|LeBron coming to New York for his Garden party|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 24 November 2008 13:20|
If James thought New Yorkers loved him then, wait until he sees the reception he's bound to get this time.
James' first visit to New York this season arrives just days after the Knicks boldly positioned themselves for a potential run at the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar in two summers.
Maybe James comes in 2010. He's definitely coming Tuesday.
It doesn't get much bigger in the Big Apple.
``It's always kind of a circus when he comes to town, whether they're thinking he's going to play for us in 2010 or not,'' Knicks forward David Lee said.
James will be decked out in a special ``Big Apple'' version of his Nike Zoom LeBron VI sneakers for the occasion, featuring a red color scheme.
What New Yorkers really want is to see him in white, blue and orange - the Knicks' uniform colors.
No matter what happens, it'll be hard to top James' last game at Madison Square Garden.
He had 50 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in Cleveland's 119-105 victory on March 5. A fan came on to the floor and walked up the Cavs' bench after James checked out in the final minute, even saying a few words to his favorite player, which James said made the night even more special.
``I've dreamed about playing well in this building and it's overtaken (what) I could ever dream about,'' James said after the game. ``To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me.''
It could happen on a nightly basis in a few years.
James can become a free agent in 2010, headlining a stellar class that also could include fellow U.S. Olympians Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. And though the Ohio native has never publicly said anything about leaving Cleveland, that's done nothing to quiet speculation that someday he'd eventually bolt for a bigger stage.
New York could already offer the Garden, with all its history and a renovation scheduled for completion in 2011-12, an exciting offensive style under Mike D'Antoni, and all the business opportunities James could ever seek.
The only thing the Knicks couldn't provide was the money - until Friday.
its books in the summer of 2010. The Knicks can't legally say who they would offer the money to - team president Donnie Walsh even claimed to be unaware who would be available - so the fans and media did the speaking for them.
Almost all the talk about the trades focused on what they meant for what's being nicknamed the ``Summer of LeBron.'' James was pictured in newspaper stories about the deals Saturday in New York, and the James-to-the-Knicks talk dominated weekend NBA chatter - all to the amusement of James himself.
``I figured that would happen,'' he said Saturday before the Cavs hosted Atlanta. ``They didn't even care about the guys that were coming to the Knicks, huh? 2010 is a big summer, a really big summer. It's two years away, but time goes fast. We'll see. We'll see what happens. You laugh at it and you watch what's going on, we'll see what happens.''
For the record, Al Harrington, Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas were the players the Knicks acquired, and all could make their debuts Tuesday.
But all eyes will be on James. New Yorkers adore basketball royalty - Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson received standing ovations when they attended games this season - but they haven't had any of their own in a long time.
They want King James.
They could get him and more. If Walsh can move Eddy Curry, the Knicks would be in position to afford two top players. They'll have a good recruiter in D'Antoni, who worked with James, Bosh and Wade as an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic team.
That puts D'Antoni in an uncomfortable spot now, asked to discuss relationships with players on other teams, which could be viewed as tampering.
``We're going down a slippery slope there and I'm not going there,'' he responded to one question Monday.
The Knicks insist they aren't bothered by the talk about James or the attention he's bound to get - even if he draws more cheers than anybody on the home team.
``I never quite understand what's going on,'' Lee said, ``but we'll keep trying to get the victory regardless of whose name they're chanting.''
AP Sports Writer Tom Withers in Cleveland contributed to this report.