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"Can we just change New York's name to the New York Expiring Contracts?" -- 500 different readers
Done and done. It's certainly one of the weirdest situations in sports history: a franchise announcing, "We are throwing the next two years away, only our fans will hopefully be sophisticated enough to realize why we're doing it."
And they are. I don't know a single Knicks fan who isn't OK with this direction. Of course, if LeBron cares about winning titles over everything else, then Portland is the play unless Cleveland loads its team to the point that he'd be crazy to leave. But I think he cares about winning titles AND positioning himself as the most famous athlete alive. He's smart enough to know what the New York market means for him, as well as the hype/media/attention that accompanies a superstar moving to a mega-market in his prime. If he stays in Cleveland, he's treading water. If he moves to New York, that becomes the biggest sports story of that year. And for all the Global Icon things he wants to accomplish -- clothing lines, production companies, sponsors, etc. -- he needs to be in New York or L.A on a daily basis. Those are the two cities in which Global Icon stuff happens.
But here's the part that I love (just a pet theory of mine): Team LeBron is making everyone think they have a chance at LeBron in 2010 so multiple teams clear cap space and weaken themselves competitively in the short-term (like Detroit did) ... which inadvertently gives Bron a better chance to win a title over these next two years! It's devious and hilarious. I love it. I would do the same thing. Can't you see Worldwide Wes whispering to Dumars, "Yeah, LeBron loves Detroit, he could totally see himself there, you should kill your 2009 chances so we can maybe sign with you."
Fast-forward to two years later: "Sorry, Joe, I don't know what happened!"
Only they'll have that same conversation with eight teams. I love it. And yes, I totally subscribe to the "LeBron, Wade and Bosh agreed in China that they'd sign with the Knicks in two years" conspiracy theory even though there's no evidence to support it. Wouldn't that nucleus dominate the next decade? Wouldn't they lure every cheap veteran dying for a ring? I am truly terrified for the future.
Bill Simmons, Stephen A Smith, Jalen Rose and many others predict a nice future for the Knicks comes 2010. They all think that Walsh have a good plan and the Knicks have the best chance to become relevant again in couple of years.