After months of speculation and anticipation, the NBA's
free-agent negotiating period finally begins Wednesday at 11:01 p.m.
Central time. James plans to host meetings with the Knicks, Nets,
Clippers, Heat, Cavs and Bulls in the next few days, although no exact
timetable has been announced.
The Bulls are hoping to be the last team to make a
presentation to James. In the meantime, they are interested in visiting
with Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer, with the goal of getting
a commitment before the meeting with James. If James decides to go
elsewhere, the Bulls will try to pair Johnson with one of the power
A few interesting notes from this McGraw article.
First, I'd previously reported that I'd heard the Bulls order of importance was James, Bosh, Johnson, then Boozer. McGraw seems to back that up by saying we hope to lure one of the three to sign with us prior to going into the meeting with James. It also matches what KC Johnson speculation that the Bulls weren't into Amare on my podcast.
Second, I find it interesting that the Bulls hope to lock up one of those guys, because I think it's highly likely that the Bulls can't lock up Bosh until LeBron decides what he's going to do. Do you really want to lock up Boozer or Johnson before talking to LeBron if Bosh says he'll come if LeBron comes?
It's a dangerous situation either way, because if you miss on both the other guys might be gone to teams who aren't willing to wait on LeBron. At the same time, it's crazy to take a conservative bird in the hand when a dynasty is sitting out there waiting for you. This type of opportunity probably rears it's head around once every 20-30 years, so going all in for the dynasty type outcome has to be the first priority.
Jerry Reindsorf's inclusion in the meeting with LeBron indicates to me that the Bulls think this ends quickly rather than gets drawn out for weeks. I'm uncertain how to feel about Jerry being there as he's been known to have tremendously negative meetings with players in the past during negotiations single handedly destroying the Mike D'Antoni negotiations.
That said, those negotiations may have been destroyed due to his doubts over D'Antoni whereas he'll have no doubts about LeBron.
All we can do is sit back and wait. We're 24 hours from the kick off of free agency, but we might be 72 hours or more away from finding out answers.