David Stern on Thursday said the Knicks were "heading in a very good direction," but is it pointed right at LeBron James? The commissioner laughed at how Knicks fans who see him around New York have been pleading with him to make LeBron-to-New York happen.
"It's incredible to think I have the ability to control LeBron's destination," Stern said.
Right. And that envelope wasn't frozen in 1985, either.
Stern added that there are "29 other teams that are very happy with the way things are," which is to suggest that the rest of the league is apparently happy to see the biggest market have one of the worst teams. Is there no wonder why revenues -- though not as poor as forecasted -- will be down this season?
The NBA can not play favorites, but when it favors the entire league they must. Would a winning team in New York -- never mind a championship-caliber team -- be better off for everyone? Of course it would. It's not about the gate, the Knicks finished the season fifth in the league in attendance. This franchise carries its own weight thanks to an incredibly loyal fan base. But you can't deny that having star power in the media and marketing capital would be a major boon for the NBA. You can't even use the 1990s as a comparison because the internet was still relatively new and cell phones had yet to scratch the surface in mobile technology.
Never mind what a good Knicks team would mean to the fans here. A good Knicks team means there are millions of New Yorkers who care a little more about the NBA, too. They care about how the Celtics did last night because there is a battle for first in the Atlantic. They care about where the Magic and Bulls are because of playoff positioning in the East. They care about what the Lakers and Thunder are doing because of possible Finals matchups. They will care enough to tune into ABC, ESPN and TNT and check the websites and read the blogs (well, only after reading the Fix).
You see how this works? It's not just about the Knicks. It's about the NBA becoming insanely popular in the largest market in the world. Right now you still have basketball fans who care. What you want are all sports fans to care, as well. It's been too many years since they have.
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* - Newsday's Greg Logan attended the APSE's annual meetings with commissioners of all the major sports. Stern spoke optimistically about the Knicks (and Nets) said he anticipated a completed Garden renovation in three seasons." You can read the story here.
Meanwhile, Danilo Gallinari is home in Italy for a few weeks of rest before he returns to New York to begin preparing for next season. The Italian media caught up with him and trumpeted a remark by Gallo in which he said, "I really hope LeBron James will be a Knick."
Oh yes he did. But it wasn't the first time Gallinari has mentioned LeBron by name when talking about the Knicks.
Two weeks ago I asked Gallo if there was a player in free agency he'd most want to see sign with the Knicks, he replied,
"I mean, I think that everybody would like to play with LeBron. It's not just me. I think everybody would like to play with him. But I think there are a lot of other great players in this league, so we'll see what happens."
Meanwhile, when asked about his season and his plans for the Italian national team this summer. Gallo told Sportando.net what he'd been saying for several weeks, that he will not play this summer for the national team.
This is what you want to hear, Fixers. Too often international players get caught up in spending their summers competing for their national teams and they don't get the proper rest or get time to work on various aspects of their game.
Gallo has said he plans to spend only a little bit of time in his home country this spring (he'll be back there in October with the Knicks, of course) with intentions to be in New York for pretty much the entire summer with a focus on working out this offseason and improving the areas of his game -- leg strength, agility and explosion -- at the MSG Training Center.