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GARDEN PARTY FIT FOR A 'KING' - KNICKS HOPE TO BECOME 'APPLE' OF LEBRON'S EYE For the Knicks , 2008 and 2009 are all about the summer of 2010, all about luring LeBron James to New York with the big promises of the world's biggest stage.

James will get to see that stage first-hand today. His Yankees are having their parade up the Canyon of Heroes before James himself faces the Knicks tonight at the Garden.

And even if he doesn't attend the parade, it'll be King James' last visit to the Garden - barring a miracle and the Knicks making the playoffs - before he decides whether to make it his kingdom.

"No, my parade starts at 8 [tonight]," James said before hosting Philadelphia last night. "There will be a lot of intensity, the fact that we only play there once.

"July 1 is right around the corner, so it'll be really exciting. I'm looking forward to winning an NBA championship here [in Cleveland]. It's going to be a long season, and I can't think about what's going to happen July 1 or after that or what I'm going to do."

The Knicks , despite being just 1-4 after Wednesday's loss to Indiana, always are linked as James' biggest suitor: It's easy to see why. James - who texted with Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia yesterday - loves the limelight. He had 52 points, 11 assists and nine boards in his last Garden performance, on Feb. 4.

"I don't tease. I've never teased the New York media by saying I was coming to New York, or playing for the Knicks ," James said. "I say the same thing every time: When July 1gets here, I'm going to approach it like a businessman and approach it for the best fit for LeBron and his family.

"I've been a Cav for seven years now, and I've never given any indication I was leaving. For me to say I'm not going to be a Knick , I'm going to be a Cav, or I'm going to be a Knick , I'm not going to be a Cav, I'm not going to do that. I'm going to leave my options open."

The Knicks can't rely on their play as a big recruiting tool, with coach Mike D'Antoni "peeved" after Wednesday, and then saying yesterday, "We don't have a mental will to win a Basketball game right now." They held a players-only meeting after just five games.

But they can take solace in this bit of King James' royal confidence - "It doesn't matter where I'll be, I'm good enough to help a team win Basketball games" - and the fact that the fan in him acknowledges that the NBA is a better league when the blueblood teams like the Lakers, Celtics and Knicks are winning.

"You look at history," he said. "It's like the Yankees, the big-time franchises that have a lot of history. It's hard for the fans to look at what they've been looking at the last few years, because they know the history of what's gone into the Garden.

"So I can understand that as a fan, because I know the history of the game.

"I think the league is doing just fine. But with the Knicks being good, the Celtics being good, the Lakers being good, it makes the league that much better."

5 Reasons LeBron Signs with Knicks

1. Likes all things Italian - the suits, the food, a former AC Milan coach and perhaps a slender, 21-year-old 6-11 3-point marksman.

2. Easy commute to next year?s World Series games and Jay-Z?s 40/40 club.

3. Ever been to Cleveland in February?

4. Won?t be his last contract, so he can take a risk or add opt-out clause.

5. Nike wants him here.

5 Reasons LeBron Stays in Cleveland or Signs with Different Club

1. Unfinished business in home state.

2. New York income taxes monstrously higher than Ohio?s. Cavs can also offer one more year than Knicks , an additional $30 million.

3. LeBron has called Brooklyn his favorite borough and Russian billionaire will get Nets there sooner than later.

4. His mother told Page Six LeBron loves Cleveland too much to leave.

5. The Knicks stink. - Marc Berman

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Added: November 7, 2009


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