The Knicks will be in Cleveland on Thursday afternoon, making their pitch to LeBron James — you can be the biggest star on the biggest stage. We can bring in another star with you. There is nothing like winning in New York.
But hours before they do that, they will be pitching Joe Johnson and Amare Stoudemire on reuniting with Mike D’Antoni in New York, according to Alan Hahn at Newsday.
They will meet with Johnson and Stoudemire on Wednesday night in Los Angeles, just minutes after the free agency period begins, then fly overnight to Cleveland, he reports.
For years, LeBron has been the Plan A in New York. Problem is, if winning really matters to James, it’s a long shot. The Knicks have admirably cleared the decks of an endless stream of bad contracts and are ready to rebuild. But other teams are a lot closer to a title. A lot.
The Knicks realize this, and they are hedging their bets.
The Johnson/Stoudemire Plan B is not LeBron but it is not bad either. It would be the most talented Knicks team in a decade instantly. They would win some games, be entertaining, be respected and show the ship is turning around.
One little fly in the ointment — in Phoenix there was Steve Nash. He fed Stoudemire rolling to the rim and Johnson spotted up at the arc. New York doesn’t have Steve Nash or even a bad facsimile of him. The Knicks would need to find or trade for a free agent point guard who can run the show.
The other little problem — Stoudemire and Johnson could both stay where they are. Stoudemire and Suns owner Robert Sarver will meet this week, although Amare is largely expected to test the market. Johnson and the Hawks ownership will meet and if, as rumored, they offer him a maximum extension, that would be hard to turn down.
But the Knicks can’t focus on that, because they don’t want to go to Plan C.