"Not signing LeBron James is arguably worse than signing Jerome James."
That, in a nutshell, is the thesis of the lead item of my SN column this morning -- an examination of the brutal zero-sum game that is 2010 NBA free agency... and the Knicks' spot as its biggest loser.
The Knicks have as much chance of landing LeBron as the Cavs do. (Ouch.) They won't get Wade. They won't get Bosh. Their "back-up plan" of Johnson and Amare is doubly humiliating: It isn't just a poor man's solution; it won't even pan out. Carlos Boozer won't go there (he could even go to the crosstown rival Nets, suddenly ascendant).
If you consider that the Knicks have been banking on two years' worth of "Just wait 'til 2010 (and -- psst! -- LeBron!)" this is a total, utter, Isiah-sized failure.
I fully expect them not to make any moves (maybe re-signing the popular David Lee), then spinning it as "cannily" saving for 2011 -- now re-named on Broadway as "The Summer of Carmelo!" Nevermind that the Knicks have about as much chance of getting Melo as they did LeBron.
There is legitimate intrigue over whether LeBron will join the Bulls (and who will go with him) or if he will sublimate his ego to join Wade and Bosh in Miami.
There is legitimate intrigue over what the Nets might do -- clearly, they like others will overspend to get better faster, but who will it be on? (Why is everyone sleeping on Rudy Gay?)
But there is no intrigue about the Knicks, except how humiliating the next 24 hours -- the next week -- will be for them.
See the complete column here, including my picks for where the big free agents end up:
Joe Johnson: Heat
Rudy Gay: Nets
David Lee: Knicks
Any good theories? Put them in the Comments -- I will try hard to approve them faster.
See the whole column here. More later.