If you happen to have the honor of being the first player the Knicks chase after come July 1st, 2010, the Knicks may give you one great advantage most other teams do not: you get to pick your teammates.
Well, sort of.
No matter what kind of money New York is going to throw at you to come play ball at the world’s most famous arena, New York will be able to afford a nearly identical max contract to another player, which ever you like.
If your name happens to be LeBron James, you could pick Dwayne Wade, you could pick Chris Bosh or a player like Joe Johnson. Since the Knicks only have four players under contract for 2010-2011, you may have your say in who else to bring on board beyond the other max contract. We need role players as we have only two: Danilo Gallinari will be our young super-sized Manu Ginobili next season, and Toney Douglas will be a 6’2″ version of Nate Robinson off the bench.
Pardon my frankness, but, if you stay in a podunk 2nd rate town like Cleveland, will you have that same kind of flexibility?
Yes, yes, I’ve heard people say Cleveland is in first place in the east, they’ve had the best record the past two seasons and have bent over backwards to bring LeBron the team he can win a title with.
But what exactly have they built? Are Shaq and Jamison going to be here 3 years from now? Varejao will, yes, but I would argue that Varejao isn’t better than David Lee overall, he might be more defensively sound, but to my knowledge Varejao is not an all-star and David Lee is.
We also have the advantage when it comes to the coach. Mike D’Antoni is a coach that had worked with most of the big-name free agents O’ 2010. They tasted glory in Beijing by bringing home the Olympic gold medal. Winning the gold was not a walk in the park like it was in 1992. The competition-Varajaw included-has improved as talent starts sprouting up all over the globe.
Is it a no-brainer for the big guns to come to New York? No. They have their homes now and they must decide to stay put or start packing.
But is it right to think that no one will want to come to New York and help design their own team for over the next ten years?
C’mon now. Just because Charles Barkley says something doesn’t make it true.