Al Jefferson (above).  Monta Ellis (below).

Though the Knicks were granted a clandestine second meeting with Lebron James on Saturday, media reports this morning state that James will choose between the Bulls, Cavs, and Nets, and that an announcement will come after Lebron completes a 3 day basketball camp for youths in Akron, Ohio–a sign that he might be planning to choose a new home.  James had said last week that he’d like to make a decision by today, but then recanted over the weekend, which could be an indication that he will not choose Cleveland.  If he were to choose Cleveland, he shouldn’t have any problem announcing the decision early with his basketball camp expected to be swarmed by media.

If James was not to choose Cleveland, it would make sense if he waited until later in the week to decide, after his camp wraps up.  It seems as though Dwayne Wade may be close to choosing Chicago.  ESPN reported yesterday that Wade made a statement to the affect that his decision will come down to what is best for his family.  Wade is involved in a custody dispute with his ex-wife, who also lives in Chicago, which is his hometown.

The Heat are expected to make a hard charging final push at Wade this week, and are pulling out all the stops in a frenzied effort to retain their championship calibre franchise player, whom they never expected to lose to free agency.,0,7054933.story

The New York Post has reported today that Golden State has contacted the Knicks about a sign and trade involving David Lee for guard Monta Ellis, and that Minnesota has contacted the Knicks about a sign and trade involving David Lee and big man Al Jefferson, who has been a rebounding machine for the woeful T-Wolves since being traded for Kevin Garnett 3 years ago.

A league source said the Knicks have been offered Golden State’s point guard Monta Ellis and Minnesota’s Al Jefferson for Lee in separate sign-and-trade scenarios. But the Knicks are handcuffed on all moves until they find out what LeBron James and Dwyane Wade do.

Lee, who made the All-Star Team for the first time, is almost guaranteed not to be a Knick next season. But he is amenable to pulling off a sign-and-trade instead of an outright signing because he would get the extra sixth year — at least $11 million.

It would be wise for Lee, who has scheduled visits to Northern California and Minnesota, to accept a sign and trade, as the 6th year that the Knicks only can offer amounts to a significant difference from the 5 year contracts that other teams can offer.

The Post also reports that the Nets, long believed to be interested in Lee, will meet with him soon.  Like the Knicks, the Nets are waiting for Lebron James to make a decision before proceeding with other players.

Al Jefferson’s career stats:

Career Averages

 Career   FG   3PT   FT   Rebounds   Misc
 Year Team G Min  M A Pct   M A Pct   M A Pct   Off Def Tot   Ast TO Stl Blk PF PPG  
 2004-05 BOS 71 14:48  2.8 5.2 52.9   0.0 0.0 0.0   1.2 1.9 63.0   1.7 2.7 4.4   0.3 0.9 0.3 0.8 2.8 6.7  
 2005-06 BOS 59 18:00  3.2 6.4 49.9   0.0 0.1 0.0   1.5 2.3 64.2   1.6 3.4 5.1   0.5 1.1 0.5 0.8 2.8 7.9  
 2006-07 BOS 69 33:36  6.6 12.8 51.4   0.0 0.0 0.0   2.9 4.3 68.1   3.4 7.5 11.0   1.3 2.0 0.7 1.5 3.4 16.0  
 2007-08 MIN 82 35:36  8.8 17.6 50.0   0.0 0.1 0.0   3.5 4.8 72.1   3.8 7.4 11.1   1.4 2.0 0.9 1.5 2.7 21.1  
 2008-09 MIN 50 36:42  9.7 19.5 49.7   0.0 0.1 0.0   3.7 5.0 73.8   3.4 7.5 11.0   1.6 1.8 0.8 1.7 2.8 23.1  
 2009-10 MIN 76 32:23  7.4 14.8 49.8   0.0 0.1 0.0   2.4 3.5 68.1   2.4 6.9 9.3   1.8 1.8 0.8 1.3 2.7 17.1  
 Career 407 28:36  6.4 12.7 50.3   0.0 0.1 0.0   2.5 3.6 69.3   2.7 5.9 8.7   1.2 1.6 0.7 1.3 2.9 15.3

The woefully thin Knicks should covet both Jefferson and Ellis, who are both only 25 years old.  Jefferson had a down year last year, and missed 32 games in 08-09, but overall has been a force in the low post for the lowly Timberwolves, who must view Lee as an upgrade over Jefferson, if they are willing to commit 6 years and close to $ 80 M on the Knick free agent.

For that reason, the probable addition of Stoudemire, the presence of Eddy Curry in a walk year, and the long standing absence of a viable point guard, it is still our preference that the Knicks pursue quick as lightning scoring machine Monta Ellis, who has stated a preference to wear the blue and orange.

Media reports that the Knicks still are pursuing G Mike Miller, but we have read that the Clippers and Cavaliers, in addition to the Lakers, are still in the mix for Miller, who is close friends with Lebron James.  Miller’s agent, Arn Tellem is good friends with Knicks’ President Donnie Walsh, and Miller was said to have hit it off with coach Mike D’antoni in face to face meetings in California at the opening of free agency.

Frankly, we could see another team being desperate enough to give Miller slightly more than the mid level exception, because their seems to be a storng market for his services around the league.  We could also see Miller making a better choice than the Knicks, that being the Lakers, which would be a dream scenario for the lights out perimeter shooter.

The Knicks are also said to be interested in point guard Carlos Rodriguez, and we hope, NYC product Rafer Alston, who has expressed an interest in joining the Knicks.  The Knicks pursuit of a point guard not named Monta Ellis was probably clouded by the $ 16 M/4 yr contract the Lakers lavished on Steve Blake in recent days.

The Knicks have made a slightly better showing out of the opening of free agency than expected, considering their woeful roster, owner, and head coach, and can actually greatly improve the team with the additions of Stoudemire and Ellis/Jefferson, and lesser signings, despite losing out on the marquis free agents that they have had their hearts set on since bringing Walsh to to town to run the team.

–Crack (