Will Knick fans accept Johnson and Stoudemire instead of Bosh and James?
Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni are seeking to arrange a meeting with Atlanta free agent Joe Johnson in Los Angeles Wednesday at midnight — or 9 p.m. California time — before flying to Ohio for the LeBron James’ pow-wow. Even crazier, the Knicks are trying to fit in Amare’ Stoudemire that evening, too, in either LA or Phoenix.
HoopsVibe’s Very Quick Call: Not for a New York second.
Joe Johnson and Amar’e Stoudemire won’t satisfy hungry Knick fans who are thirsting for free agents Chris Bosh and LeBron James to turn Madison Square Garden into a contender starting in October of 2010.
Consider Knick-nation’s plight: former prodigal son Stephon Marbury imploded before their very eyes; GM and coach Isiah Thomas shamed the organization with his dysfunctional ways and irresponsible spending; and for too long owner James Dolan did nothing, content to count his profits.
Donnie Walsh and Mike D’Antoni were hired to turn things around, but – instead of immediately competing for the playoffs – they purged the roster of big ticket salaries, so they could sign James and other free agents this summer.
That decision was made years ago. And the Knicks have intentionally tanked it ever since.
Management got fans to buy-in by selling hope, specifically the hope that they’d ink James – one of the game’s greatest stars – to a multi-year contract.
Cap space alone won’t secure James’ services. The King wants to win, and rumour has it he likes the Chicago Bulls’ supporting cast of point guard Derrick Rose and big Joakim Noah better than the Knicks’ depleted roster.
Bosh, who also wants to win now, has allegedly decided to follow the two-time MVP and serve as his co-star in The Windy City.
Walsh isn’t stupid. He sees how the free agent dominoes are aligning. He gets that the club will likely have to settle for Johnson and Stoudemire.
This won’t cut it in New York, where some of the NBA’s most educated fans reside. After all, Johnson and Stoudemire are good, but Bosh and James are great.
Unless Walsh and D’Antoni deliver great this July, fans will wonder why they suffered through the pain, torture, and punishment.