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Report: LeBron ‘will look at’ Knicks in free agency now that Phil Jackson is in place

Mar 15, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

lebron carmelo Getty Images

There’s a long list of things that Phil Jackson must do in order to return the New York Knicks to a respectable level of basketball relevance.

Bringing in elite talent — quickly, or even immediately — has to be at the top of the list.

The culture must change, of course, and adding a head coach that can instill a long-term vision of what that will look like will certainly be an important component.

But winning championships doesn’t happen without one or more of the game’s best players in place, and that’s believed to be the area Jackson can impact the most.

From Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

Heat executives, according to a source, are not convinced that James will stay, though in their heart of hearts they believe he will re-sign. But Jackson’s arrival changes things.

“There’s no way LeBron would have gone to New York under the current climate,” said a James confidant. “He had a falling-out with CAA (agency) and that was a problem as well. But with Phil there I think he will look at it.” …

“Phil can help the Knicks because he gives them a face and credibility,” says a current GM. “But these big free agents are only going to a place where they feel they can win. Phil has to build something first.”

That last part is key.

When LeBron James and Chris Bosh both decided to team up with Dwyane Wade in Miami in the summer of 2010, Pat Riley had already created a winning culture. He personally stepped in to coach the Heat to a title in 2006 with Dwyane Wade as the team’s best player, and with Wade still there and Riley now running things from the front office, there was a continuity that was appealing from a standpoint of stability.

Having some fairly recent championship credibility is what Jackson brings to New York before even stepping through the door. It’s unlikely LeBron leaves Miami at all, let alone for a team as dysfunctional as the Knicks have proven to be over the last several seasons. But other All-Stars will hit the free agent market, and Jackson will be expected to land one or more of them with the gravitas he brings to his new position.

  1. program33 - Mar 15, 2014 at 6:55 PM

    If Phil gets the right coach. Everything else will fall into place. I believe that Lebron would go to NY. Carmelo would definitely stay. Unlike Kobe, Lebron attracts free agents that are willing to play for less. Getting the right coach is key.

    • patrickla818 - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:09 PM

      Thinking it will be his protege in LA, Brian Shaw.

      • mackcarrington - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:54 PM

        Isn’t Shaw in his first year? He may have to buy himself out if that’s the case.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:22 PM

      How is LeBron supposed to get to New York, exactly? Oh, he’s going to play out the year instead of securing another five years for himself? That’s cute.

    • mikerome64 - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:09 AM

      You mean like he did in Cleveland?

  2. tmdill18 - Mar 15, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    Lebron doesn’t want to play with Carmelo. Carmelo wants to dominate the ball. And he doesn’t read the court. Lebron wants guys who move, cut, screen and play together. That’s not Melo.

    • patrickla818 - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM

      Lots of good PG’s would go to NY. Kyrie Irving is one I can think of.

      It will all fall into place.

    • lawrinson20 - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:42 AM

      Sure. If you can lead the league in scoring without ‘reading the court,’ then perhaps your arbitrarily-defined non-fact has even less validity. And this, despite playing on a team that doesn’t have another player that could start for the Heat.

      Carmelo won a college championship. He’s been to the playoffs every year of his nba career. He starred on a lebron Olympic team. And they are friends. Right. Couldn’t work.

      • fanofthegame79 - Mar 16, 2014 at 10:37 AM

        I think it could work, in my opinion. And I think the Olympic team is exactly where you would look for proof. Melo would become a stretch 4 if he played on a team with LeBron – he would sit on the 3-point line and launch shots(a la the Olympics). They would need to find a center (Chandler would work perfectly) and maybe some other pieces could fall into place (Irving). I probably just destroyed the salary cap with just those 4 guys, but this is just hypothetical (and in agreement to your comment that LeBron and Melo could play with each other).

    • antistratfordian - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:54 AM

      No no no… remember all the talk in 2010 about how LeBron and Wade wouldn’t mesh? How they both need the ball, etc etc etc?

      LeBron and Melo would play really well together – probably better than LeBron and Wade – because Melo can catch and shoot. LeBron can kick it out to him all day.

      On the Heat, when LeBron kicks it out to an open Wade, normally he doesn’t even take the open shot – Wade puts the ball back on the floor.

  3. jzone954 - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:07 PM

    Pffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffff

  4. jimatmad - Mar 15, 2014 at 9:15 PM

    LeFlop is a major reason I almost never watch the NBA any more.

    • whitehothoops89 - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:29 AM

      Jimatmad,

      Although you don’t watch the NBA you comment on a probasketball blog? Even if you hate Lebron its no reason to stop watching, too much talent in the league today.

    • m4a188 - Mar 16, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      You are stupid, there may plenty of reasons why not to watch the NBA but Lebron is not one of them.

  5. patrickla818 - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    Phil will do what Riley couldn’t do in NY! And he is stealing Pat’s best player to do it! You know Lebron will stay on the softer East Coast!

    • miamatt - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:19 PM

      Isn’t Phil going to be running the team via Skype?

      Riley still goes out to scout college games, and he is a presence at every Heat practice. It remains to be seen whether Phil Jackson wants to work like that on the day to day stuff.

      Nice try, though.

  6. campcouch - Mar 15, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    If LeBron bails on another team because it’s not favorable for him,he is officially a mercenary.

    • gofinsgoheatfloria - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:35 PM

      If LeBron thinks the Knicks would be more favorable for him than the Heat, he is officially nuts.

    • antistratfordian - Mar 18, 2014 at 4:47 AM

      LeBron should do the opposite of what his detractors want him to do. If they want him to stay in Miami (because the team is getting older and hopefully he will stop contending) then he probably shouldn’t.

  7. csiegert4 - Mar 16, 2014 at 12:35 AM

    And this is officially called “wishful thinking”.

  8. chicagosports2014 - Mar 16, 2014 at 9:23 AM

    Its cold lebron, remember you don’t like it. Just keep your mouth shut, still haven’t learned!

  9. miamatt - Mar 16, 2014 at 3:21 PM

    Report: this is just a report.

  10. fbwangus8736 - Mar 16, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    Just with Cap reasons, 91 million next year! Even if Melo opps out it Knicks are still above the threshold for a sign and trade. They may have room the following year but they won’t have anybody else. Besides they are talking about Phils buddy Jim Clemons being named coach. He is just plain awful! I myself hate Lebron and could careless where He goes and I can tell He is not going there!

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