Commentary

Knicks' game plan for landing LeBron

Originally Published: May 25, 2010
By Chad Ford | ESPN.com
LeBron JamesNathaniel S. Butler/NBAE/Getty ImagesThe Knicks will try to sell LeBron on the prospect of playing in Madison Square Garden 41 times a year.

It's the question the NBA world has been debating since Donnie Walsh took over the New York Knicks in April 2008 and vowed to clear salary-cap space to lure free agents to the Big Apple: Do the Knicks have a realistic shot at landing LeBron James?

Twenty-five months later, we still don't know.

We know about the Cavaliers' built-in advantages when it comes to keeping James, even if he chooses to become a free agent this summer, as expected: He is a local hero for a winning team, and in Cleveland he can make a higher salary for more years than elsewhere.

We know that the Bulls can make the case to LeBron that his future would be brightest in Chicago, given their young, athletic talent -- and that the Nets can say the same of New Jersey and Brooklyn, with a Russian billionaire and a hip-hop legend able to offer a unique combination of international appeal and street cred.

And we know that Miami Heat president Pat Riley is cooking up a plan to keep his own superstar, Dwyane Wade, while adding another star or two, with a wish list that starts with LeBron.

What we don't know yet is whether the Knicks can successfully use the bright lights of New York to trump those other teams in the contest for LeBron's services.

But here's one thing we do know now, thanks to a well-placed source with knowledge of the Knicks' thinking: exactly how the Knicks will try to lure LeBron.

According to the source, the Knicks have not contacted any prospective free agents or their agents, given the NBA's strict rules on tampering with players on other teams. But the Knicks have been plotting their strategy for more than two years, and now they're ready to make their move on July 1 -- to enact their game plan to get LeBron.

And it's not only LeBron who interests the Knicks, according to the source -- they are also very interested in Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, as you'll see below.

When the Knicks brass makes its pitch to LeBron and his team of advisors, the source says these will be the talking points:


To read about the four-part plan the Knicks will use to try and land LeBron James, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Chad Ford | email

Senior Writer, NBA Insider