Apparently Monday was "Brazen Overtures Towards LeBron James(notes) Day" in New York. That's the only logical explanation for why both the New York Daily News and New York Magazine rolled out their "come to New York, please" packages Monday. I wish someone had told me. I'd have prepared a pot roast.
While the Daily News is offering little more than a Photoshop contest, New York Magazine has a huge feature on why LeBron James should be a New York Knick. Reasons range from LeBron making a billion dollars to the possibility of having a sandwich named after him. It's a fun read, even if some of the basketball talk is a little fishy — for instance, by no measure is Chris Bosh(notes) one of the NBA's top-five rebounders.
But for my money, the best part of the entire package is the revelation that the Knicks hired someone whose entire job is enticing LeBron James to come to New York.
Two summers ago, they hired a guy whose whole job is basically to [get LeBron to New York]. His name is John Gabriel, and he invented the pull-out-all-the-stops, research-intensive approach to free-agent schmoozing when he was general manager in Orlando. Technically, his title is director of pro scouting and free agency, but it really should be "guy in charge of showering love on LeBron James." Gabriel keeps detailed files on your likes, dislikes and habits. He's even been rehearsing for you. Remember last summer, when the Knicks were pursuing free agents Jason Kidd(notes) and Grant Hill(notes)? Those overtures, a Knicks insider told us, were just a recital for the performance you will get. The team never realistically considered signing either of them. When the Knicks dimmed the lights and announced Hill's name on the PA as he came out of the tunnel onto the court during his visit, they were really thinking of you. Gabriel is so good, the plan almost worked too well. Hill's agent told us that Hill gave the offer "very, very serious consideration."
Incredible. Gabriel is like a personal LeBron concierge employed by a team he doesn't even play for. I can't imagine job prospects are good if LeBron doesn't sign with the Knicks, but with reports that LeBron could be worth $50 million annually to a franchise, I'm guessing paying Gabriel is a small price to pay for the chance to make that money back a thousand times over. For that kind of dough, I wouldn't be surprised if more teams had a "LeBron guy" and we just don't know about it.
No matter your feelings on LeBron to New York, you really should check out the whole feature. At the very least, you'll enjoy reading David Thorpe imagining James in a Seven Seconds or Less offense and Kevin Pelton breaking down possible free agency destinations. Not to mention, this will be very funny to read when LeBron re-signs with Cleveland.