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Reading the LeBron Tea Leaves

Of all the digital ink spilled on LeBron James over the last 24 hours, our favorite piece was written by Mike the Intern at Knicks blog Posting and Toasting. It had everything we could possibly want as a Knicks fan: Wild conspiracy theories (Spike Lee is suspiciously quiet!); bizarre, just-weird-enough-to-be-believable rumors (Nike has ordered thousands of Orange Witness shirts!); strange cosmic circumstance (Lady Gaga's only night off at MSG this week is tomorrow ... the same night as LeBron's announcement!); semi-terrifying lunacy ("I've been thinking ... If this guy does all of this and then signs with Cleveland he's sleeping with the damn fishes. You think Hiroshima and Nagasaki was big? Wait till you see the bomb that drops on Cleveland if this fucker stays. If he doesn't sign here I'll be upset but if he signs there after this whole free agency frenzy he's a dead man"); and, mostly, pure, unbridled, giddy-ass optimism. LeBron James might not put on a Knicks hat tomorrow. But there's a chance. There's a chance!

Fact is, the Chris Bosh–Dwyane Wade combination actually works in the Knicks' favor: It gives them one last chance. Bosh and Wade might be trying to get LeBron to come to Miami, but that's extremely unlikely under the current NBA salary structure. The Bulls are still in the game, but reportedly furious with Worldwide Wes for encouraging them to dump salary for LeBron with whispers that he's coming, only to learn that he's not leaning that direction at all. The Cavaliers are the favorites, of course, if just because it's difficult to imagine that LeBron would put together an hour-long prime-time special just to stick a knife in Cleveland's heart. That said: If he's just re-upping, why a big hour-long show? No one knows! Everyone's guessing! And guessing is really fun.

So.

ESPN's Chris Sheridan, who has been the one voice over there who has consistently championed the Knicks, is connecting some dots himself and thinks the Knicks look better than people realize. He points out Chris Broussard's "Knicks gaining major ground in LeBron Sweepstakes" tweet and notes the ongoing Brian Windhorst meltdown we noted this morning.

Also: LeBron is actually going to be in New York this weekend, for Carmelo Anthony's wedding, which means he's either going to be carried around as KING or he's going to have several Randy Johnson incidents. We will say this: If LeBron were going to announce that he were going to the Knicks, this is the way he would do it, right? Big dramatic unveiling, then a trip to the city he'll be owning? People would be tracking his movements over the weekend like the Obamas dining in the West Village. It doesn't mean he's coming here; it just means that the path is there.

(It is also worth noting that this is also how he would do it if he were going to the Nets ... but we're just assuming that's not happening.)

We will all finally know tomorrow night. There is movement. There is a chance. There is hope. With just 30 hours left to go, that's all, at this point, you could ask.

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Photo: Illustration by Remie Geoffroi