Did LeBron Avoid the Pressure of New York?

Posted on July 9, 2010 by


Frank Isola of the New York Daily News has expressed an argument I have heard other New Yorkers make.  LeBron James didn’t go to the Knicks because he couldn’t handle the pressure of New York.

Although I can imagine this argument is pleasing to people from New York (who are apparently handling the pressure of New York), there is another argument that might be just a bit more plausible.  The Knicks – with our without King James – are not going to contend for a title.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN offers an assessment of the current Knicks.  Here is an excerpt that captures why LeBron did not go to New York.

As things stand now, here is your 2010-11 opening night lineup, Knicks fans (get the tissues out):

PG: Toney Douglas, TBD.
Wilson Chandler, Azubuike, Rautins.
SF: Gallinari, Bill Walker, Landry Fields.
PF: Stoudemire, Randolph.
C: Turiaf, Curry, Jerome Jordan.

Right now, they have a better chance of chasing the 2009-10 Nets than they do of becoming even the slightest bit relevant in this city. Oh, and let’s not forget: They have no first-round draft pick in 2012, and the Rockets have the right to swap picks with them next year. So it doesn’t look as though it’s getting any better anytime soon.

Let me just add some WP48 numbers to this roster.  Here is the starting line-up:

Toney Douglas: 0.083

Wilson Chandler: 0.092

Danilo Gallinari: 0.040

Amare Stoudemire: 0.170

Ronny Turiaf: 0.063

The Knicks do have Anthony Randolph off the bench, and Randolph – before he got hurt – posted a 0.153 WP48 with Golden State last year.  Randolph, though, plays the same position as Stoudemire.  So the Knicks have two players at power forward, and then nothing else.  Why would LeBron go to such a roster?  If he was going to fail to win titles, he could just stay in Cleveland and avoid the hassle of moving.

Yes, I know.  If LeBron would have come, then a number of other free agents might have come as well.  After all, LeBron is very persuasive.  That is why Chris Bosh decided to join LeBron in Cleveland.  Okay, maybe it is Dwyane Wade that is the persuasive one.

Let me close by noting that LeBron’s special last night was not the highlight of the summer TV schedule.  And I can understand why teams that missed out on LeBron are unhappy.  But I think that LeBron’s choice of Miami can be best explained by LeBron’s actual explanation.  He thinks he can win a title in Miami playing with Wade and Bosh.  And he is willing to accept less money to make this happen. 

– DJ