An Open Letter to Nike CEO & President Mark Parker Regarding the New York Knicks, Eddy Curry, and NBA Free Agency
Dear Mr. Parker,
No doubt you’re a very busy man, so Iet me cut right to the quick. I’d like you to please consider writing a check this June to New York Knicks “center” Eddy Curry in the amount of $11.3 million dollars with the provision he does not exercise the $11.3 million dollar player option on his 2010-11 Knicks’ contract.
Now upfront I’ll acknowledge to you I’m a Knickerbockers fan, so my reasons for such an unusual request should be plain. The NBA free agent market is historically full this off-season, and the Knicks’ talent level historically low. Each and every additional cap dollar the Knicks have to spend this summer could have a cascading, exponential effect on who they can attract to rebuild the legacy of the once proud organization (though most fans like me will settle for repairing the reputation).
Depending on the final 2010-11 cap figure, the Knicks have likely already cleared enough to extend two max contracts, but they can certainly use more options and flexibility, with Curry’s tantalizing 8-figure amount (wasting an all-important roster spot) standing in the way of an historic one-year overhaul.
The mechanism of such an arrangement is simple enough. Curry - whose apparent mutual desire to be rid himself the Knicks is trumped only by his need of some quick cash - already happens to be on your endorsement roster of NBA players (though far be it for me to ask a man of your accomplishments why..?) Depositing this “incentive” into his account should be simple enough. Nike apparently already has his tax I.D. on file.
As to the “legality” of such an unusual proposal, while I’m no Larry Coon, I can find no evidence suggesting the CBA hawks of the NBA front office would have any recourse to prevent you from making this offer, or Curry from accepting it. So long as Nike does it completely by their own initiative, without any coordination, communication, or pre-arrangement with the NY Knicks organization (that’s where I come in), the NBA would have no choice but, and every reason, to look the other way.
So with all that out of the way, let me get to the $11.3 million dollar question - why should Nike consider this?
My answer is simple:
If LeBron James – perhaps your corporation’s most valued long-term asset in the wake of the great Tiger Woods implosion – genuinely wants New York (a question you likely have some insight to), it is uniquely within Nike’s grasp to help give him the best possible version of the Knicks he can have, and perhaps the best possible version of any NBA team that can reasonably be assembled around him.
It would give the Knicks the ability to sign or trade for not only the aforementioned complimentary max player, but also the ability to acquire another star or near-star level player, likely finalizing any and all debate about which team could put the best supporting court around the King.
The Knicks could potentially assemble a Power Trio to immediately surpass Boston’s aging Big Three and become a dominant force in the NBA for years.
And let’s also not forget some of the names we might be talking about here: Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer, Dirk Nowitzki, David Lee, and Rudy Gay.
Nike clients all.
Given the size of the NY stage, the back-story of the Knicks' organization, the dynamics of the free agent personalities, and the unique opportunity at hand, we’re talking about what could be not only the biggest NBA story/attraction in the post-Michael Jordan era, but potentially the biggest attraction in all of professional sports for years to come, with Nike not only acting as the facilitating force, but in secure position to reap the untold rewards of their own doing.
And all that stands in the way is $11.3 million dollars...
... or in other words, walking around money for Nike, Inc.