According to The Ringer’s Bill Simmons, the stars were aligned for James to go to the Knicks and possibly set up years of winning. Simmons said Monday the Knicks “couldn’t stay out of their own way.”
“From everyone that I’ve talked to in the know since then, it’s clear that the Knicks were the first choice. And I’m sorry Knicks fans, earmuffs. But it was basically the Knicks’ to lose, and they just couldn’t stay out of their own way. And the stories are legendary,” he said on his podcast.
“They had the legendary meeting. Donnie Walsh was in the wheelchair, and [Knicks owner James] Dolan was Dolan. And it was just a complete – they didn’t have anything prepared. And it just couldn’t have gone worse, by all accounts. It was a disaster. I think at that point, combined with the decade the Knicks just had, I think those guys were just like ‘f–k’ it.”
That disastrous meeting reportedly included hiring “The Sopranos” actors James Gandolfini and Edie Falco for it. James declined to give the Knicks a second meeting and eventually signed with the Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh and eventually winning two championships.
New York would eventually sign Amar’e Stoudemire and trade for Carmelo Anthony. The team hasn’t made it to the NBA Finals since 1999.