Report: Knicks Were LeBron James’ 1st Choice in 2010, But Meeting Was ‘Disaster’

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Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James signed with the Miami Heat as a free agent in 2010, but a new report indicates that James’ first choice entering that free-agency period was the New York Knicks.

The Ringer’s Bill Simmons spoke on his podcast about the free-for-all for James’ services a decade ago after James had played seven seasons with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Knicks’ chances of signing James quickly faded, largely because of self-inflicted wounds on the team’s part.

“From everyone I’ve talked to in the know since then, it’s clear that the Knicks were the first choice,” Simmons said. “It was basically the Knicks’ to lose, and they just couldn’t stay out of their own way. The stories are legendary.”

One of the chief reasons for the Knicks’ bungling was due to their controversial owner James Dolan, with James rejecting the team after just one meeting.

“Dolan was Dolan. they didn’t have anything prepared,” Simmons said. “It just couldn’t have gone worse by all accounts. It was a disaster. I think at that point, combined with the decade the Knicks just had, I think those guys were just like ‘f–k it,'” Simmons said.

In addition, the Knicks’ presentation offered no specific plan on how the team would continue their development beyond signing James. The fact that the team was coming off nine straight losing seasons also offered little appeal to James.

Prior to that bungling, James had long expressed his love for New York and spoke of his reverence for playing in the Knicks’ home at Madison Square Garden.

James eventually signed with the Heat before then returning to Cleveland in 2014. In 2018, he moved on to join the Lakers and is currently seeking to win a championship for his third different team.

History obviously would have been much different had James worn a Knicks uniform, but it’s clear that Heat fans are happy that he was around for the four years that resulted in two NBA titles and four straight finals appearances..

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.