Los Angeles Lakers small forward LeBron James made the biggest headline in the summer of 2010 when he made a controversial decision as an unrestricted free agent. James ultimately ended up leaving the Cleveland Cavaliers to form a “Big Three” with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh on the Miami Heat. However, before he agreed to sign with the Heat, James had been heavily linked to another NBA team – the New York Knicks.
In a recent episode of The Bill Simmons Podcast, Bill Simmons of The Ringer discussed several topics, including James’ decision in the 2010 NBA free agency. Simmons revealed that the Knicks were James’ “first choice” before he had a “disaster” meeting with the team’s front office led by owner James Dolan.
“From everyone that I’ve talked to in the know since then, it’s clear that the Knicks were the first choice,” Simmons said, as quoted by Dan Feldman of NBC Sports. “And I’m sorry Knicks fans, earmuffs. But it was basically the Knicks’ to lose, and they just couldn’t stay out of their own way. And the stories are legendary. They had the legendary meeting. Donnie Walsh was in the wheelchair, and Dolan was Dolan. And it was just a complete – they didn’t have anything prepared. And it just couldn’t have gone worse, by all accounts. It was a disaster.”
Meeting one of the greatest basketball players of all time unprepared only showed how dysfunctional the Knicks’ front office was. Had they succeeded to acquire James, it would have immediately made them one of the heavy favorites to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy in the 2010-11 NBA season. Months after they failed to sign James in the 2010 NBA free agency, the Knicks had managed to acquire a big name, Carmelo Anthony, on the trade market when they engaged in a blockbuster deal with the Denver Nuggets before the 2011 February NBA trade deadline.
Unfortunately, though Anthony immediately made an impact when he arrived in New York, his only greatest achievement as a Knick was carrying the team to the second round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs. As of now, the Knicks remain as one of the worst teams in the league and still looking for legitimate NBA superstars that would bring them back to title contention.
Meanwhile, James had proved that he made the right decision to choose the Heat over the Knicks in the 2010 NBA free agency. The “Big Three” of James, Wade, and Bosh made four straight appearances in the NBA Finals and won back-to-back NBA championship titles in 2012 and 2013.