"...Sources say that the Knicks’ likely fallback option if they don’t get LeBron is Atlanta’s Joe Johnson – but that strategy comes with a caveat. On one hand, Donnie Walsh is too smart to overpay for a player like Johnson who probably isn’t quite deserving of the max. Then again, the Hawks will pay Johnson the max to stay, so if anybody else wants him, the max is what it will take. Johnson said recently that he’d sacrifice to pair up with another elite player, meaning he’d take less than the max. But there’s no reason for him to take less under any other circumstance.Several things here. One, everyone knows the "myth" of Bosh being a max player. Bosh is riding Olympic momentum. As he relates to Wade and Lebron, he is less than a max player. I don't love the idea of Bosh and Johnson, myself. I'd add more pieces this summer and set my sites on 2011. They can be a playoff team next year if the roster is tweaked and more talent is added. I'd sign one of them, for a potential partnership when the team finally gets rid of Eddy Curry, aka the last remaining reminder of the Isiah Era.
• For similar reasons, Walsh will have to decide whether Chris Bosh is worthy of a max deal if he strikes out on LeBron. Sources familiar with Walsh’s thinking are convinced that he does not regard Bosh as being on the same level as James and Wade, who will be the only two clear-cut max players on the market. “That’s the fallacy with the max,” one prominent agent said. “It allows you to buy Chris Bosh for the same price as LeBron James.” In fact, another person familiar with Walsh’s strategy said if it came down to deciding whether to keep David Lee or sign Bosh to a max deal, Walsh would choose Lee. “There are questions about whether Bosh is the kind of player who can carry a team by himself,” the person said. “He certainly hasn’t done it in Toronto...”
On the Lee front, it's a simple answer when you talk about Lee and the Knicks. As Walsh would say it's about "the number." Common sense tells you that if the team strikes out with James and Wade, they don't want to overspend. Yet, I'm not sold, based on who I' ve talked to, that Walsh prefers Lee over Bosh. Bosh is a better player. The idea that they could have done nothing and waited until next year is valid, but we're talking about rebuilding a franchise. Walsh knew James and Wade weren't signing extensions and they'd have the chance to sit down in July. You do whatever it takes to make that happen.
They can give both whatever they want.
After that the team will still have options, and should keep the door open in terms of flexibility.