Why Not Signing Lebron James in 2010 Was Best for Knicks


Editor’s note: This is satire. The views and opinions in this article are for entertainment purposes only.

In July 2010, Lebron James infamously went on ESPN and announced “the decision” to leave Cleveland Cavaliers and sign with the Miami Heat.

It wasn’t all that shocking, as many people had been reporting in the days prior that this was destined to happen, especially once Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade both committed to Miami days earlier.

Lebron chose the Heat over the Cavs, Nets, Bulls and Knicks. Knicks fans really thought they had the best shot and were heartbroken not to land the best player in the game.

But are the Knicks better off having not signed Lebron? Well, the obvious answer is no. But sometimes the obvious answer isn’t always the right one.

Here are 9 reasons to justify why not signing Lebron turned out to be a good thing for the Knicks.

1. Low expectations

Lebron on the Knicks would’ve meant championship aspirations every year. That’s cool, but if the Knicks didn’t win the title or at least made the Finals, fans would have been heartbroken. And the media? You think the national coverage of the Knicks is bad now? You think the trolling and the mockery is insufferable now?? Imagine if the Knicks were the team that lost to Dallas in 2011, instead of the Heat. ESPN would NEVER let you forget about it.

Now, there’s no heartbreak! Sure, there’s sadness and frustration during a long stretch of misery. But at least it’s expected. You can’t anticipate or expect heartbreak, it just happens.

2. Pricey tickets

Attending a game at Madison Square Garden is already an extremely expensive activity, and the Knicks have been mostly awful for 20 years. Imagine if they were actually good? Casual fans and even the most hardcore fans, would have eve more difficulty obtaining tickets.

3. Lebron’s “posse”

In 2016, Phil Jackson (than-President of the Knicks) referred to Lebron”s business partners as his “posse”. One benefit James did not have in Miami that he had in Cleveland was having a say in both the roster and front office. James was able to recruit his pals and give input to management on who to sign or trade and who to hire, including, at times, his close friends.

Knicks owner James Dolan is better off having the power to hire and fire whomever he wants, and avoid the inevitable turmoil that would arise from hiring Lebron’s friends. It’s important to have stability in your front office.

4. Rest > Work

From 2011-2018, James led his team to the NBA Finals for 8 straight years. In theory, that’s awesome because isn’t that the goal? But the truth is, it’s exhausting. Playing into June every year, means less rest before the next season and ultimately wears on your body.

Knicks haven’t played into June since 1999 and haven’t even made the playoffs in 7 years. Could this be by design? Perhaps the Knicks feel it’s better to keep some of the young guys fresh and rested for the next year? Either way it’s good to end the year in April and spend more time with your family and resting, then having to go to work every day.

It also saves fans plenty of money (see point #2 above) having to only attend 41 home games and no additional playoff ones.

5. Amare Stoudemire 2011 breakthrough

In 2011, Amare was a treat to watch! At one point, before the Carmelo Anthony trade, he had 20+ points in 26 straight games, which includes a stretch of 30+ in 9 straight games. Lebron’s presence likely would have limited this type of production from Amare and that would have been a shame.

6. Carmelo Anthony trade

It’s likely the Knicks would have pulled the trigger on a trade for Carmelo in 2011, even with Lebron on board. But Melo and Stoudemire played so well together. Would a big 3 really have worked? Probably not.

7. No Linsanity?

Would Lebron’s presence mean no Linsanity? Jeremy Lin broke out in 2011-12. While Stoudemire and Anthony were out with injuries, Lin became a star. Given that Lebron is never hurt and would have maintained the spotlight, it’s possible Lin never would have received an opportunity.

Sure, the season ended in disappointment. But Linsanity is still one of the peaks of the last decade for the Knicks. Take away that moment and what do Knicks fans have…the draft?

Speaking of which…

8. Lack of draft picks

Since Lebron entered the league in 2003, his teams have missed the playoffs just 3 times. Over that same span, the Knicks have made the playoffs just 4 times.

Signing Lebron would have meant a lack of high lottery picks, disappointing considering how much Knicks fans annually anticipate the lottery and the draft itself.

Between 2011-2014 (when Lebron was on Heat), Knicks drafted Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway Jr in the first round and since 2015, have drafted Kristaps Porzingis, Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, RJ Barrett, and Obi Toppin.

Hardaway was used as an asset to unload an injured Porzingis last year and there’s a decent chance that most, if not all of their last 4 picks (Frank, Knox, Barrett, Toppin) are future All Stars in New York. It’s hard to image not having those types of assets on the roster.

9. Lebron’s Damage

The positives to signing Lebron are obvious. But there are plenty of negatives. During his 4 years in Miami, Lebron and the Heat lost the NBA Finals twice and between 2015-2018 with the Cavs, Lebron lost 3 Finals. New York fans don’t deserve that type of disappointment.

Since joining the Lakers in 2018, LA has yet to experience a playoff game at Staples Center.

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