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SHOCKER! Obama still wants LBJ in Chicago

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As reported by the AP: The White House says President Obama is still hoping The King will be a Bull next season.

After much speculation, James, a two-time MVP with the Cleveland Cavaliers, is set to announce his future NBA plans Thursday night. The Bulls are among those James has met with during his highly anticipated free agency period.

Many in Cleveland, the economically depressed city near James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio, are hoping James will stick with the Cavaliers. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says that while the people of Cleveland may disagree with Obama’s desire to see James play in Chicago, he believes they’ll respect that the president rooting for his own hometown team.

  • Published On Jul 07, 2010
  • Falling out in The King’s camp?

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    Wesley's attempt to broker a Chicago deal didn't sit well with LeBron's people. (AP)

    Remember when it was reported that William “Worldwide” Wesley, the NBA powerbroker who has been a confidant of James’, would be left out of The King’s free-agent meetings?

    “All the Wes rumors are untrue and he will not be at the meetings,” James’ business manager Maverick Carter said at the time. “Wes has nothing to do with where he goes.”

    Well, according to Brian Windhorst, there’s a little more to that. definitely “[I] can confirm several reports of a rift between Wes Wesley & James camp. Wes was indeed pushing Chicago, I’m told.”

    Wesley was really high on the idea of LeBron joining star point guard Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah in Chicago, but it never really seemed like Rose was keen on LeBron joining his team. “Didn’t say Rose was anti-LeBron. But the word is preference was Joe Johnson. They have same agent. That is what multiple people tell me,” Windhorst tweeted.

    Plus, the Bulls have no shooters, so the plan never seemed as grand to James and Carter as it did to Wesley. So what now?

    At this point, LeBron has tightly closed ranks, only seriously talking about decision with a couple people,” said Windhorst. “Which is why so little info.” [@PDcavsinsider]

  • Published On Jul 06, 2010
  • Bulls make pitch, LBJ wears Air Jordans

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    Following Dwyane Wade’s two meeting with the Bulls, the team met with LeBron, who was donning black Air Jordan 8s, in Clevland, and according to the Chicago Tribune, officials came away from their discussions “cautiously optimistic.” Just like every other team in the LeBron Sweepstakes.

    The Bulls’ strategy is simply to get the big names: Wade. Chris Bosh. LeBron. But their pitch is made simpler because they have the roster to work around — point guard Derrick Rose, forward Joakim Noah — and a new coach whose defensive strategies should be well known to LeBron. It was Tom Thibodeau’s defensive schemes that booted The Chosen One and his Cavs from the second round of the playoffs.

    A source familiar with the Bulls’ pitch to James said it centered on the young core featuring Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the worldwide brand grown primarily by Jordan, the league-leading attendance and a world-class city with strong local businesses featuring global opportunities.

    The source said James — as he reportedly has done with all teams — questioned the Bulls’ contingent of Thibodeau, Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, Senior Vice President John Paxson and general manager Gar Forman about certain elements of the pitch.

    Sources previously indicated Reinsdorf planned to address his commitment to paying the luxury tax when contract extensions for Rose and Noah are due. But the source familiar with Saturday’s meeting wouldn’t comment on whether that happened.

    So now they wait. And as Ian Thomsen reported yesterday, the Bulls could be waiting a lot longer than they had hoped. [Tribune]

  • Published On Jul 04, 2010
  • LeBron, Wade to join forces in Chicago?

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    The Bulls are pushing to bring together Chris Bosh, LeBron and Dwyane Wade. (Getty Images)

    LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh could form the next NBA dynasty. And it may not be in Miami like most anticipated.

    Wade met the with Bulls officials Friday in Chicago for the second time in two days and is seriously considering leaving Miami to return to his hometown.

    Wade, who initially proposed a Free Agent Summit for the max players to meet up and discuss their options before July 1, has made it known he would like to team up with Bosh and, and even The King if he’s interested. Bosh is eager to get out of Toronto and has shown interest in paring up with Wade, but LeBron has been hesitant about joining. According to sources of Yahoo! SportsAdrian Wonarowski:

    Wade is intrigued by the infrastructure of talent the Bulls have to surround him, especially in contrast to how gutted the Heat roster has become in the clearing of salary cap space.

    The Bulls are trying to line up a commitment from Wade prior to their formal presentation with James in Cleveland on Saturday, sources said.

    But the Bulls’ final presentation to LeBron could be tough. They have to convince The Chosen One that Chicago is worth spurning the additional $30 million Cleveland can offer him. The Bulls have $29.9 million in cap space – enough for two five-year contracts worth $87.6 apiece. If they can make some moves – a trades with Luol Deng and James Johnson are options – they could add more room.

    But, worst comes to worst, the Bulls can rest assured that they’ll likely fare better than the Knicks in the LeBron Sweepstakes.

    Sources say one team that all but eliminated itself with James in the presentation process was the New York Knicks. James met with the organization on Friday and his inner-circle has described New York’s presentation as lacking preparedness and organization. James’ camp also found it to be redundant to much of the New Jersey Nets’ far sharper, edgier presentation on James’ earning power.

    [Yahoo! Sports]

  • Published On Jul 03, 2010
  • Stephen A. Smith knows where LeBron is headed …

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     … and he won’t be going alone. Smith divulged his free agency secrets to Dan Patrick this morning. 

    “I got a call last night from a source, and I double-checked it with another, and they told me essentially that LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to tag team and go together to join Dwyane Wade in Miami,” Smith told Patrick on Monday.

    “Obviously, there are numerous reports out there. Whoever is wrong can have egg on their face. As far as I’m concerned, I already have. Because I thought in my heart of hearts that eventually, he would go to the New York Knicks. But around 10 o’clock last night or so, I heard the news. I stayed up for a few more hours and made a few phone calls, and I felt comfortable enough to go with what I reported.”

    The Heat are $27.5 million below the projected salary cap of $56.1 million for next season, meaning they could re-sign Dwyane Wade and also get a pair of max free agents. And that pair, said Smith, will be LeBron and Chris Bosh.

    “I believe it’s highly likely,” he told Patrick. “I would never say anything is a done deal with LeBron James until it’s signed. Because a year and a half ago, when I reported that he was definitively going to New York, I was told that from a very reliable source. Anybody who has watched me cover the NBA over the years, you can figure out who that person is. But I was told that he was going to New York City and that he wanted to be a New York Knick.”

    Of course, by that commented, he essentially negated his entire claim. Luckily, he continues with:

    “… last night, I heard emphatically that this is the direction that LeBron James has leaned toward and that Dwyane Wade has done a very good job of convincing them not just about Pat Riley and not just about the fact that there are no state taxes in Florida, but that he’s there in a tandem. That’s what it’s going to take — a tandem or a three-headed monster — to win multiple championships. And LeBron James is all in.”

    Former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller had a completely different take on the LeBron-Miami theory: “I just don’t think that’s a great fit because you’re going to have to have personalities that are going to be able to mesh,” Miller told Patrick. “Just because you put the super powers together doesn’t equate to winning basketball and winning championships. They both ball dominate and they both make plays for their teams. There’s just not enough basketball to go around. If I’m looking at all the teams that want LeBron James it is going back to the Chicago Bulls. I just think that would be the best fit.”



  • Published On Jun 28, 2010
  • NBA exec: LeBron to Bulls is ‘done deal’

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    LeBron and Derrick Rose may join forces next season. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

    The top five contenders in the LeBron Sweepstakes will meet with the King in Akron, Ohio, starting July 1, but according to one team executive, the meetings are just a formality.

    After numerous discussions with NBA colleagues, the executive told the New York TimesJonathan Abrams on Saturday that LeBron is strongly leaning toward the Bulls in a tandem with fellow max free agent Chris Bosh.

    “I think it’s a done deal,” the executive said.

    He said he thought LeBron was going ahead with the meetings just to save face and “be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops,” such as the Knicks, who have used the past two seasons to trade away talent and clear cap space with the hope of landing James this summer. If he and Bosh do join up in Chicago, the Knicks’ moves will have essentially been for nothing.

    The executive also said the Mavericks were trying to join the leading suitors and land a meeting with The Chosen One. But Mark Cuban’s club is already over the salary cap and could only get James only through a sign-and-trade deal with the Cavs.

    But back to the Bulls: On draft day, they traded away Kirk Hinrich to put them $29.2 million under the projected salary cap of $56.1 million next season, and though it’s still not enough space to sign both LBJ and Bosh to max deals, the exec seemed certain they could make another move to acquire both. Meaning Chicago’s rotation next season could include a solid set with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, James and Bosh. [New York Times]

  • Published On Jun 27, 2010
  • Ohio Gov. receives LeBron gift basket

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    The political war brewing over LeBron’s free agency has reached a new level. And an amusing one, at that. Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland says he received a gift basket from The Chicago Tribune that included the movie “He’s Just Not That Into You.”

    Strickland said the newspaper sent the basket in response to his cameo in an online music video of Ohio celebrities singing “Please stay, LeBron. … No bigger market’s gonna love you half as much as we do.”

    Also included int he gift basket: a sympathy card and the self-help book “The Complete Idiots Guide to Enhancing Self Esteem.”

    Strickland sent the basket back. [AP]



  • Published On Jun 24, 2010
  • Curry gets face time with LeBron

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    Eddy Curry and LeBron ... in Chicago? (Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)

    Well gees, if this isn’t a slap in the face to Tom Izzo. After The King refused to field calls from the MSU coach during his courtship with the Cavs, LeBron met with Knicks veteran Eddy Curry.

    According to the New York Daily NewsFrank Isola, the two met in Ohio but their conversation “had nothing to do with Eddy trying to recruit LeBron to New York.”

    In fact, Curry may have been recruiting himself to join James either in Cleveland or Chicago. Curry is entering the final year of his contract and has told close friends he’d welcome a buyout from the Knicks in order to become a free agent.

    LeBron reached out to Curry in early May about potentially working out together in the offseason. The two share the same agent, Leon Rose, and are close friends with NBA powerbroker William “Worldwide” Wesley. Curry had always talked about returning to his hometown of Chicago to restart his career, and since the Bulls have enough cap space to sign James, it looks like Curry wants to join.

    But as Isola explains:

    The chances of the Knicks reaching a buyout with Curry are remote because [Donnie] Walsh sees Curry as an important asset. With Curry set to become a free agent next summer, he has all the incentive in the world to have a bounce-back season.

    Curry’s expiring contract makes him a valuable trade commodity and Walsh, who has been Curry’s most ardent supporter, remains convinced that Curry can also be of value to the Knicks on the court.

    I’m sure Donnie’s thrilled to hear his center is essentially recruiting for the Bulls, though. [New York Daily News]

  • Published On Jun 22, 2010
  • LeBron’s Ferrari would love Chicago

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    LeBron would get free oil changes for life on his Ferrari if he signs with the Bulls.

    Remember when Chicagoland Speedway offered to temporarily rename their track “LeBron James Speedway” if he signed with the Bulls? Well, it seems the Windy City is sticking with the car theme because Car-X Auto Service just made The King an offer that can’t be beat (except maybe at Jiffy Lube).

    In what has been dubbed the “King James Version” of oil changes, Car-X is offering free — that’s, right FREE! — oil changes for life on LeBron’s Ferrari F430 Spider if he signs with the Bulls. Car-X will also donate $1 to the charity of LeBron’s choice for every premium oil change performed at their Chicago locations through July 15, 2010.

    Car-X has even set up a Facebook page called “Time For a Change,” where loyal Bulls fans can urge The King to move to Chicago. Fans who sign the Facebook petition are automatically registered to win a pair of LeBron James Nike shoes.

    “At the end of the day, we’re putting the ball in King James’ court,” said Rich Brayer VP of marketing at Car-X. “Do you want support from your team, support from the best basketball fans on the planet, support for your charitable foundation and support for your Ferrari with free oil changes for the rest of your life… Or do you want the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame?”
    Oh snap! [Newsblaze]

  • Published On Jun 15, 2010
  • Ex-Knick: Don’t go to New York, LeBron

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    Charles Oakley didn't have such nice things to say about his former teammate Patrick Ewing (AP)

    Charles Oakley issued a warning to his friend, LeBron: Stay away from New York. Stay far, far away.

    In an interview with a Miami radio station on Friday, the ex-Knick said “I can’t tell him to go to New York. New York treated me bad. … When I go to the Knicks’ games, do you know that they have somebody that follows me around to see what I say to the press?”

    Oakley, who spent 10 seasons with the Knicks, said The Chosen One should, instead, look south. “I said maybe Chicago or Miami . I think him and [Dwyane] Wade would be great together,” Oakley said.

    But the New York bashing didn’t stop there for Oakley. He didn’t hesitate to take a shot at former teammate Patrick Ewing.

    “Patrick was our leader as far as press and people who are watching TV … Patrick could have been more vocal for the team, but he wasn’t. I think that hurt us a little bit.” [WQAM]

  • Published On Jun 08, 2010