With LeBron James still on the open market, teams are still holding out hope there’s a chance to convince him to leave Miami. The Knicks are one of them, and Phil Jackson is reportedly trying to move salary to make a late run at LeBron.
The Knicks don’t have the cap space to make LeBron a competitive offer, but that can change if they find a taker for Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani, who have expiring contracts next season totaling approximately $34 million.
According to Marc Berman of The New York Post, Phil is trying to make a pairing of Carmelo Anthony and LeBron in New York a possibility:
According to a friend of Anthony’s, Melo has held out faint hope Knicks president Phil Jackson can pull a miracle and clear out the necessary salary-cap space to get it done, but he is running out of time. Anthony’s decision could come in the next couple of days.
It would require Jackson to ship out Amar’e Stoudemire and Andrea Bargnani’s expiring contracts, and for Anthony and James to take less than the max. Iman Shumpert might have to be dealt, and the rights to Jeremy Tyler renounced.
One report said Jackson conceivably can move $40 million under the cap with a flurry of moves — as long as he doesn’t take back salary.
“He really wants LeBron to come to New York,’’ the source said. “That’s his dream right now. Phil is trying to get it done.’’
The reports of ‘Melo wanting to team up with LeBron are nothing new. The Knicks could find a suitor for the expiring contracts in the Philadelphia 76ers, who have cap room and are in no rush to contend at the moment. Except getting a team to do you a favor comes at a price. In this case, the 76ers would likely ask for either Shumpert or Tim Hardaway Jr. to be included in the deal.
Along with recent draft picks Cleanthony Early and Thanasis Antetokounmpo, the Knicks are finally starting to accumulate young, cheap talent, which is a prerequisite in today’s NBA to contend — especially if you’re building around a max player like ‘Melo.
To give up some of these assets just for a faint hope of luring LeBron to New York seems unwise. Still, until LeBron commits to signing somewhere, teams like the Knicks will continue to do what they can to make sure they’re ready should the best player in the world want to sign.
Or, it could be Phil is doing this just for appearances in an effort to appease ‘Melo and let him know the team is doing all it can to improve the roster. After all, the Knicks are still waiting for a commitment from him as well.
What do you think?
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