PLAN-B: Joe Johnson, Amar'e, D-Lee !!!
Make it happen!
Obviously, Lebron James and Chris Bosh are plan-A. When the clock strikes midnight on July 1st, I would pursue Bosh with everything I had. I would make him target #1. If we signed Bosh, we would become the favorites to land Lebron. Make BOSH feel like the king, appeal to his ego, convince him to sign quickly (doing so would attract LJ) and see what happens.
BUT, I would give this 48 hours to a week. I would send D'ant and Walsh to the meeting with Lebron, but then leave it at that. Begging wont help and it demeans us. By July 2nd, I'm putting calls to JJ, Lee and Amar'e and planting a seed.... I ask for a visit from JJ & Amar'e, at the same time, and sell them the idea together.... and I bring Lee in as well. I do this next Sat. I float the idea out there, and to be honest, whatever duo (James-Bosh) or trio (JJ, Amar'e, Lee) signs up first gets the blue ribbon!
Personally, I think plan-B should be Joe Johnson, Amar'e and David Lee.
If the Knicks have room to sign TWO max contracts, then why not sell the idea of winning to this trio (hoping they could all share the same pie).
If James-Bosh go to CHI, that means both will leave money on the table to play on a winning team. You have to fight might with might. SO, we can say to both Amare and JJ that we could offer them each the max contract, but that leaves little room to do much else. Sell them the notion that if we win then there will be tons of money out there for them to recoup off the court.
HOWEVER, if they settle for less than the max, then we might be able to squeeze Lee in under the cap as well... giving the team the talent it needs to compete in the Eastern Conference....
This could work. We could split up the free agent pie amongst these 3, telling Lee and JJ that they'll get less this year, but a bump next year when we can split Curry's 10 mill between the two.
If we have about 32 mil.... Just do the math. 14 to Amar'e, 9 mil to Lee and JJ each.
If push comes to shove, I actually tell JJ-Amar'e that unless they abide by these terms, then it makes little sense for us to extend them an offer at all!
Explain to JJ that this must be if he wants to be in NY, and to Amar'e-Lee that taking a few mil less helps them b/c it means they get a PG to run the system in JJ.
I doubt it works, but I think this would be a pretty decent concillation prize.
Walker, Douglas, Curry, Barron on the bench (with the rookies), and possibly a MLE vet.
It may not be better than CHI or ORL, but it's certainly in the top-4.... And who knows what happens in a given 2 weeks when we collide with CHI-ORL in the playoffs.
JJ is running out of options (If CHI signs Bosh-LJ); and Amar'e, like JJ, might like a reunion with their former coach. Lee comes from money, so an offer in the 9 mil range will keep him in NYC.
Even if we get 2 of these guys, then we should be competitive. Getting all 3 though would make us players again!