Over the past few seasons, the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets have stockpiled expiring contracts and players that may attract the loaded 2010 free agent class to come knocking. One player in particular stands above the rest of the free agent crop. His name is LeBron James.


As someone who has grown up in the Cleveland area and has seen James grow into the player that he is today, it is a long shot that he will dash to a new city if the Cleveland Cavaliers capture their first title. James’ goal to win multiple NBA titles has never waned and, if the Cavs do win this season, he will be passing on something that he may never get the opportunity to do again – that is being mentioned among the likes of Michael Jordan, Karim Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Russell.

Even though players like Oscar Robertson and Julius Erving were great players they are not always mentioned in the same class as the three aforementioned players and that is because of the lack of championships each has won. Much of the Cleveland media believes James will resign with Cleveland if the Cavs win a title even if it may only be a three or four year deal. This will give him leeway if Cavs fall out of contention over that span.

The Knicks and the Nets’ best shot at luring James to the Big Apple is if the Cavs fall short of an NBA Championship. That may have James thinking of teaming with another high profiled free agent in a different location to win a championship. If that is the case, the Knicks would be a fit. New York has the ability to sign two maximum contract players this offseason and James and a choice of Dewayne Wade or Chris Bosh, just to name a few, could be an intriguing combination with James.

The Nets are also intriguing – maybe more so than the Knicks. It is crazy to think that a 12-win team may be the right destination for King James, but look at the players they have in place. New Jersey has an all-star caliber guard in Devin Harris and an all-star caliber center in Brook Lopez. They also have the best odds at getting the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft, which would mean the rights to John Wall. This, however, isn’t guaranteed by any means. In fact, since the 2001 draft only two teams with the league’s worst record have won the NBA Draft Lottery.

If Wall is a Net, New Jersey can package either Courtney Lee or Harris for another need and the Nets would be a legitimate NBA team. Harris will get more value on the market and Lee is a natural shooting guard allowing Wall to be the point guard. If the Nets opt to move Lee, Wall or Harris will have to make the adjustment to shooting guard. Even if the Nets don’t end up with Wall, they still would be in a good position. It also doesn’t hurt to have new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, who is willing to do whatever it takes to bring James in, which was made clear by the Mike Krzyzewski rumor – a coach James loved playing for on Team USA. Oh, and Jay-Z, a close friend of James, is still a partial owner. The Nets may be a better fit for James than the Knicks, but the Cavs could be the best of the three especially if they win the first championship in the city of Cleveland since 1964.

Will the Cavaliers win a title? No one knows yet, but the Knicks and Nets will most certainly keep a close eye on their playoff run.