Phil Jackson is about to flaunt his cache.
The newly minted New York Knicks president of basketball operations and 11-time NBA coaching champion is in the beginning stages of launching a campaign he hopes will land the team four-time league MVP LeBron James by the dawn of summer 2015.
James will be free to opt out of of his deal with the Heat by then, provided he doesn’t take advantage of the same option at the close of this year’s playoffs, and Jackson’s master plan has the Knicks putting themselves in financial position to be able to take advantage of such a huge luxury.
The Knicks made a similar run at James in 2010 when he decided to leave his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers for greener pastures that ultimately landed him in South Beach, chasing immortality alongside fellow legends Pat Riley and Dwyane Wade.
But in the 68-year-old, 13-time in total champion Jackson, the Knicks are hopeful they now have the star power to match that of any other potential suitor. Beyond the veteran coach, the Knicks aren’t exactly certain what else they might have to sell James on by 2015 or even this summer for that matter, as star forward Carmelo Anthony is slated to become a free agent this summer and the jury widely remains divided as to what that will ultimately come to mean for the franchise.
To seriously consider leaving at any point, ESPN speculates James’ criteria will be much the same as it was four years ago when only teams on the verge of competing for a chip needed entertain thoughts of applying.
At 29-years-old and 11 seasons in, it’s all about bling and expediency of right now for James, currently seeking to lead the Heat in becoming just the third team over the last near two decades to earn an NBA three peat.
James recently told reporters he can’t envision a scenario where he would now leave South Beach, but should the Heat fall short of being where he expects them to be this time next month the forecast could certainly change.
“We don’t know what can happen from now to July.” James added. “So what I’ve been able to do this whole season to this point is just worry about what’s at hand, and that’s winning another championship. And hopefully at the end of this year I can put myself in a position where I can hold that Larry O’Brien Trophy up once again. And then I will assess what I have to do with my future after that.”
Real talk, back in 2010 the Knicks really weren’t in a position to put themselves in a position to earnestly talk about nabbing James. But this time, Jackson could easily change the dialogue.