Hahn: Knicks Might Pass on Lebron

Alan Hahn has been saying for a while now, mostly in his weekly chats, that he believes that the Knicks may not take the cap space they’ve been working so hard to acquire all the way into free agency 2010. Today, he presents that theory again in an article in Newsday.

Hahn says that, rather than pursuing the all-in-on-Lebron scenario, one that could very well leave the Knicks holding an empty bag, given that the Knicks hold multiple large, expiring deals and some attractive young talent, Donnie Walsh might instead pursue a trade either this offseason or at next February’s trade deadline for a star player from a team that (1) fears it might lose that player for nothing in 2010 (Chris Bosh) or (2) has stagnated and wants to reshuffle the deck (Carmelo Anthony, Steve Nash).

While on some level it’d be so disappointing to see the Knicks forgo the opportunity to take their shot with Lebron (as you all know I think there’s at least a decent chance he’d spurn the Cavs and sign here), Hahn’s scenario is far from crazy. In fact, it’s the much safer play.

Most of what we all (Clevelanders and New Yorkers both) think we know about Lebron and his desire to either leave or stay in Cleveland is based on rampant, unfettered speculation about various bits of minutia that trickle into the media’s coverage of the whole 2010 saga. Sure, it’s fun to speculate (Dan and I have a whole meter devoted to it), but as Tommy Dee pointed out yesterday, no one can possibly know what Lebron has planned for the future because it’s likely that Lebron doesn’t even know at this point. And if he does know, he’s certainly not sharing with us.

Now, of course it’s possible that Lebron does have some semblance of an idea of what he wants to do, and that he’s let certain, trusted confidants in on his thinking (Sonny Vaccaro? Worldwide Wes? Leon Rose? Jay-Z?). It’s also possible, if he’s leaning towards leaving the Cavs, that those confidants have found ways to relate Lebron’s current thinking to the people that are well-positioned to faciliate Lebron’s move to a new team (Read: Donnie Walsh). We know that kind of stuff happens all the time. But we don’t know if it’s happening now.

Rest assured though, if the Knicks make moves this summer that effectively take them out of the running for Lebron in 2010, it will be because Donnie Walsh wasn’t given reason enough to believe that Lebron was coming here. And if that’s the case, he’ll have done the right thing by getting the Knicks some elite talent when he knew he could and setting them up to battle Lebron for titles (wherever it is he decides to play) in the years to come.

19 comments

  1. Virgil

    GOOD teh sooner we start thinking about plans B-Z the better we are. You all know my feelings. I would rather have any of the others than LBJ. So lets at least consider other possibilities that do not include him cuz he ain’t going anywhere leaving that much money even if it is in Cleveland

  2. Dan L

    I would love to get LeBron, but more than that, I want the Knicks to be good. If Donnie could pull that off, that’s all I care about. Hahn’s article isn’t enough to shift the LeBroptimism, much like Berman’s wasn’t yesterday.

  3. Heri

    Don’t need to be a rocket scientist to Know teams would rather trade a star than watch him walk away. I mentioned this some time ago and was told Toronto would never trade Bosh.

    Don’t forget that Cleveland is in the same boat of teams that will rather trade than watch him walk away. If no assurance is given to Cleveland by LeBron, Cleveland’s head will spin with what to do. Trade or no trade before he walks away?

    This is why the Knicks must sign Lee and Nate, because here is your value for trade of a super star.

    I don’t like trading myself and would rather sign a free agent. By signing a free agent you get to keep all the pieces and not trade any value away while still adding the value of the free agent.

    Do you now see more reason to sign Lee and Nate?

  4. Heri

    LeBron is playing it by ear, he still doesn’t know what to do. If Cleveland wins a chip he will swing towards resigning with Cleveland, if Cleveland loses; LeBron will wait to see the moves of management and how they work out.

    Hope for Cleveland to lose. Imagine the Knicks eliminating Cleveland in the playoffs? It would be devastating for Cleveland. Imagine? Imagine? Imagine?

    Dream, but if the Knicks eliminate Cleveland and LeBrons beloved Yankees win it all this season; nothing would be bigger to shift LeBron towards New York. Nothing.

    Odds are against it, but I be a MF if this isn’t true.

  5. Heri

    Also, I understand that if the Knicks trade and get Melo now, for example; when and if LeBron walks later, the door would still be opened for the Knicks to get LeBron by simply trading Melo. Maybe it would be a trade for LeBron that included Melo (for example) to Cleveland.

    My point is that trading now wouldn’t close the door on LeBron. You can always trade Melo, for example; elsewhere if you sign LeBron.

    LeBron said it best, “if you want to go to sleep…” Knicks need to sign Lee and Nate and continue to deal.

  6. Italian Stallion

    I would be against a trade for Melo. I think he’s overrated. He can score, but he doesn’t play much defense or contribute a lot elsewhere. Plus, he may be a little of a headcase. I’d much rather see a trade for Bosh. It might be possible to move a few of our expiring contracts plus a prospect (like Chandler) to get Bosh if the Raptors feel they won’t be able to resign him and they have to start over or cope with the economy better.

    Bosh – C
    Lee – PF
    Gallinari – SF
    Duhon – PG
    Hughes – SG

    That’s a playoff team. There’s enough defense, outside shooting, inside scoring etc…

  7. Jon

    I agree with Stallion that Bosh is preferable to Melo (by a lot in my estimation. However, I think Lee would have to be a component of any offer the Knicks made for Bosh. Otherwise, some other team (like the Bulls) will come in with an offer that includes a young big man (like Thomas or Noah) and trump our offer.

    Also, the situation in Phoenix bears watching. The odds are increasing (although maybe still not all that great) that the Suns might blow their whole team up. That decision could very well entail declining the option on Nash’s contract for next season. If that happened, he’d likely become the Knicks starting pg in 2009.

  8. Heri

    Understand the dynamics of a trade for a free agent in some cases.

    Chicago could offer their whole team and the world to Toronto for Bosh, but say Bosh wanted to play in New York or not Chicago and the deal would never go down because Bosh would go on to pursue free agency after the trade.

    Free agents can pretty much dictate where they go or don’t go and this helps the Knicks because we all know the attraction of New York and the Mecca. Knicks must take advantage of it by trading only for free agents wanting to play in New York.

    By trading only for free agents wanting to play in New York you can dictate the trade practically and not give up anything near equal value. Take advantage and make it a trade in your favor; talent wise.

    So, think twice before trading Chandler or Lee.

    It’s a matter of “Cool Hand Luke” playing poker and proceeding to find out if any free agent wants New York. You better believe some free agent out there would love nothing but New York.

    It’s a matter of finding out, “who.” This is the most important factor to find out before anything else comes down. Be careful the tempering laws, but never give up equal value in a trade for a free agent to be when you have the city and Mecca on your side.

    If you don’t have an instinct that some free agents out there has New York on top of their list, it’s worthless talking to you.

    Walsh, D, Da City, The Mecca, endorsements, potential earnings in selling sneakers, other personal business dealings and potential status if a chip or two are won will far out weigh the only negative: “Dolan.”

  9. Jon

    “Chicago could offer their whole team and the world to Toronto for Bosh, but say Bosh wanted to play in New York or not Chicago and the deal would never go down because Bosh would go on to pursue free agency after the trade.

    Free agents can pretty much dictate where they go or don’t go and this helps the Knicks because we all know the attraction of New York and the Mecca. Knicks must take advantage of it by trading only for free agents wanting to play in New York.”

    That’s true Heri. Except that it’s known that Bosh’s first choice is to
    play in Chicago. From Marc Stein:

    “A source close to Bosh told me this afternoon that Chicago would be his first choice as a free agent destination that summer.”

    So to get Bosh, you’re going to (1) have to give up something good because he’s not going to insist on a trade to the Knicks and (2) convince him to stay.

  10. Heri

    Well guess what? Poker time, buddy.
    Fold on Bosh and move on. If he wants Chicago, let him get Chicago or are you over paying for him. Nothing to cry about.

    Now, you want to impress; tell me who wants New York instead. The list is long.

  11. Heri

    So LeBron likes Nate? That’s good, we should like him too. It’s a message from Mr. Diplomacy.

    Our Message should be that if we don’t get LeBron, No way will LeBron play with Nate.

    Sign Nate.

  12. Heri

    Back to Bosh, thank isiah we have Lee.

    Bosh is better than Lee, but it’s a team game; not boxing.

    We can win with Lee at the power forward if need be.

    No way should we over pay for Bosh if we have Lee.

  13. Jon

    Of course, I totally disagree with you Heri. You don’t pass on the opportunity to acquire a franchise big man just because his first choice isn’t NY. Moreover, giving up David Lee isn’t remotely overpaying for Bosh. The Knicks should work to acquire the best players they can get, not the best players that only want to play here.

    That’s how you end up with an annual 45 win, first-round-playoff-out type of team headed up by Carmelo Anthony (who I’m sure you absolutely love).

  14. Heri

    I agree you don’t pass up on the opportunity to acquire a franchise big man, but only if you don’t have to over pay him because he’d rather be in Chicago is my point.
    Let him go scare some other team into over paying him and like I said Bosh is better than Lee, not that Lee is junk. But if you have to give up Lee plus over pay Bosh, well; I’d keep Lee and pay for some other free agent. I wouldn’t over pay anyone while keeping two instead of one.

    You who cried about Isiah and his over paid acquisitions, now it’s you who’s into over paying? Why over pay anyone to play in the Mecca? It could be a ploy to maximize his earnings, I say to fold is a poker stake that under minds the Manny Ramirez mind frame.

    You have other big man like Dirk and Boozer also available. As for Melo, he won in college and he will win in the NBA with the proper team. Melo is very good, but like KG needs a team to play with. This isn’t boxing, don’t over pay Bosh or anyone else.

    The Knicks should acquire the best player available that will be considerable with the team in its cap space limitations in order to field the best possible amount of talent to win a chip or two as a team.

  15. Heri

    As for Melo, let me add that at least he is a forward with a spine. Unlike Gallo that for some reason we protect so much and all season long, but yet he can’t play 30 minutes in one game. Your so called franchise player has a possible poor future as compared to Melo or any player with health.

  16. Heri

    In the dynamics of the mind game within the free agent period that is, and from the free agents to be; comes a new twist in the mind game itself.

    The beginning mind game was all in favor of the Knicks as LeBron and all others were to be easily Knicks. It was all in favor of the Knicks to pick who ever Knicks wanted.

    The new twist in the mind game is to refute the beginning mind set. Rather play in Chicago, stay in Ohio, Miami is warmer, Zirk wants Germany and Alaska inside an igloo is much nicer to be.

    Nothing has changed but the refute of what really needed to be refuted in the best interest of it all. Messages will only thicken.

  17. Jon

    Umm…ok.

    The strategy is the same as it’s always been. Plan A: Lebron. Plan B: Signings and trades for players that can help you beat Lebron. Goal: Championships.

    I do agree though that nothing has changed but the refute of what really needed to be refuted in the best interest of it all

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