Yes, it’s time to move on. But I’d be remiss if I didn’t inform Knicks fans of just how close Lebron to NY came to happening.
The days leading up to the “Decision” were very hectic, and multiple sources who I’ve talked to over the past few weeks have filled me in on just how close James came to playing for the Knicks. In fact, his people, most notably Maverick Carter, were pushing New York tremendously contrary to pretty much every report that was made throughout the process. Ultimately, a source tells me, Lebron decided against the advice of his team and “decided to play with his friends.”
“Lebron’s team realized that NY was the fit and they were pushing him hard there. James had basically decided and contacted Amar’e Stoudemire to tell him to get ready,” the source said. “In the end, Lebron went over the heads of his team and chose Miami.”
On the Saturday before, we reported that the Knicks’ had a third meeting with Lebron’s people in Ohio. Two of the three were reported elsewhere, the third was immediately refuted. That meeting that including Scott O’Neil and Glen Grunwald was to iron out the numbers and finalize a deal to NY. When the Knicks finalized a deal for Amar’e Stoudemire Monday they had their first max player set, setting the stage to add another in James who seemed excited at the notion.
“I’m telling you that Amar’e swore Lebron would be a Knick 48 hours before the decision,” another source added.
To take it a step further, a source with close ties to Madison Square Garden told me a week after the decision that “employees were informed that Lebron was going to be at MSG Wednesday (July 7th) in the afternoon” and to “keep their mouths shut.”
Lebron never showed.
Moreover, a real estate agent who contacted TKB, said that James was very much interested in a posh pad in lower Manhattan but took his name out of consideration only to re-contact and restart negotiations on Tuesday.
While I could never confirm a meeting with the Knicks, TKB reported both Carter and Randy Mims were in town on Wednesday and that’s when all the steam of Lebron deciding on NY came to a head. Newsday reported first that Greenwich, CT was going to be the location for the announcement. It was also the same day that Jared Dudley and Chad Ocho Cinco went live that James was going to NY. Dudley and Stoudemire were friends and teammates in Phoenix. James was in town for Carmelo Anthony’s wedding, we were told, but after choosing Miami, he flew to South Beach and then heading back north after he, Wade and Chris Bosh were introduced. To this day Greenwich, CT still doesn’t make a shred of sense to be the location for a decision. Yes, the charity that received a very generous donation from the ad proceeds was the Boys and Girls Club, but the organization was founded in Hartford, CT, and it’s national headquarters, at one point, was in Atlanta. If Lebron were in town for Melo’s wedding, why not make the decision in Miami and fly to NY on Friday, which he ultimately ended up doing? Why not hold the announcement at ESPN in Bristol, or at the Hartford location?
What happened on Wednesday that caused all the momentum of New York to shift to Miami?
I never thought that James and Chris Bosh were a tandem, but I was wrong. Bosh was always the X-Factor, I’m told, ultimately in James’ decision for this reason. Bosh had already committed to Miami to play with Wade weeks before, but wasn’t interested in taking less than a max contract thus eliminating the possibility of a “Big 3.” He didn’t feel as if leaving money on the table was in his best interest because he couldn’t make up the difference in Miami in endorsements. But during the day Wednesday when all the focus shifted to New York, Bosh understood he was the hold up and that James would choose Miami if all three took pay cuts. They realized that Pat Riley was the key to them winning multiple titles. He agreed and that’s when word started to spread that Miami was, indeed, the destination. James was in.
Lebron’s team tried to change his mind at the last minute all day Thursday, pleading with him about legacy and how Miami wouldn’t be a better fit than New York, but in the end James felt the need to chase titles with his friends.
But, as we’ve told you here throughout the whole process, New York was very much in play up until Wednesday, regardless of what the national media led you to believe.