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Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 8:00 am  |  21 responses

New York, I Love You

‘But you’re bringing me down.’

by Irv Soonachan

I’m leery of the Knicks and their fans’ ongoing courtship of LeBron, because it feels like Groundhog Day. As long as I’ve been alive, the Knicks have been the kings of dashed hopes and near misses.

I first felt it as a youngster when the Knicks made the Eastern Conference Semis. Bernard King nearly took out the Celtics with maybe six fingers that weren’t broken. He might as well have worn boxing gloves. High expectations the next season were severed with his ACL.

So many tortuously unanswered questions. What if King were healthy? Would the Warriors really trade Chris Mullin for Kenny “Sky” Walker? How could Charles Smith miss that layup? What about Hubert Davis, sitting right there on the bench? He can shoot, can’t he? Can we at least give Hubert a try before it’s…? What if Ewing’s knees hold up? What if Allan Houston’s knees hold up? What if they fire Isiah Thomas and hire a rational person before Isiah goes and…?

Gifted Child grew up near the Cleveland Indians; he’s read this script already. Why would he come to New York to Save the Knicks, when there are so many better options? He says his two goals are to become an NBA Champion and a billionaire – is Madison Square Garden the best place to do that?

I recently ran into Aaron Goodwin, the mega-agent who brought LeBron into the league. He was at a Cavaliers game to visit with his former protégé. Goodwin’s current clients include Dwight Howard, Kevin Durant, Jamal Crawford and Nate Robinson.

“Madison Square Garden was synonymous with Madison Avenue, but that time is gone,” he said ominously, as he waited to go inside the locker room. “If you’re LeBron James or Dwight Howard, the market will go to where you are. It doesn’t matter, it’s a global economy.”

“For players like that, what matters is the opportunity to win. If you win, everything else will follow.”

Goodwin isn’t the only agent to think so. The New York Times recently ran a piece quoting other agents and marketing types (none of whom have LeBron’s ear, as Goodwin might) saying the exact same thing.

Bearing in mind his two goals (championships and $$), there are definitely better fits.

How about Miami, with Pat Riley running things and Dwyane Wade possibly there? In Florida (or Texas, for that matter) LeBron wouldn’t have to pay state income taxes. New York’s is 6.85 percent, which is steep when you plan on making out like Dr. Evil.

Or New Jersey/Brooklyn, who can sign a couple of max players and already have a point guard and a center? Their new majority owner, the hard-partying “billionaire bachelor,” and minority owner Jay-Z could probably make a compelling pitch.

Maybe a sign and trade with Portland or Houston, where there would be tremendous talent around even after compensating Cleveland. Or for that matter, what about the Cavs, who will have cap room this offseason to find LeBron a sidekick? Plus, they’re allowed to pay LeBron a little more than everyone else. There are probably three or four other teams worth mentioning, too.

People make imperfect career choices all the time, just because they want to be somewhere. Manhattan has been that somewhere for a lot of people. But when you take off the rose-tinted, 1973 vintage glasses, the odds aren’t good for the Knicks.

That said, don’t feel too sorry for Knicks fans if their summer is a let down. They’re used to it.

GAME NOTES

– Warriors coach Don Nelson on Monta Ellis’ spotty attendance record at pregame shootarounds: “He’s not a morning person. He gets some stomach aches or something and it’s usually not very serious.”

– Corey Maggette’s stellar play for the Warriors is not a fluke and not just hot shooting. He’s using his size more effectively than he ever has, and is getting more touches without Stephen Jackson around. It doesn’t seem as though he’s on a streak, but that he’s reaching his potential.

– The Nets might have a bright future with a new, charismatic billionaire owner, but their present is dim. They’re not getting a high level of effort from their players and word is they’re hardly even bothering to scout opponents anymore. Don’t be surprised when they break the record for the worst finish ever. (Which currently stands at 9-73.)

– Thanks to LCD Soundsystem for the title of this post.

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  • http://www.boogiewillaims.com Boing Dynasty

    Stop

  • mems

    i like the knicks, i’ve always hoped they do well but man have they done a great job of getting every player and coach i hate lol. nate robinson, al harrington, eddy curry, isiah, d’antoni. adding the player that everyone likes to dickride who hasn’t won anything yet wont help either lol

  • mems

    i like the knicks, i’ve always hoped they do well but man have they done a great job of getting every player and coach i hate lol. nate robinson, al harrington, eddy curry, isiah, d’antoni. adding the player that everyone likes to dickride who hasn’t won anything yet wont help either lol

  • Hoodsnake

    The Nyets will subsequently break the record for the best turnaround next season then also but its interesting when Thorn says he aint trading Devin when Wall (and 2 max free agents) is falling in his lap next season

  • http://slamonline.com The underrated one

    6.85 percent is steep!! PLAy for the raptors and see that number basically double

  • michael scorn

    Didn’t LeBron stop talking about this? So why is everyone else?

  • jrb

    SHUT UP

  • Shifty

    New York need to keep david Lee, he is the man.

  • erich

    He will be remembered as one of the greats .
    That is undisputed . But if he goes to NY and helps make the Knicks a winning franchise again will make his rep even bigger .
    But I think players don’t play that much for fame anymore .
    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
    I would like to see him take the hard way.

  • therighttoremainsalient

    erich you make a pretty substantial point – guys are getting the fame in HS these days… definitely it’s about the “NBA $$$”.
    I can’t see LeBron ever getting the community award, where ever he goes. It’s about him getting his and thats that.

  • http://www.hibachi20.blogspot.com Hursty

    I’d just like to say that that song is very good. So is LeBron James. The Knicks however, are not.

  • Phrequensi

    i don’t see why James would leave the Cavs. That’s his team and he has too big of an ego to quit without winning in Clev. He will accept more money from them for 3-5 more yrs. and win a ring a two with a few new pieces.
    LeBron will stay put Cleveland.

    I predict next year if not the following, The Knicks would have finally crafted an excellent playoff team that will surprise many by making the Eastern Conference finals but still fall short in the end. To the Cavs no less.

  • drewz

    i had no idea the knicks were interested in lebron. thanks for writing this story

  • knikknucker

    Isnt this the team that thought Duhon was steve nash lite?

  • Pingback: Knicks used to being let down… at NoYork

  • NM23

    @hoodsnake if the nets secure that number 1 pick for john wall they will probably trade harris. However as history has shown the team with the worst record rarely ends up getting the top pick. If they secure that then only will they consider trading devin and signing some free agents in the hope of luring lebron…cant see lebron actually leavin to go there though!

  • chintao

    mems read my mind.

  • http://www.behindtheback.webeden.co.uk Sam Raphael Chadwick

    If his career goals are win a championship and earn loads of money then I just completely lost respect for him. He should be more like TD and take a pay drop so that his team can compete more for a championship. and also If i had his skills I would have a career goal of averaging a tripple double for the season which to be honest he is very close to achiving.

  • http://www.twitter.com/sveinnbirkir Sveinn Birkir
  • DDB

    LCD Soundsystem…nice!

  • chintao

    That song hurts just to listen to. All the reasons I loved the place just evaporated over a relatively short period of time. It’s a a hollow husk of what it used to be. Thanks for the links, guys.

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