LOS ANGELES - If LeBron James and Tracy McGrady end up as teammates, that union of All-Star swingmen might have to take place in Cleveland.

While discussing his own future with the Knicks, McGrady revealed Sunday that he believes James, expected to be the top free agent of the 2010 class, isn't coming to New York.

"To me, in my honest opinion, I don't see it happening," said McGrady, who missed Sunday night's 113-107 win over the Clippers with a sore knee. "I really don't. It's set for him right now."

That's a dramatic change in thinking from when McGrady joined the Knicks in February and was optimistic about the possibility of playing with James in New York. Although McGrady told reporters that he "would love" to play for the Knicks next season, there is a sense that he has soured on the club.

Mike D'Antoni has reportedly let it be known that he doesn't want McGrady back. D'Antoni has denied making up his mind on McGrady, and there is also the issue that the final call on whether to re-sign McGrady will be made by team president Donnie Walsh.

The fact that an unfavorable story about McGrady's future surfaced and quoted unnamed sources close to D'Antoni could be potentially damaging to the Knicks' free-agent plans. Walsh believes that D'Antoni's strength this summer will be to recruit free agents to New York. However, he has had a falling-out with several former and current Knicks, including Larry Hughes, Nate Robinson and Eddy Curry.

All three have strong connections with James
, and players do tend to talk. McGrady is respected around the league and anything he says about the Knicks - either positive or negative - could resonate with his NBA brethren.

And his experience with the Knicks hasn't been good. The team continues to fall in the standings and reports that D'Antoni doesn't want McGrady back don't help matters. In fact, McGrady joked that top free agents don't want to come to New York "because of you guys" - a reference to the three New York newspaper reporters traveling with the team. Coincidentally, the Lakers' Ron Artest said in November that players are afraid of the New York media.

Of course, McGrady has a say in his future and there is no guarantee that he wants to return. McGrady said last night that he wouldn't consider the Knicks unless they sign two elite free agents and he feels that James and Dwyane Wade will re-sign with their respective clubs.

"This is definitely my final run and I want to make sure this is the right decision," said the 30-year-old McGrady. "I know I'm not in a position to make a lot of money, I've been hurt.

"I'm not looking to go in anywhere and be the man again. My time on that is past. But I still can be an effective ballplayer. ... I don't care about being the man."

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