We're nearing the decisions

FRANK ZICARELLI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 12:42 AM ET

The NBA’s landscape is poised to get radically reshaped as the free-agent pieces fall into the right spots.

In the wake of Thursday’s draft and behind-the-scenes maneuvering that have taken place for months, if not years, the New York Knicks, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls have loaded up with the most cap space available in anticipation of the most highly touted free-agent class in history.

LeBron James remains the biggest domino, the one guy who will single-handedly remake the NBA if he decides to leave Cleveland.

Chris Bosh, it’s expected, will either follow James in the event the King bolts his Cavs’ kingdom or it’s more likely CB4 will join forces with Dwyane Wade in Miami.

The biggest losers could very well be the Knicks, whose non-playoff streak is now at nine years and counting.

New York has purposely been bad, getting rid of contracts and sacrificing two years because it knew of the talent that awaits this summer’s free agency.

According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, as soon as July 1 arrives, the day when free agents can be wooed, New York plans to rent a swanky penthouse in Manhattan to fete James.

It’s then expected Wade will be wined and dined by the Knicks, followed by Bosh and perhaps even Dirk Nowitzki, Joe Johnson, Amar’e Stoudemire.

Remember also that New Jersey and the L.A. Clippers have plenty of cap room, but the Knicks, Heat and Bulls have by far the most among all NBA teams.

By NBA rules, no player can sign with a team until July 8, but verbal agreements happen and will happen.

As of today, no team has positioned itself better than the Bulls, whose trade with Washington that sent Kirk Hinrich and his $9-million contract can’t be made official until July 8.

In Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, Chicago has two legitimate building blocks and enough money to acquire two big-name free agents.

The Knicks’ biggest selling point is New York, while the Heat has been stripped to the very bone.

“We see it as a real opportunity,” Bulls GM Gar Forman said of the $31 million his team can spend in free agency.

“Obviously, the free-agent class this summer is as attractive as there has been in the history of the league. We wanted to create flexibility. We think there will be opportunities for us. We want to be aggressive this summer.

“That has been our goal. We’ve worked for quite awhile to have this flexibility.”

It’s almost inconceivable the Bulls won’t get at least one top-tier free agent.

The team can use a scorer such as Johnson and a power forward, which would automatically make Chicago a championship contender.

Miami will automatically jump to the ranks of championship worthy if it re-signs Wade and surrounds him with as many as two free agents.

“I want to build a team, and it takes five guys to build a team, and whatever kind of room we created, it’s to build a team,” Heat president Pat Riley told reporters in South Beach Friday.

There was talk of Riley dangling Michael Beasley prior to Thursday’s draft as a way to clear additional cap space, but he offered denials when pressed by Miami’s press core.

“That’s not going to happen,” said Riley.

“We want to build around him.”

Lest anyone forget, Beasley was on the bench for the entire second half when Miami got ousted by Boston in the opening round.


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