About a day remains before Lebron James presents his version of The Big Reveal, spilling his guts before hundreds of media members like an NCAA prospect officially choosing a uni. (Hey, maybe Lebron should spread three baseball caps in front of him, pick one up and put it on his head…)
On the eve of this auspicious occasion – he’s going back to no-infrastructure Cleveland on a two-year deal, BiE just knows it – BallinEurope’s man in the U.K., Sam Chadwick, weighs in on what exactly New York Knicks fans should do vis-à-vis King James. To wit: Nothing.
So it’s a big statement to make in the Summer of Lebron’s Free Agency, but I’m going to make it anyway: The New York Knicks should give up on trying to get Lebron James and instead make themselves a contender with a big three.
I have many, many reasons for saying this and here are two: 1) I’m not a big fan of Lebron; 2) I secretly want the Knicks to succeed.
Okay, so like I said, I’m not really a Lebron fan. I admit that he’s an amazing player – when all is said and done, James will possibly be known as the second-best player ever though this too is debatable, as he has choked in times of pressure like the 2006 NBA Finals against San Antonio and in numerous Eastern Conference playoffs against the likes of the Orlando Magic and this year’s second-round exit thanks to the Boston Celtics.
James is in it for the money, it seems, and I don’t really like that either; he says he wants to be an NBA champion, but unlike a Tim Duncan won’t take a pay cut so that his team may afford another upper-tier player, namely a point guard better than Delonte West and Mo Williams. James has explicitly stated that he wants to be a billionaire – why? Why would you need that much money? If you’re going to give it all to charity and that kinda stuff, fine, but if it’s for personal pleasure … is it really necessary? How can you state that you expect your team to compete for a championship while in the hopes of becoming a billionaire take up all the franchise’s money?
Lebron, if you’re sincere, take a slightly smaller contract and allow the team you play for to sign another player and therefore compete for your other life goal – a championship!
Now, reason number two: Secretly I want the Knicks to succeed. The Knicks have never been the best team in the NBA [Aw, c’mon, not even in 1969-70? –Ed.] They have been good but always in the shadows of a better, more complete team: the Bulls, the Pacers, the Celtics, the Magic, the Lakers, etc. However, New York’s Madison Square Garden has always been considered a basketball mecca, a home for the game, and that’s why I personally would like to see the Knicks do well. [And it would make Woody Allen and Spike Lee happy, too. –Ed.]
While everyone else focuses on Lebron James – teams like the Nets, Clippers and to some extent the Bulls – the Knicks have the opportunity to sign or sign-and-trade for some great overlooked players.
Firstly, the Knicks signed Amare Stoudamire to a $100 million contract – Stoudamire is one of the best young power forwards in the game with the ability to play center if needed. New York is also reportedly ever closer to signing Tony Parker from the Spurs, while Amare has stated that Parker would be happy to join him in New York. So there you have it: a power forward and a great point guard playing together … however, we also know two great players alone can’t win a championship without help.
The Knicks also have a chance at getting Carmelo Anthony from Denver: He’s another player who has reportedly told Amare that teaming up in New York is a real possibility. So that’s three great players all converging on the Big Apple: a trio that could make the Knicks a dominant team. Amare and Dwight can battle it out at the five spot come playoff time, and the possibility of Melo puts this team way above any other team in the East and maybe even the entire league.
Melo is a New York kinda guy: Brooklyn-born and Syracuse-educated, Anthony is a great small forward who can compete with Lebron while also being more experienced, and he would work well alongside Parker and Stoudamire to make the Knicks into a serious force.
The Knicks also have a great core guys like Wilson Chandler and Italian small forward Danilo Gallinari, who last season went for 15.1 points per game on 42% shooting from the field, including 38% on threes. It’s a good place to be generally, especially if he can convince Tony Parker and his lovely wife to join him in NYC.
I say: Just do it, Knicks. Put all your effort into getting these three guys together and give the people of New York what they want: A team that can truly compete for an NBA championship. Give New Yorkers something they haven’t ever truly had in total domination, give them the best three players you can get – a new Big Three in the East to replace Peirce, Garnett and Allen of Boston. Imagine the highlights, the back-to-back, the threepeat, because you can. You can become the basketball mecca that everyone wants you to become.
And just forget about Lebron.
Sam Chadwick is a assistant coach for the Solent Kestrels U13 team. He also writes a basketball-centered blog called Hype.
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