The Chicago Bulls, the Miami Heat… the candidates to sign LeBron James in 2010 were obviously numerous. But for months, everything indicated the King had an interest in the New York Knicks. And maybe even more than that. In fact, many people already imagined the Akron native arriving in Manhattan.
“Everyone on the record at the time told me the Knicks were the favorites,” Bill Simmons notes in his podcast. “And I’m sorry for the Knicks fans, cover your ears. But the Knicks just had to not screw up. And of course, they couldn’t help it. The anecdotes are legendary. “
How the Chicago Bulls nearly reunited LeBron, Wade and Bosh in 2010
According to sources reported at the time, the Knicks focused their rally on money. They did a whole study to show LeBron James that only in New York City could he become a billionaire. By showing that his business opportunities would be multiplied in the big apple. No doubt true. But the superstar was already a global icon even while playing in Cleveland. He was going to attract sponsors anyway, sell shirts and shoes.
After years of failures, he also wanted to win. The Knicks weren’t prepared enough for that. They tried to sell a pitch with a potential trio aroundAmar’e Stoudemire and Joe Johnson. Except that to train it, everyone would have had to accept a salary well below the market. Above all, neither of the other two All-Stars had given their consent at the time.
« Donnie Walsh [le GM] was in a wheelchair and Dolan did Dolan, ”says Simmons. “The meeting couldn’t be worse. It was a disaster. “
James Dolan, the owner of the Knicks, was handing out his CDs at free agent meetings that year… completely off the mark. When the leaders realized that they had missed their chance, they pushed for a second interview. With this time the signature of Stoudemire in his pocket.
LeBron James did not want to participate in the second meeting. But his entourage assured the meeting. Dolan then sent … Isiah Thomas, as legendary as a player as catastrophic as an NBA leader. And obviously, it didn’t work.
Afterwards, could the Knicks really get the upper hand on the Heat’s offer, where James had the chance to play with his friends? Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh ? It’s hard to believe that he would have really signed in New York. The opportunity presented by Miami was too interesting from a sporting and human point of view. But it shows yet again how mismanaged the Knicks have been for too long now.