Yesterday, a New York Appellate Court rejected a lawsuit brought by a number of activist groups in Brooklyn in a decision that appears to have cleared the final legal hurdle for the Atlantic Yards project. The lawsuit claimed that Nets owner Bruce Ratner and his Forest City real estate group didn’t adequately judge the environmental impact and terrorism threat that the proposed project would have on the city. Construction will begin for the entire project including the state-of-the-art Barclays’ Arena within the next 3-4 months and is scheduled to be completed for the start of the 2011-12 season.
Now, this begins the snowball effect. Prior to yesterday’s controversial decision I put the odds of LeBron being in a Knicks uniform at 99.9%. Put simply, the Commish would not let him sign elsewhere. The Nets’ moving to Brooklyn was the only wrench that could be thrown into the inevitable.
So, what would draw LeBron to the Nets? His relationship with Jay-Z, the idea of playing with a core of Devin Harris (if he re-signs), Brook Lopez, Vince Carter, and Yi Jianlian, not to mention the fact that their 2010-11 payroll situation is much more flexible than ours, especially with the threat of a hard cap being enacted.
The appeal of the Knicks is his relationship with D’Antoni, an offensive system that every player dreams about, and you hope the attraction of playing in the Garden. Unfortunately the factor that separated the Knicks (the earning potential from advertising in New York) is now neutralized by the Nets’ move.
At the very least, the activist groups were successful in delaying the construction of Atlantic Yards by two years, and the Nets’ lease with the Meadowlands runs out after next season. So, if LeBron does sign with the Nets his arrival in Brooklyn would be delayed one season and it leaves the team with very little options. The state will hold all the leverage in a negotiation process for a lease of the new arena in Newark. Does the state’s sports and exposition authority allow the Nets to sign a 1-year lease in Newark? The Meadowlands? Will they be forced to accept a one-year banishment to Nassau Coliseum? It’s hard to imagine LeBron willing to sacrifice one year playing in Uniondale. (Nothing personal, Long Islanders)
So, this is an incredibly premature question because it all depends on the Cavs’ winning a championship in the next two seasons, but let’s get a gauge of this. Put yourself in LeBron’s shoes and make his decision.
A little off topic, but I did a ton of research on the Atlantic Yards project for a paper and this was a very disappointing decision. We’re obviously not a political blog here but it was just evidence that if you’re wealthy and have friends in high places you can get away with anything. In fact, one judge wrote in his concurring decision that “his hands were tied.” The bottom line is that justice did not prevail.
I took a long break to study for the bar exam but I’m done and it’s good to be back and posting on TKB, I look forward to some banter with the gym rats in the comments section.