It was only two years ago when then general manager Donnie Walsh cleared enough cap space in an attempt to sign forward LeBron James and other free agents.
That plan got foiled when LBJ signed with the Miami Heat and the Knicks ended up with Amar’e Stoudemire and Raymond Felton.
Fast-forward to the present day and the Knicks have since acquired Carmelo Anthony and LeBron is a game away from failing to win the NBA championship once again.
But have you ever wondered how things may have turned out if James signed with the Knicks instead? How would the fates of both the Knicks and James have been different?
Looking first at LeBron, if he thinks he gets overly criticized now, things would be 10 times as bad for him if he were in the Big Apple. The very first time he shied away from the big moment, the New York media would have been all over him, much less the 10th or 15th time he disappeared in the clutch. If James can’t handle the pressure in Miami, he would have wilted in New York.
LeBron’s fragile ego and New York definitely wouldn’t have been a good fit.
If he feels that he’s a target for criticism now, in the Big Apple he would have been the biggest bullseye in the world.
But would the Knicks be better right now if James had chosen New York?
That goes without saying. You are always better off when you have the chance to add the best player in the game.
A Stoudemire-James combo would have been initially very good and likely would have become a lethal pick-and-roll combo.
But had James chosen the Knicks, it would have had a domino effect.
For one, there would be no Carmelo Anthony in the Big Apple as the Melo trade wouldn’t even have been thought of.
Tyson Chandler likely wouldn’t be a Knick either. Who knows, without the Heat in the finals last season, would Chandler ever made that type of impact to cash in on a big contract.
However, the likes of Wilson Chandler and Danilo Gallinari would likely still be Knicks, but they could have been packaged for a point guard. Chris Paul was the rumored name at the time. what would have become of Jeremy Lin if that were the case? Linsanity would likely have never have gotten the opportunity to become a phenomenon.
How did LeBron’s decision effect coaching? Would Mike D’Antoni still be on the sidelines? Probably because if the Knicks don’t struggle in 2012, Mike Woodson is likely an afterthought.
But would the Knicks be championship contenders?
Probably, but that doesn’t mean they would have won one. LeBron hasn’t proven that he’s a capable enough leader to get it done.
Comparing LeBron to Melo is pointless. James is the better player. He’s bigger, stronger, faster and is a better passer, defender and rebounder. At least for three quarters.
Melo is a scorer, but he’s also a guy that can be counted on to close games. LeBron clearly is not.
How all that would have played out would have been interesting. While I think the Knicks would be better off with LeBron, mentally I just don’t think he would have been able to handle New York and the Knicks would still be in search of a championship.
A Knicks team that would include LBJ, CP3 and Stat would be pretty good, but ultimately would it be better than the Knicks ‘Big Three,’ of Chandler, Stat and Melo? It probably would be, but the Knicks would be in the same tough spot with the salary cap that they are right now.
A lot has happened during the past two years that resulted after leBron’s decision, most importantly the fact that the Knicks have possibly four starters that wouldn’t be in a Knicks uniform as a result.
However, I’m glad LeBron signed with the Heat. Who would Knicks fans and the rest of the NBA hate?
Here’s a guy that quit on his team in Cleveland and disappears in the clutch in Miami. He’s a hypocrite and an ego maniac and that wouldn’t have worked in the Big Apple.
While it would be nice to have the best player in the game, I’ll pass. Instead I’ll take my chances with these guys and see what happens.