As the clock struck 12:01am early Wednesday, the Knicks were already off and running to conquer its summer free agency quest.
On the very same day that free agents are finally able to negotiate, the Knicks’ recruitment team, consisting of Donnie Walsh, Mike D’Antoni, Allan Houston, and James Dolan have already made stops to talk with certain free agents.
Although Dolan did not reportedly travel to Los Angeles early Wednesday, the rest of the group met with Joe Johnson.
Johnson has maximum contracts offers from both the Knicks and Hawks. Although Johnson has beamed when asked about reuniting with Mike D’Antoni, his visit with the Knicks could already be a waste.
The Hawks, as Johnson’s last team, can add a sixth year to its contract offer, while the Knicks cannot.
Johnson appears close to accepting the Hawks’ offer, as he would leave nearly $25 million on the table if he were to sign with the Knicks instead of the Hawks.
However, there is no time for the Knicks to look back. The tour continued on its rapid pace Thursday afternoon as Dolan joined the group at LeBron James’ home in Ohio.
After Thursday, the free agency tour ultimately becomes the search for James’ perfect running mate, as the Knicks have scheduled meetings in Chicago with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, and Amare Stoudemire shortly after that.
James has told confidants he hopes to have made a decision by Monday. This gives the Knicks only the next few days to lure in a second free agent in order to sweeten the deal.
Dirk Nowitzki will also be in New York Friday night to have dinner with Mavericks teammate Jason Kidd. While it’s unknown whether or not he plans to meet with Knicks’ brass, they would have to fly back in from Chicago late Friday to make that happen.
After all the planning, due diligence, and anticipation, make no mistake Walsh (who is making trips in a wheelchair following his neck surgery two weeks ago) would certainly, nevertheless, lead his brigade back to New York if Dirk comes calling.
The team also met with swing man Mike Miller in L.A. on Thursday.