Kobe and Co. toted the Larry O'Brien trophy down Figueroa street yesterday to the cheers of two million fans who flooded the streets. Yet the biggest prize of the summer won't be claimed until next month.
28.2 million people watched the final game of the NBA season last week. Yet millions more are far more excited for the first game of next season.
A league altering free agency period is approaching, and the biggest city in the world has spent the last two years contorting it's finances and bending over backwards Cirque du Solei-style for one reason; LeBron James.
Here are three ways New York can all but guarantee LBJ will rule MSG.
Get Chris Bosh on day one
New York needs it's pitchmen on LeBron James' doorstep the moment the league allows it. That team will have a heck of a sales pitch if exhibit A is Chris Bosh in a Knick's uniform.
I'm convinced that in Game Five of the Boston series , LeBron James took a step back, looked at his teammates, was disgusted, and saw his future in Cleveland as being surrounded by scrub players who shrink from the spotlight. For one game, or just one quarter, he needed his teammates to carry him the way Kobe's squad picked him up against the Celtics in Game Seven.
At that moment, Cleveland lost LeBron James. For a guy who's built like Karl Malone mixed with a Greek God, his shoulders are sore and tired . To win, he needs someone who can occasionally take the load. And for all the free agent pipe dreams (like LeBron and Wade taking their All-Star game alley-oop show on the road), it's James and Bosh who's games would mesh in perfection, like the synergistic relationship between The Mamba and The Spaniard.
Somehow, some way, the Knicks need to sign Chris Bosh on day one. Mr. Bosh already stated that he won't "sit around and wait ."
The Knicks can't sit and wait for LeBron either. Grab Bosh first, and that alone virtually guarantees that in a few months LeBron will be lacing up his new Nike branded blue and orange Knicks' Kicks.
Hire Mike Brown as the assistant coach
Mike Brown is a fantastic defensive coach, which is a reason why the Cavs always made it deep into the playoffs.
Mike Brown is a wretched offensive coach, which is a reason why the Cavs never went all the way in the playoffs.
Mike D'Antoni is a genius offensive coach, which is why his Suns teams always made it deep into the playoffs.
Mike D'Antoni is a lacking defensive coach, which is a reason why his Suns teams never won a championship.
Do I have to keep going? Bring in Mike Brown as the assistant coach/defensive coordinator in a Tom Thibodeau-like role. He becomes the yin to D'Antoni's yang. Both can focus on what they're great at, and LeBron likes Brown and is comfortable with him.
You might think that he wouldn't take an assistant coaching job after many successful years as a head coach, but James Dolan can offer a more lucrative contract than he ever got in Cleveland, and remember, coaching contracts don't count against the cap.
You're a world-class NBA franchise in a world class city
On July 1st, at 12:01 AM, LeBron James' phone will ring. And then ring some more. It will ring so much most of the calls will go straight to voice mail. Dozens of would-be suitors will be calling for dates, which they hope will progress to serious romances, a quick consummation, and a long-term commitment.
Like a love struck bride on her wedding day, New York is ready to give itself to LeBron James. There will be many others waiting at the altar, but New York has a major advantage; it can throw the biggest wedding on the biggest stage with the most famous guests.
The show that New York can put on is on a whole different level, with the amateurish Stay Here LeBron video , the best that Cleveland can do, reeking of desperation.
For someone who doesn't only want to rule the basketball world, but the actual world, the draw of New York is undeniable.
Not only that, but the other suitors in the courtship for LeBron have blemishes of their own. Cleveland just lost Danny Ferry and doesn't have a coach.The Bulls have the hard headed Jerry Reinsdorf and a general manager who punches coaches. The Nets are trying to turn around, but were the worst team in the league last year and play in one of the worst areas. The Timberwolves are the Timberwolves, the Kings are the Kings, and the Clippers are the Clippers. Only the Heat can stake a claim as a great city with great ownership.
Most importantly, LeBron needs someone in the front office he can trust, like Kobe had with Jerry West for so many years. Donnie Walsh carries more clout than any other general manager in the league. He's already done the impossible, clearing the stench of Isiah in a quick two-seasons (well, Eddy Curry still leaves a butt print on the bench, but can be flipped this season for something useful).
LeBron James knows this next contract will encompass his prime years, and his legacy for all generations. With a great player on the court, great coaches on the sidelines, and great management in the front office, the Knicks can guarantee that LeBron will be making that legacy in the league's biggest city.
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