New York Will Somehow Manage Without LeBron, Thank You Very Much

“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.

Plus, as I’ve previously blogged (and as Alan Hahn wrote before I did), the draft has the potential to really shake up some rosters this summer.

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.


  1. Traps

    I realize everyone’s feeling that angst, now, but he hasn’t even signed a damn extension, yet. There’s been no inside hint or evidence that he’s near it. It’s a ridiculous notion until it happens. Why build up the summer? Just sign the damn thing. LeBron is still in play.

    On another note, awesome suggestions and examples on what can be done with cap.

  2. Dan L

    It’s also telling/interesting/funny that the commenters to that Windhorst story don’t even seem to believe that LeBron is staying.

  3. Namifi

    “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.”

    There it is. I agree, I hope that LeBron is smart enough to see the position he puts himself in if he stays as the article lays out. He needs to understand that though you would love to do that for your hometown, somethings are just not in you control. Cleavland will not be a dynasty sports town like NYC, LA, CHI, BOS. PHIL. etc., as far as I can see.

    LeBron.., don’t be Gen. Custer, you won’t have short changed Cleavland by leaving, you gave them great hope but unless you do it this year, and I still don’t see you winning it there, you have got to move on. You gave your best, that’s all you owe them, giving them a title is not in your hands as much as you may think it is.

    • Dan L

      Lol…nah…I’ll never be too broken up if he decides not to come. Do I want him to? Of course, but if not, ef em.

  4. CtotheB

    LBJ re-signing with the Cavs is something I used to dread as well but we will be fine either way. Just not sure I am ready to say, “it’ll be better to beat LeBron than to win with him.”

  5. Italian Stallion

    I’ve always thought that Lebron and Wade were massive longshots and still think that. However, I do agree that there are other scenarios for the Knicks to build a very good team this summer.

    My biggest complaint has been that if they don’t do it in 2010, then the entire Walsh plan was a total fiasco because Crawford, Randolph, and Jeffries (and Curry) all would have come off the books in 2011 anyway.

    So why did we trade Crawford and Randolph for inferior players and add to our suffering over the last 2 years and why did we move Jeffries, Hill, and draft pick value away for a former declining superstar that can’t play a lick?

    The only answer that makes any sense is because we wanted to rebuild in 2010 instead of 2011. That means if we don’t rebuild in 2010 and use all that cap space intelligently, the plan was pretty much a failure even if we have a somewhat better team sooner.

    • Dan L

      I think if that extra cap space gets you something very good this summer and the team is a contender next year, it was a successful trade. If it doesn’t get you anything that you couldn’t have gotten by waiting, then it was a bad deal, but not necessarily a disaster, as we will not understand the potential impact until we see what becomes of Hill and if Houston swaps with us in 2011, and where we are in 2012.

      • Traps

        If it doesn’t get you LeBron/Bosh, it has to get you a great, young PG and/or C to be successful. I’m still confident it’ll be LeBron and his choice of Bosh/Amar’e. I’ve never felt Wade was in play.

  6. Italian Stallion


    I think the crux of my concern has been that I think most of the top FAs are going to resign with their current team and I don’t want a handful of the others because I think we’ll have to overpay.

    Ginobli was one of the few that I would have been OK with despite concerns about his age and health, but now he’s gone too.

    It may actually come down to trades instead of FAs.

    By the way, I think I may have mentioned Okafor at some point also, but it may have been on Tommy’s blog. I think you’ve brought up some other interesting possibilities along those lines that I never considered.

    I think I’m getting tired of debating it.

    I just want to see what’s going to happen so I can decide whether to rejoice or throw up. lol

    • Dan L

      Yea. I think trades will play at least some role. Ken Berger recently wrote that the first two options are LeBron and Wade and if DW strikes out with them he will explore the trade market before turning to Joe Johnson.

      I tried to suggest a few examples of trades but really it’s futile because there’s so many possibilities. I agree we’ll have a better idea in July. I wish I could just freeze myself until then.

  7. Jon

    I’d love to see Lebron here next season but, if he chooses to re-up with Cleveland, I’m not really that interested in revisiting with LBJ in three years. At that point, you cross him off your list and build the best team you possibly can to beat him every year.

    And if Lebron stays in Cleveland his team is very, very beatable. Especially as time goes on.

    But this is New York. We don’t need to beg. Knicks should lay out the red carpet one time.

    And if he passes:

    C’est la vie, much respect Bron but we’re on to the next one.

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