UPDATED 2:15pm 7/5/2010:
Howard Beck skillfully raises a very important question about the vlaue of signing Stoudemire and losing Lee this summer. Who is better, Lee or Stoudemire? What do you think? I'm thinking we should've kept Lee if Stoudemire is not going to bring us LeBron. Strictly from a business sense, you should buy when the product is at it's lowest value and sell when it is near its prime. With the dumping of our youth over the past few years, it is better business-wise (not necessarily talent wise) to go with Lee. Lee is more likely to retain his value since he is only 27 and not that worn. Studdy is at his peak and his value is like that of a nice used auto on the lot -- it will start to go down the day he signs the contract and is taken off the lot. Give Lee $15 mil and save the $5 you owuld have spent on Studdy on someone else.
Chris Broussard is reporting the LeBron is intrigued by Knicks plan to add Stoudemire this year and Carmelo Anthony next year.
Donnie Walsh is telling ESPN that he will be meeting with Stoudemire today. Is there an offer in the works?
Just saw an interesting piece with Tom Penn on ESPN. Apparently, he sees things the way I do except that his numbers are slightly different. He has LeBron's max at about $16 million which when paired with Studdy's max leaves the Knicks $1.3 million. That is almost equivalent to no money when you measure it against talent needed. He also points out that it is possible, but very problematic, to pick up Carmelo via dollar-for-dollar trades next year. He warns however about the uncertainty of the CBA. I say, not happening.
So, Joe Johnson has decided to take the $119 million over six years from the Hawks. This is a critical decision in the LeBronathon largely because the major buyers on the market have been focused on pairing players since LeBron, Bosh and Wade have made it clear that if they are to move to a new team, it would be to pair up with one of the top players on the market. Johnson was seriously thinking about moving and was apparently waiting fnr LeBron, Wade and Bosh to complete their due diligence and to see if there was a strong reason to leave money on the table in favor of possible championships. Apparently, either LeBron has decided to stay in Cleveland, where there is no room to sign Johnson as a free agent or he has decided that LeBron is teaming up with someone else in Chicago, New York, New Jersey or Miami. (I'm guessing LeBron staying in Cleveland makes JJ committ to Hawks.
Meanwhile, the news starts to justify my earlier skepticism about the Stoudemire deal. First, the Knicks sent a representative to Cleveland for a second meeting with a LeBron rep to clear the air about the Knicks salary cap position this year and next year. The meeting did not include LeBron James. There is no word regarding who requested the meeting, but some Knicks fans are interpreting this move as if the Knicks are front-runners. Understandable interpretation. However, an equally plausible interpretation is that the Knicks failed to be clear in the first meeting about how they would overcome what the James contingent saw as roster issues because they were unprepared to discuss those issues convincingly. That also explains why they made the quick move to offer (or make it seem that they were offering) the max to Stoudemire.
However, the reported offer to Stoudemire cuts both ways. While it might have been attractive to have Stoudemire on the roster, by committing $17 Million.1 to Studdy and then $17 Million to LeBron, the problem is that it appears the Knicks are out of cap room and must hire all their other players at a minimum. With that said, the Knicks need to make it clear to LeBron that they can get him the support he needs by next year when they clear out Curry and some other contracts. However, LeBron's people have looked at the numbers and must be very concerned that $11 million off the books next year does not get them a viable max player; nor does the mid-level or other potential exceptions at their disposal next year. Or perhaps Walsh's people could assure LeBron that they would get a point guard by trading the expired contract before the trade deadline.
The point is that it should be fairly clear that LeBron was not sold that the Knicks could build a team around him quickly enough and the reported signing of Stoudemire at such high number would be an impediment as much as it might be a blessing.
Apparently, the Knicks felt strongly that they needed to make that clarification presentation in person to show commitment and to sound convincing. If they needed a clarification face-to-face, I would be very concerned. However, I would have some hope that LeBron was at least appearing to be open to a final flurry of information before making up his mind definitively.
Also, while Stoudemire and the Knicks are doing a bit of socializing this weekend, Walsh said it was premature to celebrate a Stoudemire signing and it was possible that the Knicks save their money for the next free agency swing while building a team of complimentary players.
As of Sunday night, the Knicks still weren't sure where the players stood.
"I have no idea," Walsh said in a telephone interview. "I think that almost all of these guys have been tight about what their intentions are. All the meetings we had were really good. They were informative. But I didn't get an indication in what their interest was. The agent would say they're interested. And that's where we are. We are waiting to hear. With those guys you can afford to be a little patient."
Walsh did confirm that the Knicks' sent assistant GM Glen Grunwald to Cleveland for a second meeting with LeBron's agent, Leon Rose, on Saturday. But he said the meeting was just to clarify the team's cap situation both this year and the next.
"We didn't get into it in our first meeting the way we wanted to," Walsh said. "We just wanted to make sure they had all the information."
"We don't have any other meetings scheduled with LeBron," Walsh said. "I'm in New York. Unless someone is there without my knowledge, no, we're done."
Walsh also said reports of the Knicks striking a deal with free agent Amare Stoudemire are premature.
"He spent the weekend in [New York] with his agent," Walsh said. "He went to some baseball games. [Coach] Mike [D'Antoni] met with him today to talk basketball and some personal issue this morning. We're meeting with him tomorrow. We haven't sat down and talked contract [with] him at all."