It didn't take long for the transcript of the Larry King interview with LeBron James to leak out. A Cleveland television station got access to the entire interview and the Plain Dealer transcribed the conversation.
We gave it a read and compiled some highlights that would interest Knicks fans:
- LeBron says his "ultimate goal" is to win "multiple championships" and that leads King to surmize that to mean a bad team would not qualify because he can't play forever. That might suggest the Knicks, who haven't had a winning season in nine years, or the Nets, with the NBA's worst record, are unfavorable options, while a team such as the Chicago Bulls, with a recent history loaded with championships and a young superstar in Derrick Rose, a leading candidate.
"I cannot play forever," James said. "And that is absolutely right. But the team that I go to or -- or, you know, whatever the case may be, will have an opportunity to win championships in multiple years and not just because of LeBron James."
- King mentions the Dwyane Wade-inspired "summit" meeting with the top free agents before July 1st to discuss plans. LeBron seemed intrigued by it.
"I don't know to what extent, but it will be fun," he said. "It will be fun to get all the free agents together and, you know, figure out a way how we can make the league better."
He also talks about "certain situation where you may be able to pair with . . . a good one or two guys and better that franchise and guys better these franchises."
That might be the most optimistic statement from a Knicks perspective that LeBron makes in the entire one hour interview. Wade is clearly looking to lure Amar'e Stoudemire to the Heat and if the Knicks can get LeBron and Chris Bosh, you're talking about reviving one of the best rivalries from the 1990s.
Later in the interview King asks if L.A. (in reference to the Clippers) would be interesting if he and Bosh went there as a package deal. LeBron's response was interesting:
"It's a great city, but at the same time, like I said, it's not always about the city, it's about winning. And I mean if you put me and Bosh on the same team, if you put me and Dwyane Wade on the same team or a lot of these - me and Joe Johnson or a lot of these guys - a lot of teams would be much better. You know, the Cavs would be much better."
So does that go back to what LeBron said about the chance to win multiple championships and have it not only be because of him?
- Surprisingly, though he mentions the Clippers by name, King, as a New York (Brooklyn) native, never directly asks LeBron specifically about the Knicks or Nets in the entire interview. Instead, he mentions that Mayor Bloomberg made overtures -- "It is humbling," James said, "and not just from the mayor of New York, but, you know, you had a president saying go to Chiacgo and you have other cities and other people wanting you to be part of their city, wanting you to be part of their franchise."
Here's where King reiterates the fact that "you already said, it has to be a good team" and then mentions the Clippers. LeBron speaks very highly of the Clippers, but almost in a patronizing manner.
Again, it's curious that King never mentions the Knicks.
- Finally, King asked a great question about how the city of Cleveland is economically reliant on LeBron. He asks LeBron if he takes this into consideration, that his departure could be economically troubling for that city?
James seemed detached.
"Well, I think as far as saving the city economically, I can't get too involved in that," he said. "I can't let that be a decision of mine or what I do with my future."
But LeBron did admit Cleveland is a sentimental favorite in this free agency sweepstakes.
"Oh absolutely," he said. "And it's a Cleveland-Akron team, because I grew up in Akron . . "
- King asked LeBron if he was close to making a decision.
"I'm far from close," he said.
Here's a clip from CNN: