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Rumor: LeBron James wanted to sign with Knicks, but wife preferred Los Angeles

LeBron James in Lakers-Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 22: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers walks on the court during the game against the New York Knicks on January 22, 2020 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

LeBron James, according to one report, planned to sign with the Knicks until a disastrous meeting with them in 2010. Instead, he signed with the Heat.

Did LeBron also initially favor the Knicks before signing with the Lakers in 2018 free agency?

Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair on the “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast:

We heard that LeBron wanted to come to New York. And I have really good sources about this, that he was thinking about coming to New York but that his wife wanted to be in Los Angeles, wanted the kids to go to school in Los Angeles, and that just kiboshed the whole thing.

Robinson has connections throughout the entertainment industry, which overlaps with sports. Her reporting deserves consideration, even though she doesn’t directly cover the NBA.

After signing with the Lakers, LeBron at least sounded like he strongly considered the Knicks. New York was interested, of course.

But the Knicks have been overly optimistic about free agents over the years. If the New York-based Robinson got her information from the team’s side, it’s easier to discount – though not completely dismiss.

LeBron’s wife, Savannah James, preferring Los Angeles is completely believable.

Though these types of reports often get spun into viewing the wife as a meddler in the player’s career, that shouldn’t be. Considering a spouse’s desires – especially for something as major as a job change and relocation – is and should be completely normal behavior. LeBron openly discussed that his family would factor into his decision.

LeBron was linked to the Lakers years before 2018 free agency. But that doesn’t disprove this report. He could have held genuine Knicks interest that passed long before he officially became a free agent. Players, especially superstars, can begin plotting their next move years in advance.

Really, LeBron could have gone to any number of teams and succeeded. He is the franchise. The New York market and Knicks’ prestige could have appealed to him.

But, in the end, we know only that he chose the Lakers. The rest is fantasy – though maybe one that was closer to reality than we thought.