NBA / Dec 17, 2009 / 5:04 pm

Dream Team 2010: LeBron, Bosh and T-Mac in New York

LeBron James (photo. Nike)

LeBron James (photo. Nike)

If you haven’t heard, everybody in the NBA is in a contract year. With my job, it’s been reflected in the large percentage of interviews I’ve done lately that include a question or two about free agency and that particular player’s mindset approaching this season’s open audition. In fact, I just got off the phone a couple minutes ago with a small forward who will be one of 2010’s most sought-after players, and he told me this:

“A lot of guys try to pick their game up in a contract year, but that’s not me. This is where I want to be. I want to be known as one of the best players in the League. A contract year or anything like that has nothing to do with it. I play the game because I want to be respected.”

With so much anticipated roster turnover, the League should look a lot different by this time next year. Lottery teams could become playoff teams overnight, up-and-coming playoff teams could become contenders, one-player-away contenders could get over the hump. Or things could go the opposite way altogether, with teams that are strong now getting weaker.

In the meantime, we’re all putting together likely scenarios and pipe dreams of how certain teams will look come 2010. Earlier this week, I talked about Dwyane Wade teaming up with Rudy Gay in Miami. Today’s pet project:

LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Tracy McGrady on the New York Knicks.

First off, don’t take this to mean that I’m a Knicks fan. I’m not. (And just to clear up a common misconception, most of us at Dime aren’t Knicks fans, either. We might be based in NYC, but we’re a diverse crew.) But looking at the handful of teams that have a lot of money to spend on multiple superstars, New York makes the most sense for these three superstars.

LeBron, Bosh and T-Mac would be the new “Big Three,” an immediate challenge to Boston’s current version. You can see the similarities: LeBron is an upgraded Paul Pierce, the go-to guy in crunch time and the team’s heart and soul who has everything run through him. Bosh is a younger Kevin Garnett, the power forward who can go inside or outside and will shine in a setting where he doesn’t have to be “The Man” every night. And T-Mac is Ray Allen with more versatility, who can have the occasional 25-point night and regularly hit clutch daggers as a third option who’s skilled enough to be a #1 on other teams.

Money won’t be an issue. LeBron is going to get whatever he wants from whichever team he wants, but a smart negotiator already has enough evidence to talk Bosh’s camp into taking a less-than-max deal if necessary, especially if the Raptors’ struggles keep raising questions about their leader’s ability. But allegedly the Knicks can afford to pay two max players, so if that’s true, it shouldn’t be a hold-up. (Disclaimer: I need to stay just a little ignorant of the numbers-crunching dollars and sense with stuff like this to keep my sanity.) And having watched T-Mac make his comeback this week from another slew of injuries, he’s obviously in store for a big pay cut. (Did you know McGrady is the highest-paid player in the NBA this season?)

LeBron is at a stage in his career similar to Jordan in ’91. He’s won all the individual awards, gotten all the hype he can handle, and now the next step in establishing his legacy is to win championships. Conventional wisdom used to be that his best chance of doing that was to stay in Cleveland, but after the events of the ’09 playoffs, dents were made in that armor. Aligning himself with in-his-prime Bosh and not-quite-done McGrady in New York — throw in a decent point guard, some quality bench guys who will flock to play on this team, and a coach ‘Bron has grown to like from his Team USA tenure — could look more appealing to LBJ than more years of Mo Williams, Anderson Varejao and possibly no Shaq.

Bosh and McGrady are at the point in their careers where status and stats don’t matter; they just want to win. Bosh has had a taste of the playoffs, and now it appears his team in Toronto is going backwards. McGrady’s postseason frustration is famous, and you know it burned him up to watch the Rockets finally get past the first round in ’09 while he was sidelined. If taking #2 and #3 spots in New York translate to having a chance at a title — plus all the extra benefits that go with playing in the nation’s other capital — they’ll sign up with the quickness.

What are some other scenarios you see playing out in next summer’s free agency?

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  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    “…plus all the extra benefits that go with playing in the nation’s other capital — they’ll sign up with the quickness.”

    extra benefits eh? what exactly does that entail?
    more side puss to end up like tiger woods?

    NY media coverage is reason enuff for players (of all sports) to NOT go to ny.

  • KenAdams

    Lebron to the Jazz?? I’m dreaming, but a trio of Lebron, Deron and Paul would be sweet……

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    even if these three (pipe dream to begin with) ended up in NY, the Knicks will still suck.

    they wont ever be good again until they fire mike d’antoni as their head coach!

  • jeremy

    I thought because of the decreased salary cap next season the knicks won’t be able to sign two max players?

  • http://dimemag.com Austin Burton

    I think with the salary cap going down, the amount that constitutes a max deal also goes down. But I could be wrong.

  • Gunner J. Matthews

    The pipe dream never ends on this site. Lebron isnt leaving Cleveland. D-Wade isnt leaving South Beach (SOUTH BEACH!!!!), Chris Bosh is rumored to be heading to one of the Texas teams if he leaves (Dallas or Houston) and T-Mac is basically damaged goods. None of those guys are coming to NY and basically start over with new teams which is basically the reason they got drafted by their respected teams in the first place

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    Here is where these guys should go as FA:

    Lebron James should go to NJ. they have the best nucleaus of young talent. they just need a star and a leader. devin harris is already allstar material. and brook lopez is a solid center for the next 10yrs. if the NJ Nets can get an actual cable network feed, it’d be GREAT for them.

    Chris Bosh:
    he should go to the Mavs. Dallas needs to start thinking about life after Dirk. And adding Bosh now is the perfect solution. Bosh is from Tx, and you know Cuban will pay whatever it takes to build the team around those two.

    Tracy McGrady:
    New Orleans Hornets. McGrady no longer has the elevation or lift in his knees to carry a team. but imagine him teamming with an ‘in their prime’ Okafur and Chris Paul? Hornets are weak on the wings and McGrady can help immediately. he could become to them what Grant Hill is to Phoenix

    Amare Stoudmire:
    Miami Heat. while so many expect Carlos Boozer to end up in Miami, Amare is a better fit. he is from florida and can play center to allow Beasley to be the PF. that is an unlikely scenario if the heat get boozer. then they’d have no position for beasley. and going into next season, his 3rd, beasley needs to be on the court. imagine a lineup of: chalmers,wade,insert an SF,beasley,stoudamire?

    Joe Johnson:
    re-sign in Atlanta. but they might be capped out. the Hawks were smart getting jamal crawford just in case the cant resign joe. his surrounding pieces, crawford, smith, williams and horford are all approaching their best years. plus, Atl is full of hotties! slim goodies!

  • pleasepleaseplease

    In order to sign two max contract players, the Knicks would have to be able to trade Eddy Curry’s monster contract for an expiring.

    NOT. GOING. TO. HAPPEN.

  • http://heckler@aol.com Heckler

    the knicks dont need 2 max players in the same year. Eddy Currys contract comes off following the 2010 season (they dont owe him for 2011).

    so imagine in the summer of 2011, when carmelo anthony might be available (ETO).

    caron butler will be unrestricted. pau gasol will be unrestricted. jason richardson will be unrestricted. AK47 and tony parker will be unrestricted. as will sam dalembert,zach randolph,troy murphy,shane battier,tayshaun prince,jr smith and jamal crawford.

    NY (and every other team for that matter) dont need two max contracts in the same year. there is talent available in the following summer…

  • JBaller

    Prediction…The Knicks will offer LBJ his own cable network – “The ‘Bron Show” will play at the Garden for the next ten years. BUt they still won’t win another ‘chip for a long time to come…

  • zaboo

    Lebron signs with Houston? Tmac stays on for MLE or similar amount, Yao comes back from injury as if nothing ever happened…

  • LakeShow84

    @ Heckler

    # 7 is some good scenarios.. I agree with Stoudamire in Miami.. im always wondering why everyone is so sure Boozer will end up there.. just because he WANTS to go doesnt mean he’ll end up there..

    Riley aint no fool..

  • LakeShow84

    @ AB

    Was that Joe Johnson on the phone??

  • sweetv0mit

    joe johnson aint a sf… who is it austin?

  • BiG ShoT BoB

    Or how about this nobody leaves their respective teams and everything stays the same…

  • RC

    It might be a ridiculous idea. But the perfect scenario for me is Stoudemire staying in phoenix with Steve Nash at point. And even though I want Bosh to stay in Toronto. I understand he is better off in a winning team. I hate raptors org because theyre pansies, no toughness whatsover. Anyway Bosh in a run and gun system with Amare and Steve is gonna be a force in the league.

  • ab_40

    like paul mccartney said to michael jackson in the girl is mine… you keep dreamin. Tmac will go to a contender, LeBron will probably stay in cleveland buy I can see him signing a two year deal… 2012 Brooklyn y’all can start the sweepstakes now haha. I can see bosh switching teams but not to miami or it should be a S&T with mr beasly. I can’t imagine your scenario happen because in boston they already had one of the players in place… pierce, and a lot of young talents. Gino is nice but he plays the three and guess what position leborn plays. or you wanna go crazy and go with the jordan model and make him the new toni kukoc

  • rangerjohn

    dream team or dysfunctional family? i say the later

  • NYfan

    @Heckler

    Some of the scenarios are good…but I disagree with Lebron to NJ you mean the same NJ nets that will be moving to NY. With the same bad NY media.

    I admit I am a NY fan but people that aren’t from NY don’t get it. Imagine Lebron,Bosh, and T-mac face on a side of a building in NY where millions of people from all over the world would see it every day. That’s a marketing dream. Everyone always say he can make the same amount of money in in Cleavland but that city doesn’t compare to NY, MIA, LA, and the Chi. I’m not saying this would happen because it’s probably not likely but if I were them I would think about it. The money they can make in endorsements can more than supplement any NBA pay cut they might have to take. Ask Shaq about that

  • Nixluva

    What a bunch of NY haters!!! Why wouldn’t Lebron plus a better supporting cast than he has in Clev not be able to win a title in NY? GEEZ! Please stop the needless hate of NY. The guy has a great shot to get everything he wants by coming to the Knicks. You can’t get any higher in terms of status than NY. You KNOW the Knicks will pay whatever it takes to make sure he gets everything he needs to win. We’ve got cap space in 2010 and 2011, so there’s nothing to stand in the way of building a title contender. He’s comin to NY! Just deal with it.

  • QQ

    T-Mac as Ray Allen? That’s when I stopped reading the article.

    T-Mac has NOT yet proven that he can play to that level this season to earn that respect.

    Come on now. Even if I’ve been a proud T-Mac hater for so long, I realized that his career is just about over. Even his team doesn’t want him. That’s when some weird sympathy for that chump got into me. As an NBA fan, that is.

    But daammn, comparing him NOW to that Ray Allen two years ago?

    Oh yeah, this was written by a blind T-Mac nutlicker.

  • Royal

    I think lebron should go to the clippers .Lebron,Blake, and Eric gordon would be great ( don’t forget about al thorton and Chris Kamen either)

  • Red

    Whenever you think Dime could not possibly write a more idiotic piece, they always come through with a jaw dropping piece of garbage.

  • wiz

    @royal
    no love for B.davis huh

  • Celts Fan

    @Royal – people from NY keep forgetting the Clippers. That’d be perfect for him. Can’t you see him putting out a bunch of shitbag movies like Shaq and raking in endorsement money in the sun? I’m giddy already thinking about the trailer for Kazaam 2…

    oh, and Miami makes infinitely more sense than NYC for Bron too. They can keep Wade and get a guy at the max (or close.) Factor in the no-income tax in Fl and it’s worth going slightly under the max (he’d still take home more) Then the Heat trot out a starting lineup of:

    1. Chalmers
    2. Wade
    3. Bron
    4. Beasley (or Haslem with Beasley as instant offense off the bench)
    5. JO’s corpse

    That team, plus the cheap vets that’d flock there would win a ring at some point. And oh ya fuckin South Beach.

  • Royal

    @wiz: yea I got love 4 baron Davis (no homo) LOL …..and Marcus camby and Deandre Jordan too.

  • spirow

    I’ll make a prediction right now . . . No way lebron goes to the knicks for couple of reasons. . . Number one, if a player does go to the knicks then a sign and trade must be done because as most of you know the cap system is gonna be lower next year. . . SO what does that mean? We’ll you gotta show lebron james before signing him on the knicks that the knicks made progress. . . Knicks have nothing to give in a sign and trade not even a draft pick! Isia messed that up! Utah is in a very good position. . . Number 2) Miami has the best chance to get a guy like gay and probaby bosh. . . If they get bosh they wont mind trading micheal beasley. . . Personaly i would not like to do bosh for beasly considering im from toronto . . . Wade, bosh, and gay is more then enough to put them over teams like orlando and cavs. . . And oh yeah look for the cavs to really go after amare and a guy like joe johnson. . . if they get those two, watch out! and why is everyone counting out the Celtics in 2010? come on guys that teams the kryptonite for the lakers! don’t you think this will be their last run most likely, why not sign some big names next year and guys like kg and pierce can take a pay cut?

  • spirow

    and don’t be suprised if the clippers are agressive. . . they got cap and a deep team. . . smart players will not sign with the knicks. . . I’m sorry the knicks remind me of the toronto maple leafs of hockey. . . the most passionate smart fans who are dooped by management decisions . . . good luck knicks may be you guys should bottom out and hope you guys win the lottery balls for john wall and if not wall then harrison barnes next year. . . You need your own superstar whose the icon for newyork!

  • confusedraptorfan

    The comparison between Chris Bosh and Kevin Garnet is only 50% correct. I think their offensive games are similar but Garnet is an excellent defender. Chris Bosh is an excellent rebounder but his defense is basically below average. Another difference is that Chris Bosh has difficulty playing against physical players. Chris Bosh has great stats but is not consistent. Look at his record. He usually starts off strong and fizzles out down the stretch. He has choked in the playoffs and is injury-prone. Many Toronto raptor fans question his leadership abilities and to deliver in the clutch.

    He would be more suited to a role as a second banana to wade in Miami. This will alleviate some of the pressure off Bosh.

  • karizmatic

    D Wade and LBJ in Miami!!!

  • Big V

    Also thought that either Curry or Jeffries needed to be moved in order to allow us to sign two max deals.

  • http://www.WhyCandaceWhySheldon.thatbastard.com Chicagorilla

    from what i’ve seen from previous FA classes. I think a lot of these guys are going to f^k this up. choosing the wrong team, and teams that don’t fit their style of play.

    Lebron in NY would ruin his ability to get better. He might put up numbers, but Diantoni is a terrible teacher of the game. He just has you play in his system (which doesn’t seem like anything special other than a pick-up game) and you never learn to play real basketball. Lebron to NJ would be better because of Lopez and Harris, but the best shooter on the team would be LopeZ!!! so they wouldn’t get very far come playoff time.

    Bosh to Miami would be a good fit for him, but he’d never do it. He’ll probably go back to TX and he’ll play the same as he did in T-dot, without a chip. If he follows Bron, it’d probably be his best scenerio, but again they always seem to choose the wrong team.

  • Stephon

    TO: Celts Fan

    HAHAHA. J.O. ‘s corpse. Word son.

    Austin is either really ignorant or he is just lazy.

    T-Mac as Ray Allen? gimme a break Austin. Think of somethin better. Having this article is just a headline to attract people to read. That T-Mac thing just discredited your reputation. Ignorant because you could be a fan or that you are just simply not a basketball fan. A real fan or baller will have more sense than what you wrote about.

    Amare needs Nash. Bosh to Miami be nice, but he should join Dallas. Dallas will extend the team’s life as a contender. If LBJ goes to MIA, it would be scary and it would actually work. Wade is the MJ mould and LBJ is the power version of Scottie Pippen. But LBJ would want to be the 1st option and he wants all the attention he can get. He likes NYC, but the smart move he might make would be inking a 2 yr deal with Cavs and see where the team goes while he waits to get on Brooklyn Nets and Hova’s nuts.

    No on is going to the Clippers. They are cursed. The team should move out of L.A. They stink for such a long time that i think since Danny Manning was a lottery pick for the team. That was like 20 yrs ago. Only excitement was Q & D-miles. that didnt last either. Clippers to Seattle.

  • QQ

    @ 33:

    Looks like we have a new poster here.

    Didn’t know about AB’s T-Mac mancrush?

    Cause damn, this article is quite tame compared to the bullshit he’s spewing on a regular basis to patronize T-Mac.

  • http://nbadraftscouts.com Tyler Whitcomb

    Lebron James and T-mac in 2010, they will have to wait until 2011 to get another max contract. (Eddy Curry comes off the books)

    2011 get Carmelo Anthony and move him to Power Forward like the olympic team did.

    1. Who cares
    2. T-Mac
    3.Lebron
    4.Carmelo
    5. David Lee

    Also what about Joe Johnson or Amare going to New York? They both have had success with D’Antonio. Also in 2011, I would love to see Tony Parker go to play under D’Anonio.

  • DJ

    I like the idea of LeBron to Jazz by one of the first replies.. :P
    Would be great haha.

    -DJ