LeBron James was linked to the New York Knicks back in 2010 and 2014 when he was a free agent. The Knicks were the favorites to sign James in 2010, but 2014 was a different story. Knicks legend Charles Oakley has revealed that LeBron James had no intention of playing for New York in 2014.
According to the New York Daily News, Oakley told the story of when he tried to clear the air with James Dolan back in 2013 in his new book "The Last Enforcer." Oakley was critical of Knicks ownership and this led to an awkward meeting with Dolan in a New Orleans casino. The Knicks owner ignored Oakley, who was infuriated by the disrespect he was shown.
Oakley is good friends with James and he told the story to "The King" shortly afterwards. LeBron was very candid with his response, according to the Knicks legend.
"I walked back to LeBron and said, 'This motherf***er (Dolan) wouldn’t shake my hand. All LeBron said was: 'This is why I’m never going to New York,'" Oakley wrote.
The 2014 free agency was a year away at the time, but it seems like LeBron James had already made up his mind. James would eventually leave the Miami Heat in 2014 and rejoin the Cleveland Cavaliers. He went on to win his third NBA championship in 2016 before joining the LA Lakers in 2018.
Meanwhile, Charles Oakley has not returned to Madison Square Garden ever since he was handcuffed during a game in New York five years ago at the instruction of James Dolan. Oakley turned down attempts at reconciliation orchestrated by the Knicks ownership.
LeBron James wanted to sign with the Knicks in 2010 but they screwed up
When LeBron James entered free agency for the first time back in 2010, his first choice was actually the New York Knicks and not the Miami Heat. According to Bill Simmons of The Ringer, the Knicks and James Dolan were not prepared when they met with James and lacked a long-term vision that "The King" was looking for.
"Dolan was Dolan. They didn't have anything prepared. 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.
Charles Oakley also noted in his book that James did not like William Wesley, the Knicks' Executive Vice President and Senior Basketball Advisor. Oakley mentioned that Wesley had a falling out with LeBron and Rich Paul.
"Wes had a falling out with LeBron over something shady that happened with Rich Paul. I don’t know the details, but I think Rich felt Wes had tried to f**k him over," Oakley wrote.
It should be noted that William Wesley is a former consultant for Creative Arts Agency or CAA. Leon Rose, who joined CAA in 2007, represented LeBron James from 2005 until 2012 when Rich Paul founded Klutch.
James went on to sign with the Miami Heat and stayed in South Beach for four seasons. After winning two rings in Miami, LeBron added one in Cleveland and one in Hollywood. It's definitely a what-if scenario for the New York Knicks and their fan base.