LeBron James: The NBA is better when the Knicks are winning
LeBron James chose not to be part of turning around the New York Knicks. He met with the franchise back in 2010 — a meeting that was rumored to be a disaster — but ultimately chose to take his talents to Miami. New York was not even on his radar when LeBron returned to Cleveland or left there for Los Angeles.
The Knicks turnaround this season feels genuine and lasting because they have done it without plugging a free agent superstar into the lineup — unlike LeBron turning around a Lakers’ franchise that had struggled for half a decade before his arrival. The Knicks have done it with Julius Randle stepping up his game to an All-NBA level, young players such as RJ Barrett and Immanuel Quickley adding energy and talent to the rotation, and new coach Tom Thibodeau getting the roster to play quality defense. New team president Leon Rose also has avoided the New York trap of using their cap space on a quick-fix aging superstar to raise the floor but not really change the underlying problems.
The Knicks look like a franchise headed in the right direction. It’s been too long since we could say that.
And LeBron is right, it’s good for the business of the NBA when the league’s marquee brands — including the Lakers and Knicks, in the two largest markets in the nation — are winning.