Local Papers in Recruitment Mode As LeBron Comes to Town

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We hope that LeBron James has a chance to read today’s tabloids before playing his inevitable future employer at the Garden tonight. That’s because they’re leaving nothing to chance, rolling out a full-court press to recruit him by telling him exactly how magical and lucrative playing for the Knicks will be.

Newsday, for example, reminds him that his Nike contract also expires in 2010, so while the Cavs can technically offer him more salary than the Knicks under league rules, he’d more than make up for it in endorsement money if he signs in New York — to the tune of $10 to $15 million more than anywhere else. In the Post, Peter Vecsey plants in James’s head the probably untrue speculation by ESPN’s Jalen Rose that fellow free-agent-to-be Chris Bosh has already made up his mind to play alongside him in New York. Shaun Powell implores Knicks fans to show LeBron the love by openly rooting for him, even if he’s technically still the opponent. And the News begins its own story by reminding him that he once uttered the following about the Garden:

I've dreamed about playing well in this building. To get a standing ovation in the greatest basketball arena in the world, it was a dream come true for me. It's one of the best things that ever happened to me.



James, by the way, isn’t exactly calling all of this unfounded. In fact, he’ll debut his new sneaker in tonight's game — a sneaker called the Zoom LeBron VI: Big Apple Edition. Maybe J.E. Skeets has the right idea: They really might as well just cancel the next season and a half.