Stop me if you heard this one before.
Four-time MVP LeBron James has his eyes on the New York Knicks when he becomes a free agent again.
Knicks’ fans fell for this line once before but should they fall for it once again?
According to reports from Stephen A. Smith, LeBron is willing to give the Knicks a second chance and has apparently made it known that he will “strongly consider” signing with the Knicks as a free agent in two years’ time.
Stephen A Smith, on ESPN radio, says Lebron has “let work seep out” that he will “strongly consider” signing w/ #Knicks as a FA in 2 years
— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) July 30, 2013
While that’s all nice to hear, the question to ask is could this be a reality or just a pipe dream?
First of all you have to consider the sources.
While I do have a great deal of respect for Smith as a journalist, he often likes to stir the pot as most of the things that come out of his mouth just simply don’t happen. We often hear from Smith that a certain player told him a certain thing is true, but usually it turns out not to be the case.
Then there’s the fact that it is coming out of LeBron’s mouth and as we have seen over the course of the past five-plus years, he will say anything to get people to like him. How many times has James followed through on a promise or guarantee (think dunk contest)?
But that doesn’t mean the chance of seeing James in a Knicks’ uniform couldn’t become a reality.
For a change the money will be there to make something big like that happen.
Hoopsworld’s Steve Kyler wrote last week that New York is prepared to let Carmelo Anthony build his own team in the summer of 2015.
If that is truly the case, I’m sure LeBron would be his first pick.
Now let’s get back to the money.
In the summer of 2015, almost every contact comes off the books for the Knicks.
All they would have is six contracts that would total $18.2 million, but the number is likely to be much less than that.
Two of those deals are player options (J.R. Smith and Raymond Felton), two are qualifying offers (Iman Shumpert and C.J. Leslie), one is a team option (Tim Hardaway Jr.) and the last is not guaranteed (Pablo Prigioni). The chance of all six of those players being in a Knicks uniform in 2015 is highly unlikely so there will be even more money to spend.
That’s the good news.
The bad news is that the Knicks will likely be a year too late if they want to land LeBron.
LeBron is likely to opt out of his contract after this upcoming season, which means he has no chance of landing in New York.
That’s because the Knicks already have $90.6 million committed to next season with Andrea Bargnani, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire and Anthony accounting for almost $73 million of that figure.
Anthony also is all but guaranteed to opt out of his deal after this season, but that wouldn’t help the Knicks in their pursuit of James as even without Melo’s $20-plus million salary, the Knicks will still be over the salary cap.
That alone gives credence to the rumors that Anthony and James could be teaming up in Los Angeles after next season.
Just looking at the Knicks financial situation, their chances of landing James is a long shot at best, simply because he isn’t likely to be available when they have the opportunity to pursue him.
So while Knicks’ fans may want to dream of seeing the best player in the world wearing blue and orange, I wouldn’t get too excited about it as it is not likely to happen any time soon.
Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.