“I got a million ways to get it. Choose one.”
-Jay-Z, On To The Next One
Over the last month or so something imperceptible to me has given me a vague but increasingly certain feeling that LeBron will stay in Cleveland. Ever since LeBron, Wade, and Bosh signed identical extensions with opt-outs in 2010, some fans, including myself, argued that the Knicks had to get under the cap to be able to make a run at these guys. Well, it might not happen, but it was still worth a shot.
Brian Windhorts reports that:
The vibe being sent out from James’ camp — whether it is private conversations or discussions about new business or plans for the near future — is that James currently is leaning strongly toward re-signing with the Cavs.
Ok. Good for LeBron. He’s a grown ass man and he’ll make whatever decision he thinks is best. I think he should reconsider (and obviously I hope he does), as my personal opinion is that if he doesn’t win the title in Cleveland this year, he isn’t going to win it during his next contract either. Not with aging Jamison on the books for $15 million through 2012. Not with Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao, Daniel Gibson and Jamario Moon making a cumulative $24 million through that same period. Good for LeBron though. If he thinks that budget restrictive core is going to get better as time goes on, let him try to bring the Cavs their first title ever with it.
Plenty of people will use this opportunity to call for Donnie Walsh’s head without having the patience to wait just 2 and a half more months to see whether his plan comes to fruition. We have never been part of the “LeBron of bust” crew (check the blog) that lacks both foresight and insight as to what possibilities could await. I’m confident: The Knicks will be just fine. There are countless combinations and permutations awaiting Donnie Walsh this summer to turn the team not only into a winner, but a big winner. And plenty of them exclude LeBron.
Just to lay out a couple of examples, taking into account that the endless possibilities make any single one of them unlikely:
- I tweeted some with @vinnymax1 yesterday (shoutout also to @leaveherbalone, who was also part of the discussion) and he convinced me that under certain scenarios, it could make sense for the Knicks to trade for Emeka Okafor. For example if the Knicks are able to pick up Bosh and Joe Johnson, then they could also trade Eddy Curry, Chandler and/or Douglas for Darren Collison and Okafor. The lineup would be Collison, Johnson, Gallinari, Bosh, and Okafor. If they just get one of Bosh or Johnson then they can instead get Camby and any number of other players. They could also hold onto Lee instead of Bosh and use the salary savings on someone like Anthony Morrow, who has the chance to become an all time elite shooter in this league.
- The Jazz, like the Hornets, are also spendthrift and will have a lottery pick. Would they consider trading Andrei Kirilenko for cap space and Chandler? If so the Knicks could put together a lethal defensive team featuring: Marcus Camby, Kirilenko, Gallinari, Morrow, and Toney Douglas. The Knicks could also move Eddy Curry under this scenario and get any number of players from Collison to who knows who. I have a feeling the Knicks defense would look great. Maybe some of the haters could shut up then. Or talk about how shocked they are that a team with a Camby/Kirilenko frontcourt would play better D than a Lee/Harrington squad.
- Just a few other players known to be or who could be available for mere cap savings: Iguodala/Dalembert package deal; Rip Hamilton; Jason Richardson.
Bottom line is, if LeBron wants to stay in Cleveland, let him run that rusty little village. This is New York City, and no man is bigger than it.