The Knicks had a second meeting with LeBron James’ representatives Saturday in Cleveland, a get-together called by the team to clarify its cap position and the options available to surround James with other free agents or assets acquired in trades, a person with knowledge of the sitdown confirmed to CBSSports.com.
The meeting was called after it became apparent that the Knicks were closing in on an agreement with free-agent power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, but that was not the reason for the gathering, the person with knowledge of it said. The meeting was first reported Sunday by the New York Daily News .
“It was just to make sure that they understood how much cap room we had,” a team official familiar with the meeting said. “… The options that you could come out of that with is what we wanted to explain. I think they were unclear and we had to show them.”
Those present included Glen Grunwald, the Knicks’ vice president of basketball operations, and Madison Square Garden president Scott O’Neil, who were dispatched to Cleveland Saturday to explain the options at the team’s disposal to James’ agent, Leon Rose. James did not attend.
The team official with knowledge of the meeting stressed that, although Stoudemire met Sunday with coach Mike D’Antoni and will have a formal sitdown with Knicks officials Monday, it is by no means a done deal that Stoudemire will be a Knick. Stoudemire and D'Antoni met Sunday to lay the groundwork for Monday's meeting and clear the air about what once source described as "misperceptions" about their relatiionship at the end of D'Antoni's days in Phoenix. But while Stoudemire and D'Antoni may have cleared the air about possibly entering into another working relationship, James holds all the cards in terms of what complementary players the Knicks would surround him with if the King opted to sign with the Knicks.
All of the potential free-agent maneuverings are intertwined, with one executive involved in the chase saying Sunday, "Nobody has anybody yet." And the Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported Sunday that James will likely delay an announcement of his decision until after a three-day Nike camp in his hometown of Akron concludes Wednesday.
Stoudemire, too, is keeping his options open, as AOL Fanhouse reported Sunday that the five-time All-Star plans to meet Tuesday with the Nets and Bulls if he doesn’t agree to terms with the Knicks Monday. In the information vacuum and speculative frenzy that has engulfed the NBA during this unprecedented free-agent summer, Stoudemire caused a stir Saturday night when he said that Tony Parker and Carmelo Anthony had agreed to come with him to New York if he signed with the Knicks. New York is interested in both players, and has, in fact, inquired about obtaining Parker from the Spurs in a trade. But short of a trade – and a person close to Anthony told CBSSports.com Saturday that there’s “zero chance” the Nuggets will trade him this summer – there is no way for Stoudemire’s promise to become reality.
“Clearly, you can’t,” a team executive familiar with the Knicks’ situation said of the team landing Parker and Melo.
Meanwhile, the Knicks continue to pursue other options to either pair with a top-tier free agent or with Stoudemire, with small forward Mike Miller apparently the most coveted piece. In addition to the Knicks, the Heat, Clippers and perhaps Cavs are in contention for Miller, a person with knowledge of the situation told CBSSports.com.
The Cavs, who came out of Saturday’s presentations to James feeling they are still the overwhelming favorites to retain him, are continuing to pursue Bulls free-agent center Brad Miller, sources said.