The Knicks are years away from being where they need to be in order to legitimately contend for a championship. Even with LeBron James, it would be rough getting the young Knicks deep in the playoffs.
James is 33. He needs to get to the Finals every possible year for the rest of his career if he is to continue chasing Michael Jordan’s ghost. New York does not offer this on-court success that other destinations such as Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, and even Cleveland do.
Porzingis is a special player, but he is still young, inexperienced, and injury-prone. While he would be a great second fiddle on both sides of the floor for LeBron, there is not much else. Frank Ntilikina is so far away from his prime. He is, at this moment, not even necessarily a positive on the floor.
The Knicks have an incoming pick this year, but that doesn’t move the needle when it comes to trying to take on the game’s best player. Many rookies do not make positive impacts when they first enter the league, and a pick at nine or 10 this year likely won’t be any different.
Other players on the roster don’t really make the apple very shiny, either. Courtney Lee is a good rotation player, but not a player that can make a significant playoff impact as of now. The same goes with Trey Burke, Kyle O’Quinn, and Enes Kanter. The roster is simply sub-par, which is the last thing LeBron will want to deal with after the experience he is having in Cleveland right now.
Every night of these playoffs, James is doing absolutely everything a human can handle. If he has the choice to play where he doesn’t need to take over every night and exhaust himself, he will. The Knicks don’t offer that now, and won’t for years to come. Maybe New York can be his swan song in his next chapter.