To our eyes, and the eyes of most Knicks fans we know, the notion that the front-office brass is targeting Joe Johnson as a way to lure LeBron James here is naïve at best, dissembling at worst. It's difficult to imagine LeBron saying, "Well, now that you have Joe Johnson, with his eighteen PPG in last year's playoffs, you leave me no choice! I must sign!" To many, the Johnson gambit seems like putting the backup plan before the primary plan: It looks like a way for the Knicks to sign Johnson and then blame LeBron for not coming: We got you Joe Johnson! If you don't come now, well, then piss on ya! Heck, the guy wasn't even invited to the Wade/Bosh/LeBron summit. And here's the thing: He doesn't want to come here anyway.
In fact, according to the invaluable Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo, he'd rather force a sign-and-trade somewhere than come here:
Johnson, is more likely to embrace a sign-and-trade to the contending Mavs than sign a free-agent contract with New York or Chicago, sources said.
"New York is far from his first option," one source with knowledge of Johnson's thinking said. Johnson will meet with New York officials on Thursday in Los Angeles, but sources warn that Johnson is unlikely to choose the Knicks unless he's joining them as part of a star tandem. He isn't built — physically or psychologically — to carry a franchise and the prospect of trying to play the part of savior for New York is unrealistic.
So, uh, what's the plan then? We are not sure. What are Donnie Walsh and company going to say in their meeting with Johnson on Thursday, the one before the LeBron meeting at 1:30? So, Joe, you don't want us without LeBron, but when we talk to him later, could you put in a nice word? Oh, and we're still here waiting if it doesn't work out with every other team you'd rather go to. You have our number, right? Joe Johnson is a backup plan that is doomed from the outset. And if LeBron actually does come to New York, Joe Johnson is not his ideal running mate. Everyone knows this. So what's going on? Beats us.
Maybe the Knicks are just depressed that Stephon Marbury would rather LeBron sign with the Nets than the Knicks. If that guy's not on your side, dammit, who is?