accomplishment. The Bulls should sign Wade and wait for the phone to ring. Neither Bosh nor James is the closer – the guy who DEMANDS the ball in crunch time. Wade IS the closer.

  13. Hah - Jul 5, 2010 at 12:45 AM

    Keith, ha ha, NY is NOT the world’s greatest city, it ranks 49 in Mercer Ranking’s and is only the 6th US city in the list. LeBron is staying in Clevland.

  14. Ryan - Jul 5, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Lebron leaving Cleveland is like Farve going to Vikings it’s a decision that will need to be thought through carefully because doing so will make James a villain in his own city which I doubt he wants I say Cleveland is going to get a couple free agents and go ham! Lebron Stays or goes to Chi-town. 60/40

  15. Ryan - Jul 5, 2010 at 1:04 AM

    Lebron leaving Cleveland is like Farve going to Vikings it’s a decision that will need to be thought through carefully because doing so will make James a villain in his own city which I doubt he wants I say Cleveland is going to get a couple free agents and go ham! Lebron Stays or goes to Chi-town. 60/40

  16. elbon55 - Jul 5, 2010 at 1:20 AM

    I agree with twillis, a few years ago when the Yankees were playing the Indians in the ALCS, Lebron wore a Yankees cap to a Cleve. home playoff game. He wants to be a world icon, something that can’t happen in Cleve. He’s going to the Knicks where the media center of the universe is.

  17. edgy - Jul 5, 2010 at 1:53 AM

    The best combo for the Bulls is Wade and Bosh and forget the sign-and-trade because it only guts the team.
    As for the rest – baloney. Do you think that Kobe and Shaq were intimated by Magic and Kareem’s shadow? Did Larry Bird back off from the Celtics because he didn’t want to live in the shadow of the Celtic legends that played before him? How about Garnett and Allen? If you’re going to be the best and you can’t handle the pressure then you’re NEVER going to be the best.
    Oh and you can make as much in Chicago as you can in New York. Jordan was the highest paid player in the NBA AND he made the most money in endorsements – BY FAR – and no one, not even the guys in New York, ever came close to what he was making. Also, unless the Knicks can threaten to take away his endorsements if he stays in Cleveland, LeBron can still make some pretty good scratch in Cleveland, as he does right now.
    I expect that he will go to New York but he’s leaving a hell of a situation in Cleveland in what would be clearly a money grab as the team has NOTHING that’s as good as what he’s got in Cleveland and it’s going to take two or more years to get to the same level of talent.

  18. Tony - Jul 5, 2010 at 3:58 AM

    Gentlemen, please give me a break! What we are speaking of is a kid’s game ! Sports has become a “God”, why in the world do we as a society just throw large sums of money to a 6ft 8inch guy who can put the ball in the hoop, Never stayed 4 years or even attended college. We require our teachers to have advance degreess, yet there paid is often times less or equal to that of the man whom collects your weekly trash !!! Very big fan of M.J. but did not enjoy having to pay soo much for a pair of Air-Force Ones, Nike did not pay M.J. , consumers did ! Who is willing to pay for a front court seat, perhaps “Jack” can but not me.

  19. banner18 - Jul 5, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    Gallinari is better than Mo Williams? Did I miss something?
    I don’t think there is a single person outside of New York who thinks LeBron is going there. Give it up already. You’re not getting LeBron James. He’s staying in Cleveland. End of story.

  20. Chris - Jul 5, 2010 at 10:07 AM

    He will go to New York… Brooklyn.
    Chicago is selling MJ. Great, maybe you can try to live up to his legacy.
    Miami is selling Wayde’s team, good owner, great coach, but Wayde’s team.
    Knicks are selling New York City (which is not the 49 greatest city in the world – NYC is iconic – like London, Paris etc.)Great city, terrible owner.
    Brooklyn is selling New York and beyond, plus (which I have not heard anyone say yet) he could take a team with 12 wins to a whole new level, Brooklyn would his team (the house LeBron built). Good coach, great/intriguing owners
    The other option is Cleveland, they are selling home, that can be tempting – really tempting but BORING. Hmmm Cleveland or the World….

  21. Ray - Jul 5, 2010 at 4:59 PM

    @ Jimbo
    The Bulls can not sign two max players now, they would need to make a trade to get enough cap space for two. No team wants Deng’s huge contract. Any trade for cap space would have to include Noah.
    The Heat they gutted their team for this cap space, they have no assets that interest anybody. Other then Wade, Lebron, and Bosh taking a cut in salary. Don’t see that happening when he can get a sign and trade with Toronto with another team. Oh and guess who Toronto loves … yep David Lee of the Knicks. Hmmmm
    The Knicks funny how things work out, but are the only team who can sign two max players now that also have assets. Yep isn’t that a kicker!! Plus also have that lovely expiring contract of Eddie Curry .. yep the twinkie eating center of the Knicks is another huge asset.
    All that Cleveland could muster was 100 to 150 fans to greet Lebron in Cleveland on Saturday at the request of management. They say maybe 50 showed up for Wade this morning at airport. How many do you think would show up for them at New York if the Knicks asked …. Hmmmmm

  22. KD - Jul 5, 2010 at 10:12 PM

    you’re a biased jerk.
    mentioning tony douglas before mentioning danilo gallinari, wilson chandler or even eddy curry.

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