NBA Christmas is finally upon us. After weeks, months, and in the case of the Knicks, years of waiting for July 1st, 2010, it has come. While the rumors are only just beginning and the constant speculation has not even reached its highest level, at least we are all that much closer to a final resolution. At least talking to these guys isn’t tampering anymore. We are in a place where things can finally happen.
Right about now (12:01 am, eastern), Mike D’Antoni, Donnie Walsh and James Dolan are sitting down with Joe Johnson. What they are looking for is an agreement. This band of reclamation brothers isn’t messing around. The brass wants to take the promise of Joe Johnson in orange and blue to Lebron James this afternoon in Akron, presumably wowing The King with the team’s no-nonsense approach. It’s the right approach for a team that knows it’s time is up. For Walsh and D’Antoni, it’s put up or lose your job. For Dolan, it’s put up or lose your city, either to collective fan disenchantment or to a Russian billionaire with money to burn.
Either way, the clock has never struck more defiantly for the Knicks as it did just a moment ago.
The Knicks know that they have to come to Akron this afternoon with some sort of a hook. They’ve all ready had to deny the rumor that they are completely out of the running for James. Generally, that’s never a good sign.
There’s no doubt that, of all the prospective suitors, the Knicks pitch is, by far, the toughest one to make. I’ve tried to find a scenario where this isn’t the case and have failed. Even Cleveland has the “home town” factor, and lets be real, other then James- they stink. The Cavs also have the “don’t be a traitor” factor which, depending upon what you believe, may be a big deal for James.
The most important quality for not loosing your mind during the last few days is the ability to weed through the millions of theories and “reports” and throw out the stinkers. One of the common ones that I’ve always had an issue with is the idea that Lebron won’t come to the Knicks because they don’t have the pieces to win a championship.
I don’t know if that’s true. Remember, the last thing the Knicks are going to be selling is what’s happened in the last decade. As far as Donnie and crew are concerned, the 2000’s never happened. That’s what they’re going to try and make King James believe, anyway.
What they will be selling is youth. A potential starting five for 2010-2011 looks like this: James, FA #2, Danilo Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Toney Douglas. Do not tell me that this roster isn’t better then what James had in Cleveland during the last few years. It is, and by a wide margin.
All three of those players are under 25 and have shown signs of being good NBA players. Gallinari has made tremendous strides since an injury riddled rookie season. Last year, he averaged 15 points a game and nearly 5 rebounds. Wilson Chandler is an exciting young forward who also averaged 15 points a game and over 5 rebounds. Toney Douglas took awhile to get into Mike D’Antoni’s sometimes perplexing rotation last season, but showed excellent signs of being a solid contributor. This is a team with obvious promise, not the group of also-rans that some have painted them to be.
This is just as good as what the Cavs have. Heck, roster wise, it may be just as good as what the Nets have. After all, they did win 12 games last year.
If Lebron decides to go somewhere other then New York, it will be because of a lot of factors. The inability to win a championship shouldn’t be one of them.
About the Author
Written by Jordan Lauterbach
Jordan Lauterbach began his career in sports media when he was just 15 years old at WKWZ - Syosset. He hosted a sports talk show for nearly four years before moving on to WCWP - Brookville in 2006. Lauterbach currently hosts a sports talk show every Wednesday night from 9pm - midnight (eastern) and a College Football talk show on Saturday mornings from 11am - 12:30 (eastern) (can be heard online at wcwpsports.com and on Long Island on 88.1fm). Follow me on twiiter: jlauterbach1