Byron Scott

Since word was released earlier that Lebron James plans to make his free agent choice on ESPN live Thursday At 9 PM EST from a Boys and Girls Club facility in Greenwich, Connecticut, which is only minutes from the New York Knicks’ practice facility at SUNY Purchase in Rye, New York, speculation has been rampant that the prized free agent is set to join the New York Knicks.  The Knicks, who were the only team to receive a second audience with James of the 6 suitors, were said to have sought James’ blessing on the free agent acquisition of Amar’e Stoudemire, which James granted.  Also, at that 2nd meeting, James’ agent is believed to have discussed with the Knicks in detail their plans to continue to improve the team, which included a conversation about the salary cap space that New York will have after the 2010-2011 season, and the Knicks’ ability to sign another max contract free agent, which they assured James’ representatives they would be able to do.

Other signs that seem to favor the Knicks today are a noticeable rise in the value of Madison Square Garden stock, and tweets by Stoudemire’s former Phoenix teammate and close friend, Jared Dudley, stating that James will announce tomorrow that he is signing with New York.

Aside from Greenwich being a short drive from the Knicks training facility in Greenburgh, NY, former Suns teammate of Amar’e Stoudemire, Jared Dudley, posted on his Twitter account earlier Monday, “Breaking News!!! My sources tell me LeBron will announce that he will be goin to the NY KNICKS tomorrow on ESPN.. This is serious.. WOW!!!!”

And if you’re trying to read the tea leaves, shares of Madison Square Garden Inc. (MSG) rose 6.4 percent today.

Though the article linked above was co-written by NY Daily News Knicks’ beat writer Frank Isola, Isola appeared via telephone with Chris “Mad Dog” Russo on Mad Dog Radio on Sirius XM Satellite Radio in the past hour, and downplayed James to New York, while predicting that James will remain in Cleveland.  Frankly, and this comes from a devout Knick fan, Isola is a very poor Knicks’ reporter, who has only been updating his Knicksnation blog about once a day, despite myriad developments over the last week involving the Knicks.

Isola offered zero information in his 20 minute spot with Russo, downplayed Dudley’s twitter remarks, and surmised out loud that James is going to pick Cleveland from Connecticut as a means of creating a smoke screen, because James likes the drama and suspense he has created, and any announcement coming from Ohio would be read into that James will obviously return to Cleveland.  This situation is entirely unique in sport where a professional athlete calls his own press conference to announce a free agent destination, but when high school recruits do so, generally the school of choice does already know of the athlete’s decision.

Could Isola know more than he lets on and be sworn to secrecy, like everyone is at ESPN, where some surely must know what team James chose, but who will not say a thing and risk compromising their prime time ratings tomorrow night?  Isn’t the team James chooses going to be eager to in the very least put a uniform and hat on James and get some photos with their new or returning star?  The proximity of Greenwich to the Knicks’ training facility in Rye would allow the Knicks the easiest access to James in Connecticut, while offering Cleveland the worst access.  Greenwich is widely considered to be Knicks’ country.  James obviously has known what team he will choose for at least a day, since making the announcement that he will make the announcement live in the 9 to 10 PM slot Thursday evening on ESPN.  James probably made his decision as soon as he knew that Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade were signing with Miami.

Whereas many, including Isola, have suggested that James is “too good a guy” to go on national television and completely destroy a city, and that announcing he is leaving Cleveland in this manner would be akin to stabbing Cleveland in the back, others feel that James will make his announcement devoid of sentiment, and will choose based on what is best for his career going forward.  A major factor in that line of reasoning would have to be Chris Bosh’s rejection of a sign and trade to Cleveland yesterday, which would clearly delineate to deluded Clevelanders that real NBA stars not from Ohio do not want any part of living in Ohio, even if it meant a chance to play with James.  James one time good friend and teammate, Carlos Boozer, also jilted James once, leaving Cleveland as a free agent, though he pledged not to, to play for the Utah Jazz.  Boozer, another highly sought free agent this year, agreed to a 5 yr, $ 80 M deal with Chicago this afternoon.

James’ mother Gloria was said to have a sexual relationship with James’ Cleveland teammate Delonte West, who Cleveland is desperately trying to trade, probably in a last ditch effort to appease James any way they can.  West was rumored to be part of the Bosh proposed sign and trade, and was rumored this morning to be in separate deals, some alongside Jamario Moon, so that Cleveland could make additional cap space.

If James chooses the Knicks, I for one feel the Knicks owe a great debt to Bosh, whose decision to nix Cleveland yesterday was monumental.  If the Knicks lose out on the guy who has been the apple of their eye for years, they will probably try to improve their roster by exploring sign and trade options in which they dealt David Lee.

Though one prominent New York name in sports doesn’t think it will come to that.  Yankees GM Brian Cashman said this week he fully expects James to make the best decision for himself, and predicted the star would sign with the Knicks.


Crack (

This morning came word out of Toronto that the Raptors were willing to do a sign and trade with Cleveland that would send Chris Bosh (above) to Cleveland to play for new coach Byron Scott and perhaps along side Lebron James.  Toronto, who had balked at signing and trading Bosh to teams he appeared to be colluding with James and Wade about, must not view it as a bad thing to see the Cavs keep James.  Bosh would go to Cleveland in exchange for a package including Anderson Verajao, Anthony Parker, and Delonte West, rumored to have had a sexual relationships with the mother of Lebron James.

The Toronto Raptors have told the Cleveland Cavaliers they will do a sign-and-trade with them for Bosh, according to several league sources.

The exact details of the potential trade have not been solidified, but Toronto likely would get Anderson Varejao and/or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West and perhaps Anthony Parker. A draft pick could be involved as well.

The only problem is that Bosh has negged the deal, as people close to him have said that he wants no part in playing for or living in Cleveland.  This could illustrate two very important points about Bosh–that he isn’t married to a 6 yr deal, and that he has been telling the truth about his preference to play in a warm weather city.  Both factors could be looked at as positives for the Heat, who would love to snag Bosh, which would probably be the linchpin of their plan to keep Dwayne Wade, who is said to be seriously considering Chicago.

Since Amar’e Stoudemire agreed to a 5 yr, $ 99.7 M contract with the Knicks Monday, much has been made of the fact that the Knicks sought Lebron James’ blessing for such a move, giving rise to the scenario pitched in Sunday’s New York Post by Peter Vecsey, that James or Wade would rather play with Stoudemire in New York as opposed to Cleveland and Miami, respectively, with no other star to ride shotgun, an idea disgusted in the link directly above.

Despite the fact that the Bulls are blessed with the better roster, many have recently voiced their opinion that James would sign with the Knicks, inlcuding New York Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman, ESPN Radio’s Brandon Tierney, and’s Chris Sheridan.

The Knicks will wait on Lebron James’ decision before exploring sign and trade options for David Lee.  Both Monta Ellis and Al Jefferson have been mentioned as possibilities.  Also, the Knicks are said to be very interested in free agent point guard Raymond Felton.

Chris Bosh may be helping the Knicks enormously with his refusal, so far, to go to Cleveland.  Time will tell soon enough.

–Crack (

Dwayne Wade (above).

Long time NY Post NBA columnist Peter Vecsey has an interesting theory on the Knicks’ chances to land Lebron James or Dwayne Wade.  Basically, he feels that if Lebron or Wade pick Chicago, that Bosh will follow suit with either, and that the player left out of the mix in Chicago would rather join Stoudemire and the Knicks’ band of misfits, than return to Cleveland or Miami, without a legitimate second option.

“If the Knicks indeed have gotten a commitment from Amar’e, the reasons for doing so may have less to do with their love of the player and more to do with a strategy for reeling in LeBron or Dwyane Wade,” underlines column contributor Daniel Wallach.

“I get the feeling that Chris Bosh will blindly follow LeBron or Wade. Assuming that happens, what does the other player do? If Bosh joins LeBron in Chicago, there’s no way Wade returns to Miami (no running mate other than Carlos Boozer or David Lee). So, he’ll join Amar’e in New York. The same thing may apply to LeBron; if Bosh joins Wade in Miami, that removes Chicago as an option for LeBron and he’ll likely have to choose between New York (a pairing with Amar’e) or return to Cleveland.

“So, smart play by Walsh, grabbing the low-hanging fruit [Amar’e]. … Does that explain why the Knicks jumped on Amar’e early?”

It’s a nice theory, but I’d have to disagree.  Vecsey initially discusses how the Knicks and Nets both probably insulted Lebron with marketing pitches when his entire inner circle of advisors have been prepping him along the same lines, and they are all Ohio based.  Vecsey called the Knicks/Nets’ approach akin to treating James as though he had just “fallen off a turnip truck.”

Frankly, his baby momma and his high school coach are in no position to advise Lebron beyond their own interests, which lie in Cleveland.  Cleveland is one big turnip truck compared to New York, Chicago, or Miami.  If James wants to be the top dog in Cleveland with Antawn Jamison riding shot gun, well, he’s been there and done that.  And Byron Scott is a worse coach than Mike Brown, with a lacking work ethic which has been exposed at all of his head coaching stops.

Since Scott just got to Cleveland, his job is a lot safer than say, Mike D’antoni’s. 

As far as Wade leaving Miami just because Miami doesn’t land Bosh, I don’t see that.  First off, Bosh is not a player with big endorsement deals.  He needs to get a max contract, and he needs most a sign and trade, because Toronto can offer him an extra year at $ 30 M that no one else can.  Toronto has said that they are not willing to entertain a sign and trade, probably because they are upset with Bosh’s public stance, and the appearance that Bosh, James, and Wade have colluded to orchestrate and control this year’s free agent market.

Wherever Chris Bosh heads next, he’ll likely have to do so on his own — and at a slightly discounted rate.

 The Toronto Raptors have become increasingly disenchanted with the idea of helping Bosh obtain a maximum contract via a sign-and-trade deal, according to a league source.

 Because of the higher annual raises and additional year a “home” team can offer its own player, Bosh could make $125.5 million over six years if he re-signed with the Raptors and they moved him elsewhere; he could make $96.1 million over five years by signing outright with another team.

 The difference in the first five years of the deal would amount to $4 million.

Sign-and-trades allow for players to obtain the most money while their old team benefits by at least getting some assets in return.

 The right combination of players, manageable contracts, draft picks and a trade exception could have enticed the Raptors to accommodate Bosh.

The Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, San Antonio Spurs, Cleveland Cavaliers and New York Knicks are believed to have submitted trade proposals for Bosh to the Raptors, and apparently none has impressed Toronto.

So Bosh is going to pass up $ 130 M for a $ 75-96 M deal?  Maybe for the 96 M, but Joe Johnson had similar opportunities, and opted against leaving Atlanta and the extra $ 3o M.  Supposedly the Heat lobbied Bosh on a $ 75 M deal, and that didn’t go over with Bosh, the new king of Twitter.  That deal was to be predicated on Wade and James also taking $ 75 M deals from a delusional Pat Riley.

Whether Bosh takes a 5 yr deal from a new team or a 6 yr deal from his old team, he will be taking a max contract only.  With Wade seeming to love his hometown team, the Bulls, and their pitch for his services, that could open up a max slot in Miami for Bosh, who has always stated a preference to play for a warm weather city, but despite his myriad of stupid tweets, the true and only real mandate he has is to get paid.

Does anyone see frugal Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf splurging on two max players, with must keep players Derek Rose and Joakim Noah also eventually requiring max contracts?

While I disagree with Vecsey and his ghost writers, it would be quite a coup if the Knicks luck into Dwayne Wade because James picked Chicago and Riley was unable to land Wade a running mate in Miami, or James left Cleveland for the same reason. 

But my hopes are nice and low, and I feel the Knicks best chance to get another major impact player is via trade at this point, despite the delusions and speculation of the New York media.  Wade and Bosh to Miami could easily work, with James going to Chicago, and the undeserving Knicks get nada.

–Crack (

Tom Izzo (above), who spurned the Cavaliers tonight to stay with the Michigan State Spartans.

It has been the biggest lingering question about the Cavaliers pursuit of Michigan State coach Tom Izzo to take their head job: What would LeBron James think? Because right now all things Cavaliers revolve around what LeBron James wants and thinks. When they order new pens for the Cavaliers offices they ask, “What color pens does LeBron like best?”

On the coaching front, LeBron likes Izzo, according to Brian Windhorst at the Cleveland Plain Dealer. And Windhorst has more sources than the CIA. Or at least more reliable ones.

James would “100 percent endorse” Izzo as the coach, Windhorst’s source reports.

Previous reports had suggested James wanted a successful former NBA coach to be his next coach. Someone with experience at the highest level. Izzo, while very respected, has never coached an NBA game. But apparently LeBron likes him.

With Lebron onboard with Cleveland owner Dan Gilbert’s decision to hire 6 time final four coach, and former NCAA championship coach Tom Izzo, who Gilbert has admired as an MSU alum, it came as a surprise, albeit a mild one, that Izzo announced this evening that he will be leaving Cleveland at the altar, and remaining in East Lansing.  So with Izzo all but agreeing to a 5 yr/$3oM deal with Cleveland over the weekend, and then receiving the King’s approval, what could have happened to derail the Izzo to Cleveland train?

We have our theories. 

There’s the Billy Donovan theory.  Donovan, a 2 time national champion at Florida had an opportunity to go to the Orlando Magic, where super star center Dwight Howard was already locked in.  Donovan did not sign on the dotted line while in Orlando despite agreeing to the deal.  The next day Donovan apologized to the world, but announced he was staying in Gainesville.

Could Izzo have gotten homesick for East Lansing before ever officially leaving?  It’s very possible.  But more likely that Lebron James’ recent endorsement of the move seriously clouded matters for Izzo, as opposed to making them more simple.  Izzo’s agent could have perceived that the coach was worth a hell of a lot more than $6M annually, given the likelihood that Izzo to Cleveland would greatly enhance Cleveland’s ability to bring their super star back.  To me, a coach able to attract and keep stars is in Phil Jackson’s salary stratosphere, closer to $9-10M per.

Izzo probably had the MSU boosters in his ear telling him that Lebron was still no lock to be in Cleveland next year, and that even if he did re-sign, it might only be for 3 years.  And still other confidantes convinced that James will be in Chicago or New York next season, no matter how much he likes Tom Izzo.

Where does Cleveland turn to now?  Not sure they will, but Mark Jackson will make an excellent coach in the league, and he relates well to the modern player.  Byron Scott seems to be the popular notion, however.

Be a Knick,

Crack (