Jan 9, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Miami Heat small forward LeBron James (6) reacts in front of New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony (7) during the fourth quarter of a game at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

New York Knicks Rumors: Knicks Want LeBron James, Aren’t Getting Him

Is it really a rumor if it’s common knowledge? Common sense, even? If LeBron James is up for grabs, every team in the league wants him. It’d be like choosing not to upgrade to a suite at a hotel — if it’s available and doesn’t cost too much, everyone is going to take it.

According to the latest New York Knicks rumors, the Knicks are interested in LeBron James if he becomes a free agent this summer or next. Ian Begley writes:

In a perfect world for Phil Jackson & Co., LeBron opt outs out his contract after next season and tests free agency in the summer of 2015.

New York is expected to be well under the cap at that point and should have the money to make a serious play for James.

Begley then follows up with this quote from Brian Windhorst’s piece:

When James looks at his menu of options next month he will focus on being with a team that is built to contend for championships right now. Not in two years. Not after new teammates get their first taste of the playoffs. Now.

At age 29 and in his prime, James is not in the business of playing for a team that is still developing. He wouldn’t have much interest in losing a season while a coach is learning the ropes, either.

So, that pretty much eliminates the Knicks. A brief run-down of LeBron’s desires:

  • A team with cap space (if he opts out in 2014, that eliminates New York. If he opts out in 2015, the Knicks will have some).
  • A team ready to compete for a title right away
  • A team that doesn’t employ a coach learning the ropes.

The Knicks are almost none of those things. This summer, regardless of whether Carmelo Anthony stays or leaves, they will still be employing the likes over Amar’e Stoudemire, Tyson Chandler, and Andrea Bargnani, all of whom eat up a majority of the Knicks’ cap space. In 2015, when the Knicks will come close to clearing their books, they will be major players for a solid free agent class, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be competing for a title.

Furthermore, based on Phil Jackson’s current handful of coaching prospects, they are all either rookie head coaches or guys with little experience. If the Knicks retain Anthony, clear their books in 2015, sign a second superstar and build a solid supporting cast, they will likely still not be title contenders, especially if they are employing just a second-year head coach.

These variables are all subject to change, but really, none of this suggests New York would be high on James’s list. Also factor in that it’s taken years for James to repair his images as a good guy in the NBA, not a villain, and leaving Miami where he’s won two titles to date for the pressure of New York, and what exactly is the appeal?

The Heat are poised for their fourth straight championship appearance, and if James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh choose to opt out, they will have a clean slate to work with. James, of course, is the centerpiece to any team, but Bosh and Wade could all take less money to help the Heat rebuild their supporting cast. Or if James and the Heat’s front office are so inclined, they can scour the free agent market in 2015 and rebuild around James and some new-comers.

I’ll take the upgrade to the suite any day, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

Tags: 2014 NBA Free Agency Featured LeBron James New York Knicks Rumors Popular

  • Tic

    “If the Knicks retain Anthony, clear their books in 2015, sign a second
    superstar and build a solid supporting cast, they will likely still not
    be title contenders, especially if they are employing just a second-year
    head coach.”

    That’s a dumb statement, whole article is crap

    • Scott Davis

      Why do you feel this way? An explanation is nice before dismissing an entire article

      • Tic

        Hypothetically if the Knicks were to go get a second superstar and put together a supporting cast, a second year coach wouldn’t stop them from contending in a weak East. Teams can be successful even with a first year coach if the talent is there.

        • Scott Davis

          You’re not wrong. It’s all hypothetical, of course, but a 31-year old Anthony + a superstar, and likely a weak supporting cast (because the Knicks would’ve splurged on pairing two superstars) probably would have difficult contending, especially if it’s a rookie or second-year coach.

          Just my thoughts. The point of the article was more to point that the Knicks have a lot of work to do to even build a contender, so why would LeBron leave one to go to a rebuild or retool?

          • Tic

            I mean I don’t think the Knicks are as far off as everyone says they are, the talent is there on the roster right now they just the right coach and system to be put in. A couple of roster moves this offseason and they’ll be right back to where they were in 2011, maybe even a little bit better. If the right moves are made the 2015 Knicks can have a better overall roster than the 2015 Heat (minus LeBron).

  • money cash

    this is bullshit if LeBron james takes a one year deal then he can resign with the knicks for a max contract. and teaming up with the best SCORER in the LEAGUE they could play with college players and win the eastern conference and I would put my life on that….. foreal …

  • tweedledumber

    LeBron would be playing for Phil Jackson just like he is playing for Riley now. His coach (aka prop) right now is a bum that was handed a stacked team. With any other team the guy wouldn’t even make the playoffs. Listen to Spolstra mic’d in the huddle and it is like that scene in the Waterboy where Bobby Buchet explains football. Highly doubt he will play in NY but it most certainly would not be for them having a second year coach.

    • Scott Davis

      Spoelstra coached Dwyane Wade and the Heat into the playoffs two years before LeBron and Bosh arrived. And if those three demanded a bigger, supposedly better coach, you don’t think Riley and the front office would drop Spoelstra immediately? He’s done fine.

      Also, Spoelstra worked his way up from an assistant coach. Jackson is looking at guys who have never even coached. Even if the Knicks found a way to pair LeBron and Carmelo, building the proper supporting cast while dealing with a first- or second-year coach would be tough.

      • tweedledumber

        I don’t doubt them building a team around Melo and LeBron would be next to impossible but having a second year coach would play little factor in the decision. The only reason Jax is looking to hire a first year coach is to coach through them and teach the triangle so I don’t believe it will be an issue.