Winning LeBron sweepstakes won't be easy

LeBron James can opt out of his contract at the end of this season to test free agency. He can do the same thing after next season.

The New York Knicks, of course, are well aware of this.

In a perfect world for Phil Jackson & Co., LeBron opt outs out his contract after next season and tests free agency in the summer of 2015.

New York is expected to be well under the cap at that point and should have the money to make a serious play for James.

But money alone won't be enough to lure James to New York, according to ESPN.com's Brian Windhorst. The Knicks will also need to prove that they're ready to contend for a title.

Writes Windhorst:

When James looks at his menu of options next month he will focus on being with a team that is built to contend for championships right now. Not in two years. Not after new teammates get their first taste of the playoffs. Now.

At age 29 and in his prime, James is not in the business of playing for a team that is still developing. He wouldn't have much interest in losing a season while a coach is learning the ropes, either. James is very focused on adding titles and being on a team that has the expectation to be a yearly contender, essentially a situation like he has been in for the past four seasons.

Windhorst later adds:

If he were to make a dramatic jump again at this point in his career, it would almost certainly take a situation like he chose in 2010, when the Heat offered an incomparable package of star power and title readiness. It likely would take some sort of dream scenario again to get James to even think about moving on.

It's hard to see the Knicks putting themselves in position to contend year in and year out by the summer of 2015.

If they re-sign Carmelo Anthony, maybe they can sell James on a tandem of he and Anthony (and a first-round pick, J.R. Smith, Tim Hardaway Jr., Iman Shumpert) being surrounded by accomplished veterans willing to accept veteran's minimum contracts.

If you're James, would you be interested in that situation?

Woody "proud" of Knicks record: Ex-Knicks coach Mike Woodson reflected on his time with the team earlier this week on ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike" show.

"I feel good about what my staff and I did in New York. We took a team that was struggling, got them into the playoffs," Woodson said. "The next year we went with some old heads like Jason Kidd and Kurt Thomas and Rasheed and Camby and an unknown guy like Pablo Prigioni and we put a helluva team together. Glen Grunwald, along with Mr. Dolan and the front office people, and we were able to win 54 games. … I was proud of that team."

Woodson, who is holding a golf tournament in Las Vegas in late July, also reiterated that he hopes to get back into coaching next season.

"Extremely quick. I would like to get back as soon as possible," the coach said.

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