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July 1, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Chris Sheridan

Chris Sheridan
  (12:02 PM)

Good afternoon, and thanks for stopping by the NY site for this special LBJ/Knicks/Nets themed chat. Get to show off my East Coast bias in here. :) Questions?

Mike (Brooklyn)

You mentioned in today's daily dime that the players union can make a case for owner collusion if the cap comes in at $56-$57 million. Can you please elaborate?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:05 PM)

The union has been mulling a collusion case ever since commissioner Stern came out in April and said the cap will be around $56.1 million. Last July, the league sent out a memo warning that the cap could come in as low as $50 million. If that memo was based upon false pretenses, there could be a collusion case there. Remember, teams (including the Knicks, especially) prepared for today by using that lower cap figure, and when the $56.1 million figure came out teams were pleasantly surprised. If it comes in much higher than $56.1 (we'll know July 8), that collusion case would theoretically be strengthened.

Travis (Daytona Beach, FL)

So who is NY going to get in this free agent frenzy? Sounds to me like they're losing ground on teams like Miami and Chicago. Are they even going to get Joe Johnson because isn't Atlanta offering him max money?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:07 PM)

Joe Johnson would not have been a good fit here. In fact, I was told a couple months ago he really had no interest in playing in NY. As for the Knicks supposedly losing ground to Mia/Chi or anyone else, take those reports with a strong grain of salt. They won't gain/lose ground on anyone until after they get in there and talk with LBJ this afternoon at IMG headquarters in Cleveland.

Mike (Salt Lake City)

Is this time in your job more exciting or exhausting for you?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:11 PM)

Both. Not often you work a hard shift from 10p-6a, squeeze in couple hours of sleep and then get right back at it. Reminds me of my younger days when I worked graveyard shift at AP. But you fans are not the only ones who have been anticipating this day's arrival for months, if not years. Us media folk get excited, too, and I am juiced (and re-caffeinated).

Carey (Scottsdale, AZ)

Are you a Knicks fan and is that why you think they'll get him or is it based on credible evidence that other reporters don't have? Seems that all the other ESPN reporters think the Knicks are #6 in line.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:14 PM)

Not a Knicks fan. But I have covered both LBJ and D'Antoni closer than a lot of other reporters through my work on Team USA every summer since the Athens Olympics, and I believe I have a stronger appreciation than others regarding LBJ's fondness for NY. I also am factoring in the confidence I have seen/heard Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni exude.

Paul B (Phoenix)

Do the Knicks have a realistic shot at LBJ? Better or worse shot than the Nets?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:15 PM)

Entirely realistic, and most likely a better chance than NJ's. But so much will depend on the impression they make in this afternoon's meeting. If they screw it up the way they did when they used a celebrity-themed pitch to try to woo Grant Hill a decade ago, they're cooked.

Matt (ny)

Any word on possible Eddy Curry trade?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:17 PM)

Ain't happening. Maybe in February at the deadline, but more likely they let him come off the cap next summer, putting them at least $10 million below the cap again. That, by the way, will be one of their selling points to LeBron. Of all the teams he is meeting with, including the Cavs, the Knicks are the only one that can go back under the cap again next summer and add another significant piece(s).

Sam D (NY)

I know teams can officially sign players for another week, but when can we expect to hear about verbal agreements? I've heard that Lebron is the first 'domino', but what about second and third tier free agents?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:19 PM)

Verbal agreements can be made at any time between now and July 8, but we've seen in the recent past that they are not binding (see Hedo Turkoglu and Trail Blazers, 363 days ago).

Sal (NYC)

Obviously Knicks need more pieces than these Max FA. Whom else do you see being attractive players, ie. Korver, Allen, M. Miller....

Chris Sheridan
  (12:21 PM)

If they get two max free agents, they'll still have a couple million left over. The first need is a center, and they liked what Earl Barron gave them at the end of last season. So I think he'd be among their first targets. They'd also need a backup PG, but they'd probably have to use the veteran's minimum on a guy like Keyon Dooling or Anthony Johnson. They already have two shooters in Gallinari and Rautins, and two wings in Wilson Chandler and Bill Walker.

Zach (Merrick, LI)

You explained why you are so positive. Just want to know if you have any idea why the other reporters are so negative about Lebron in NY.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:23 PM)

There is a predisposition among some to be dismissive of the Knicks because they have been the laughingstock of the league for the better part of the past decade.

Rob (CT)

You said above that Joe Johnson is not coming to the Knicks. If that is true, who will the Knicks be targeting instead as a sidekick for LeBron?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:24 PM)

Bosh is their first choice, Stoudemire their second.

Matt (New York )

What are the chances that Melo gets traded this offseason? If so do you think the Knicks would make a push if they dont get LeBron.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:26 PM)

The Knicks have pretty much nothing left to trade except David Lee. Remember, they gave up their '12 first-round pick and gave Houson a pick swap in '11 when they did the Jared Jeffries salary dump at the deadline.

Hank (NYC)

So the Knicks can't use the MLE? How does that work?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:26 PM)

Teams that are under the cap cannot use the mid-level exception.

Michael (AZ)

Knicks pitch needs to be that Lebron's greatest chance at being a legend happens in NY. He will never be more than 2nd best in Chicago and might not be seen as the alpha dog with Wade in Miami. Thoughts?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:28 PM)

Disagree. The Knicks need to pitch that they have the best ability to CONTINUE building their team in the summer of '11 and beyond. And since they'll have cap room next summer when Curry's contract comes off, that argument holds water.

Hayden (Logan, Utah)

this seems like the craziest free agent frenzy ever! Agree? the face of the NBA will change

Chris Sheridan
  (12:29 PM)

Yes to the first part. Let's wait and see on the second part. If Bron re-signs in Cleveland, not so much.

Frank (Jersey Shore)

Would the Hornets do Curry for Okafor (4 yrs/$52M remaining)? Or do the Knicks believe they can get more for Curry either by letting his contract expire at the end of next season or through a trade at the deadline.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:30 PM)

Hornets can do better.

Gene (MIA)

I understand the extra money that Cleveland can throw at LBJ, but it just doesn't make sense to me that he would play all this out if he never truly wanted to leave. Let's be honest if its just to put pressure on Cleveland to make moves to improve, they have very few options. Would he not be the biggest tease of all time if he ends up staying put?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:34 PM)

Well, he likes to flirt. We've seen that at MSG. and those who flirt can sometimes just be teasers. We shall see. (Personally, I believe Biggest Tease Of All Time honors should be permanently retired in honor of Charo. "Cuchi-cuchi").

Brandon (NYC)

Donnie Walsh will appear at the Lebron meeting in a wheelchair due to recent surgery. I hate to say it, but does this hurt the Knicks' chances in the sense that LBJ might worry about Donnie's age/health?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:35 PM)

Don't see that having any impact whatsoever.

Nick (Hell's Kitchen)

I don't buy this whole playing under Jordan's shadow angle. Kobe seemed to do OK playing in Magic, Kareem, and Jerry West's shadow right?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:37 PM)

Agreed, Nick. You don't see players avoiding the Celtics because Bill Russell and Larry Bird played there. And as for the part about LBJ having to walk past Jordan's statue every night he comes to work if he signs with the Bulls, that is simply not true. That statue is on the East side of the United Center, and players enter through a driveway on the West side of the building.

Gene (MIA)

Is Bosh to MIA or foregone conclusion via S&T or do the Knicks somehow have a chance to convince LBJ to bring him in to the fold. How would you rate each possibility.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:40 PM)

If Bosh went to Toronto in a sign-and-trade, the package going back would presumably be Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. That would likely mean the Heat had succeeded in getting three max players, but that would also mean that they'd have to surround them (at least in Year One) with 10 minimum-salaried players. To me, you can't win a title that way. You need a couple shooters and a couple bangers, and those guys are not available at the minimum.

Doug (NYC)

Why Stoudemire over Lee as the 2nd choice? Personally think the latter is a better player; certainly less injury concerns.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:41 PM)

Knicks have made it clear they can live with or without David Lee. Stoudemire is the more explosive offensive player and a better defender.

Javier (NYC)

If the Knicks hit the jackpot and land LeBron and Bosh, surrounded by Gallo, Chandler, Curry, TD, and minimum contracts, how far do you see them going into the playoffs?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:42 PM)

Game 7 of 2nd round, minimum.

brandon (LI)

What is keeping the Knicks from buying out Curry contract.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:43 PM)

He is owed $11.3 million. If he took a $10 million buyout, that $10 million would still count against the Knicks' cap, and they would not have the option of trading his expiring contract in February when there might be something of interest available to them.

Jerry (Texas)

Do you see any way that LeBron and Bosh don't sign with the same team?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:45 PM)

Absolutely. I think it's more likely than not that they go to the same place, but the winds can shift rather quickly in this moratorium week. Rockets certainly gave Bosh a lot to think about last night when they met with him at midnight, and they have the resources to put together the most attreactive sign-and-trade package for Toronto. First, however, Bosh would have to tell them he'd be open to going there.

Vinnie (ATL)

What do you think of the Nets billboard? I think it is hilarious!

Chris Sheridan
  (12:49 PM)

Me too. Knicks execs can see it from their offices at Penn Plaza. (An aside: Best taunting billboard ever was put up by NY Post on the side of the building facing the NY Daily News' offices on West 33rd Street, touting the fact that the Post had surpassed the News in circulation. The billboard was not even viewable to drivers on 33rd Street, as it faced West and that block runs East to West.)

Mark (Washington)

Chris - I've been a long suffering NY Knicks fan for 40 years. Please give me some hope as to how this all plays out for the Knicks over the next year and a half.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:50 PM)

Using a poker reference, they are all-in. If they miss out on LBJ/DWade/Bosh/Amare/Dirk, they are doomed for a half-decade at the minimum.

Rich (NYC)

What about Wade? Any chance we see Wade and Bosh in NY if MIA doesn't get suitable pieces for Wade?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:53 PM)

Wade is Knicks' target 1-B. My ESPN colleague Chad Ford did an outstanding piece last month on the Knicks' plans. You can find it on the NBA home page on ESPN.com in Chad's archive.

Devlin (Boston)

Two part question: Who wins the Atlantic Conference next year depending on the moves, and what's the likelihood of Pierce going to the Clippers? Thanks

Chris Sheridan
  (12:54 PM)

Can't answer the first question yet. Too many unknowns. On the second question, it'll be a matter of how much wider Donald Sterling will open his wallet than Wyc Grousbeck will. If Clips are willing to give max money for four years, I think Pierce will return to his L.A. roots.

Jamrock (Columbus ohio)

I am a Knicks fan here in Columbus, Ohio and the MJ shadow comparison I believe has some merit. People are just looking at it wrong. The Lakers and Celtics have multiple championships across multiple gnerations and you have had great players that have only won one ring for those teams. The Bulls have only ever had one person win all of those championships. That is the big difference. Take it for what it's worth. This isn't West, Chamberlain, Magic, Kareem, and on and on or Celtics. Russell, Bird, Parish, Havlicek and on and on. This is Chicago. Michael Jordan stops right there.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:56 PM)

You make a strong argument, I just believe the shadow thing is overblown. Fear of failure is NOT what is driving LeBron's thought process.

Jorge (Manhattan, NY)

There are so many rumors going around, you know LeBron is looking for home here in NY. I just don't know who to believe anymore. I know at the end of the day its LBJ's decision but would it come down to a NY/CLE Decision for LBJ?

Chris Sheridan
  (12:58 PM)

It is all very, very fluid. And zero hour has arrived for the Knicks, who are about to begin their meeting with LBJ in Cleveland.

Chris Sheridan
  (12:59 PM)

On that note, I am signing out. Thanks to everyone for stopping by to chat, and sorry I could not get to more of your questions.