Lebron James is the most coveted free agent in the history of professional sports, that comes to mind. He is a fierce defender, great teammate, big fan draw, and he's the two time reigning MVP. He has averaged 27.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 7 assists per game over his seven year career. So, it comes as no surprise that teams would be lining up years in advance just to get a sniff at Lebron James in their jersey. The New York Knicks (more on them later) have been trading quality players and draft picks for expiring contracts, expiring contracts for the summer of 2010. I plan on taking a look at each team that has Lebron on the top of their off-season wish list. I will take a look at the Knicks, Nets, Clippers, Bulls, Heat, Wizards and finally the Cavaliers. I will also grade each team's chances of acquiring the King. They will be graded on a letter grade scale. There will be no curve. First on the list......
New York Knicks: 29-53
Finishing 32 games behind the league leading Cavaliers.
$34 million dollars of cap space. They could sign two max contracts. James and Bosh or James and Wade. Lebron James would be able to hand pick his Robin and that is something that has to intrigue the King.
It's New York City! New York is the mecca of basketball, or used to be. The Big Apple is the Capital of the world. So much history, entertainment, and status. Lebron could come into town and New Yorkers would say "Jeter Who?" It's a basketball town and Lebron is the best out there.
The Knicks have $34 million dollars of cap space because they have only four players on the payroll. Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Toney Douglas and Bill Walker. Each of those four players are a SG/SF hybrid. This team has no Point Guard or Center. You could expect Bosh to fill in at PF/C and a rotation of bigger SF's like LBJ and Gallinari to sub at PF.
They will use all of their cap space signing Lebron and Bosh and have to fill out the remaining 6 roster spots with free agents signing veteran league minimum deals. It's possible the Knicks could trade either Chandler or Gallinari for another puzzle piece.
It's New York City! The New York media is brutal. If Lebron plays like he did in games 2,4, and 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals the New York media will ask for his head. Here in Northeast Ohio we were upset with his play in those games. We were most upset about his effort in game 5. But Lebron is one of our own so we forgive and forget. Lebron has given us all enough enjoyment of the past 7 years to have an off night every couple of seasons. He won't have that kind of leniency in NYC.
Final Grade: B-
The Knicks are in a good position to land Lebron James. Receiving a B- is still a passing grade and that's something to be proud of. But I can't wait to see the look on those New Yorkers faces when LBJ decides not to join the Knicks squad comprised of shooting guards who refuse to play defense and a coach that doesn't mind skipping over the Defensive Fundamental tapes.