Your morning LeBron Watch - 6 teams, neutral site

Per Yahoo Sports:

LeBron James is planning to invite six teams to meet him over the first three days of free agency, and rap mogul Jay-Z and Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov will be part of a New Jersey Nets contingent that will make the first presentation on July 1 in the Akron, Ohio, area, league sources told Yahoo! Sports.

James and his advisors plan to have the Nets, New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavaliers make presentations. Yahoo! Sports first reported on Thursday night that James would be taking appointments with teams on July 1 to begin his free-agency process.

The Bulls have emerged as the favorites for James, and the Heat and Nets are making a strong push, too. The Knicks and Clippers appear to be longer shots to sign James. The Cavaliers remain a viable choice because of James’ seven seasons there and the opportunity for him to make as much as $30 million more re-signing with his hometown team.


All the elaborate recruiting plans for LeBron James will have to change. James will not go on a recruiting tour, his longtime business manager Maverick Carter told Friday.

James Where will LeBron James land? We’re keeping tabs on the King. Here’s the latest. LeBron Tracker

“LeBron is not going on a tour,” Carter said. “He never planned to go on a tour and has not been a part of any team’s plans for a recruiting trip.”

Instead, the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar will visit with individual clubs in Northeastern Ohio once the free-agency period begins July 1.

Sources close to the situation told’s Marc Stein that the latest plan calls for the New Jersey Nets — led by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and minority owner/longtime James pal Jay-Z — to be the first team to meet James face to face. No one from James’ camp, though, would confirm the meeting.

It was not immediately clear how many teams James plans to meet with on a daily basis when free agency commences at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday.

Sources said various teams were made aware of James’ anti-tour stance Wednesday, sending many of them into scramble mode. The New York Knicks — who according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer were planning a spectacular, celebrity-laden dinner cooked by a world-renowned chef for James on July 1 — quickly canceled it and began plotting an emergency Plan B, according to two sources.

James’ decision throws a monkey wrench in the plans of several clubs that hoped to sell him on non-basketball-related enticements such as the vibrancy of their city, the social life it might afford or the A-list celebrities who support their teams.

The New York Daily News is still selling hope:

Several sources told Frank Isola of the New York Daily News that they
believe LeBron James still prefers to sign in New York.

“Although the Bulls and Heat are clearing cap space, several people
familiar with James’ thinking believe that the Knicks are still his
desired destination if he elects to leave Cleveland in his rearview
mirror,” wrote Isola.

“He told me after the Olympics he wanted to live in New York,” one of
the sources said. “And as far as I know nothing has changed.”

When the Knicks meet with James, they will tell him: “Come here and
there is no pressure to win a title the first year. We’ll win 50 games,
make the playoffs and you’ll be the conquering hero. The next year we’ll
reload and we’ll make a run at it.”

The neutral site and complete removal of celebrity BS may be the final nail in the Knicks coffin.  It’s amusing how Broussard specifically discusses how LeBron wants to cut through the BS and just deal with basketball decision.

The New York Daily News story is almost amusing in it’s desperate reach out to still try and present New York as the winner.   Seriously, you’re quoting a source that told you LeBron said he wants to go to New York after the Olympics and just assuming nothing has changed?


So the finalists for LeBron:
New Jersey
New York
L.A. Clippers

May the best team win! 


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  • I really feel like he is going to NY or stay in Cleveland. The Bulls would be the best place for him to contend quickly but I don't think this guy is ready to win right now. He probably has some crazy plan to save NY basketball if he does leave Cleveland. The people in NY are too confident and he has always loved NY. His buddy Carmelo is a free agent next year as well and who knows...maybe they are trying to build their own team in NY. I just feel that things are too easy for him to come to the Bulls and he will end up going somewhere else. Maybe this is why everyone is hearing a lot about Joe Johnson signing with the Bulls cause they already know he will sign with NY but the Bulls will talk to him anyway to try and change Lebron's mind. If Lebron does sign with NY or chooses to stay in Cleveland, the Bulls would have done their part by doing everything that they could to land lebron so no one should be mad at the Bulls for not trying and hopefully they will come away with at least Bosh and Joe Johnson and with the money that they have left some very good MLE players to fill out the bench. And the Bulls should not trade Deng until they find out what Lebron plans on doing. ROSE, JOHNSON, DENG, BOSH AND NOAH is still a pretty damn good and big starting five. Joe Johnson would be a good pick up cause he would not be the first option as he was in Atlanta and he would not have as much pressure on him to score so I think everyone bashing him should stop cause he is still a quality all star player that was in the wrong system in ATL. And hopefully the Bulls can hold on to Taj Gibson cause he could come in for Bosh off the bench.

  • In reply to Reese1:

    excuse my typing I meant to say no one should be mad at the Bulls if Lebron does not sign with them cause they have basically laid out everything for Lebron to say he is all in. If he goes to NY I agree with booger, LET HIM GO and he will be the most hated player in the league in my opinion cause it will be obvious that he is not about winning championships any time soon. The Bulls need to be at Bosh's door step at 12:00am July 1.

  • "May the best team win" No... may the Bulls win regardless of if they are the best team and it certainly seems like they are anyway.

    I believe it's safe to say I will survive with my sanity these last 5 days. I thought the non-stop Bron talk would drive my insane but despite all the updates I'm still clutching my sanity which now can only be dislodged by a "Bulls shun LeBron to pursue Joe Johnson" headline. So much has changed since the Cavs first got eliminated... unless of course you live in the New York sport's world where they party like it's 2008.

  • I will understand if Lebron stays in Cleveland, in fact it will make him look noble in my eyes.

    I will be happy if Lebron goes to the Bulls, for obvious reasons.

    I will be crushed if he goes to Miami, since a Wade-James combo + another is really hard to beat

    I will laugh out hard if he goes to New York and be contented "not to win right away" and "build on the next year". Go ahead!

  • I think NY is probably a very, very long shot. If I were James, if I want to save basketball in a city it is going to be Cleveland and not New York.

    NJ kinda of worries me. Although the team will probably not provide an immediate chance to win, they have Prokhorov. If he wins multiple championships, he will spend more money to build the LeBron brand. But that said, it is also a very,very long shot. As Kenny Smith said, why would LeBron play with a Rookie PF(Favors)?

    I still think Cleveland is probably the biggest competition if they can pull off some kind of miracle trade.

    Many talking heads on ESPN etc.. are telling the Bulls will probably get LeBron. I am sure the Bulls can sell well on the basketball front. We don't know what is LeBron's other priorities are?
    1. Staying/playing in the MidWest
    2) Weather
    3) How much freedom(practices, plane travel etc...) does he really want?
    4) He has said he doesn't want to influence who the coach is..But does he like Thibs's offense or does he want to dominate the ball? Is Riley promising him that he will coach? Does he like D'Antoni?


  • In reply to schaumburgfan:

    All indications say the Bulls is the best choice, but yes, the Nets is more of a worry than the Knicks. LeBron won't be playing there because of Favors but because of Brook Lopez, Devin Harris (or if they manage to swing a blockbuster deal).

  • This neutral site call (how is "meet me in my hometown" a neutral site?) is a great idea. Cut through the bullshit smoke and mirrors. I've lived in the NYC area for the last nine years and I ended up arguing with a friend of mine that grew up here on why LeBron is NOT coming to NY. While I argued on the basketball reasons Chicago makes sense she could only bring up the city itself. Madness!

    The best thing for Chicago is to pitch to LBJ on day #2 or #3. That

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    I agree 200% with you Jioha, Bosh should be priority #1 and if they can get Joe Johnson bring him next and then see what Lebron plan on doing.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:

    To add on to that.

    Keep the EXPECTATIONS HIGH, but the HOPES LOW.

    The Bulls' management has gone ALL IN, so now it's time to meet the expectations.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    You do that.

    I suggest everyone else do the healthy thing... the exact opposite.

  • In reply to msalivar:


    It's too bad, I know what I'm talking about and you don't.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I may not know all that much about basketball, but you sure as hell don't, either.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:


    Why should LeBron James come to Chicago and play for the Bulls?


    POSITIVES for living in Chicagoland and playing for the Chicago Bulls:

    Roster and Upside: The Chicago Bulls have a nice young CORE (under contract and on the rise) in Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. LeBron James could be that one (superstar) piece which they are missing towards winning an NBA CHAMPIONSHIP or perhaps even establishing another DYNASTY .

    Marketing and Sales: The city of Chicago is the 3rd largest market in the US, so that logically means an increase in "LeBron James" product sales (shoes, jersey's, etc.) due to the increased exposure he will get through the various media outlets. China also matters.

    TV Coverage: The Chicago Bulls have a contract with WGN, which puts 30 of their games on national TV each year within basic cable. Plus, networks like ABC, TNT and ESPN would surely add more Chicago Bulls games to their programming schedule.

    Jordan and Pippen: If LeBron James came to the Chicago Bulls, he would be mentioned in the same breath as Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, in terms of the greatest players who have ever played for the Chicago Bulls organization.

    Dynasty Team: The Chicago Bulls are one of 4 Dynasty teams (Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Antonio) in the NBA. I think LeBron James would have an excellent opportunity to add to the championship history of a team he most certainly grew up watching as a kid. In fact, wasn't Michael Jordan his boyhood basketball idol?

    Un-Stop-a-BULL Frontline: If LeBron James came to the Chicago Bulls, he would argueably help form the best frontline in the NBA, in terms of scoring and rebounding. LeBron James at SF, Chris Bosh potentially at PF and Joakim Noah at C would be nasty.

    Foundation and Charity: LeBron James does good charity and foundation work throughout various cities around the world. His efforts would be greatly appreciated by the schools and kids throughout the Chicagoland area.

    Fitness and Training: If LeBron James chose to do so, he could work with one of the best trainers around, Tim Grover, who is located in Chicago. Playing in Chicago would give him greater access to his methods during the NBA season.

    Fan Support: Chicagoans clearly love their basketball and certainly would respect LeBron James, on and off the court. The Chicago Bulls organization and their fans have led the league in attendance over the last decade.

    Lifestyle and Area: Chicago is one of the best cities in the United States of America and Chicagoland has some of the best growing suburbs in the country. Both are filled with culture, communities, food, entertainment, learning, diversity, fanfare and a midwest down to earth family belief system. It's a great area to cultivate personal and professional growth.

    Cap Space: The Chicago Bulls have the cap flexibility to add LeBron James to their roster, along with a $6 or $7 million dollar player. It could be more, if they make another trade or roster move. Plus, they have a mid-1st Round Pick to add even more depth.

    NBA Legacy: I think if LeBron James were to come to the Chicago Bulls, he could end up establishing a similar legacy to that of the all-time greats. That changes if LeBron James puts Cleveland loyalty over the possibility of winning several championships in Chicago. As Kevin Garnett said to LeBron James after their playoff series, "Sometimes loyalty isn't a good thing."


    Where is the best spot for LeBron James to go, if he wants to win championships?

    Rose, Noah and possibly Bosh too...enough said.


    It's not PERSONAL. It's just BUSINESS.

    WINNERS aren't afraid to follow in the footsteps of GREATNESS!!!

    I hope LeBron James thinks about that.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Not just because I am from the area,but that is a great pitch happy and very true on everything that you said. If Lebron is truly a mid west type of guy he will love Chicago and what the city has to offer to a person of his caliber. He could move to one of the nice suburbs and still have his privacy. I have been to NY quite a few times and me being from the mid west, I would not want to live there. Like people say... its a nice place to visit but would not want to live there. Hopefully he will feel the same way.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Why do I suddenly get this creepy feeling that Lebron will strongly consider the Nets? I didn't take them seriously for the longest time, but lately I've had a growing feeling that they will be major players in this whole thing. Miami makes sense for Bosh, but not so much for Lebron.. I'm not as worried about them.

    If it's true that Lebron is all about the title count, he really only has two choices.. Chicago or Miami. But I don't think he and Wade really wanna share the spotlight, which means.. Chicago is the place to be.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I had to change my CAP SPACE item do to the proposed Hinrich trade.

    I think it's clear to everyone that the Bulls have room for one MAX guy and are right there with the ability to land TWO top free-agents now come July.

  • In reply to MrHappy:


    I still like SAM YOUNG for this team. They should have grabbed him of Dickey Johnson last year.

    Memphis just drafted two more SG's in Xavier Henry and G. Vazquez, both of whom are 6'6".

    That gives the Grizzlies 5 SG's on their roster.

    - O.J. Mayo
    - Xavier Henry
    - Ronnie Brewer (who they plan to keep)
    - G. Vazquez
    - Sam Young (a player I'm a huge fan of)

    Sam Young could be expendable to them in their quest for more SF depth.


    To Bulls: Sam Young and a throw-in (Tinsley, Williams or Hudson)
    To Memphis: James Johnson

    I would love this trade to go down. Sam Young to me is a more offensive version of TONY ALLEN. He would be a cheaper addition too.


  • In reply to MrHappy:

    That trade could save the Bulls close to $1 million dollars as Hudson is non-guaranteed.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    David Aldridge seems to think we can comfortably sign 2 max contracts:

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    With Hinrich headed to D.C. and wherever from there, the Bulls need a perimeter defender.

    Tony Allen is a good FA choice, but more expensive than Sam Young.

    * Like or not people, the Bulls need to add a young SG and send Dickey on his way.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I remember someone making threats to Tony Allen during the 2009 Chicago-Boston series. Is that over already? Remembering that incident, I think Chicago is the last city on Allen's mind. Not that I want him.

  • In reply to MrHappy:


    According to Ric Bucher, James Johnson will be traded.

    Did he send that message out to Doug Thonus personally? HAHA.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    I was hoping to be able to keep James Johnson, but if trading James Johnson frees up more $ to get JOE Johnson ALONG with LeBron AND Bosh, let's do it! But we definitely need to hold on Taj!

    I say only go after Bosh first if LeBron knows for sure that HE IS our #1 priority. We don't want him thinking that we prefer to have Bosh over him.

    And it sounds like LeBron wants to meet w/ Chicago 1st, or at least on the first day. With that in mind, we need to be in Ohio FIRST and not in Texas talking with Bosh first. Besides, Bosh will very likely follow LeBron to Chicago.

  • In reply to ChicaliK:

    I just don't see how they get all three. Even moving Deng in a sign and trade, which likely means Gibson goes too, you only have 5 guys on Contract. How do you pay for the bench? I mean there are leage minimum exemptions and I have seen a lot of conflicting info on the mid-level exception with top sports guys saying the Bulls would have it and others saying they won't... Maybe they can get some bench guys in return, but as awesome as that starting 5 would be (Rose, Johnson, James, Bosh, and Noah), giving us 4 All Stars and a potential 5th, they still need surrounding players.

    As for Ohio vs seeing Bosh... it depends. If the bulls aren't presenting until late Thursday or on Friday or Saturday, then there is no reason NOT to mean with Johnson and Bosh. If James is especially interested in a particular player, it will be made clear to them through back channels... after all, Thibodeaux and James share the same agency.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Bullsfan thats funny I just read that before I came over to this site, its obvious that Bosh James and Johnson have all spoke regarding joining each other in Chicago to play, now its all up to the Bulls management to get it done JULY 1st

  • In reply to Snypershawn:

    At this point, the Bulls have pretty much done as much as they can. They HAVE to avoid another ron mercer situation which would be EPIC fail... but I'll be honest, while losing James would suck (especially to those smug NY bastards), a team of Rose, Noah, Deng, Johnson and Bosh/Boozer would be outstanding.

  • In reply to yitbos96bb:

    There are plenty of FAs to go around, given the Bulls' core, the team will be stronger next year, whoever comes in.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Is it official??

    Something big is going down!!! Can't wait until July 1st!!!

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Nice post, the bulls should bring you to the meeting with LBJ.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Oh hell no.

  • In reply to msalivar:

    Who knows? They might be...mmm.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    I agree, common sense tells you that NJ wouldn't be a good landing spot for him.. but I get this 'feeling' that something could happen there, similar to the way something could happen in Cleveland (S&T for another star possibly) to turn the tables for them. I hope not. My hope is that NJ, LAC, NYK and Cleveland will all bow out at some point and Lebron will be choosing between Chicago and Miami.

  • In reply to jmwebb:

    New Jersey may be more in the running than we think. The worry with New Jersey is if the mad Russian decides to go Steinbrenner and pay the luxury tax. If he just ignores it, then NJ could easily sign 3 such as James, Bosh and Johnson, plus some good bench role players.

    It remains to be seen and I don't think he would go there, but I'd put the nets as our biggest competition right now.

    In terms of talent, I would put them 3rd behind the Bulls and Clippers and ahead of the Heat w/ D wade. D Wade is better than anyone on the Bulls, even Rose (whom I fully expect to be a top 3 PG by season's end) but as a whole, the Bulls core W/WO Deng is better than Miami. If they do land Bosh and James, you easily have 3 all stars with Noah a potential one. Instantly becomes the top team in the East over Orlando and aging Boston. My honest to god feeling is if the Bulls get those players, the next decade will be dominated in the East by the Bulls and Miami (assuming Miami signs Stoudamire and RG or Johnson)... maybe the Nets if they sign some good players.

  • In reply to UnstopaBull:

    Jioha...i was thinking the same thing my man. Bulls meet with LeBron on day 2 or 3. And on Day 1 meet with Bosh. Make him feel specail. IMO that is the absolute best thing to do.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    ""He told me after the Olympics he wanted to live in New York," one of the sources said. "And as far as I know nothing has changed.""

    If that is true that should not be construed as an endorsement of the Knicks, as he could very easily play in Jersey and live in NYC. I think that helps the Nets chances more since they seem to be an actual player while the Knicks have nothing to offer basketball talent wise.

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    Great post Happy...all of those were great points. Bulls also have been talking about bringing Duhon back to backup Rose at the PG. IMO, he is actually pretty similair to Hinrich. Decent 3 pt shooter, solid defender, tries really hard. So he wouldnt be bad for a backup. As far as all the teams go...

    Bulls- Top choice...Mrhappy explained why

    Heat- Also nice choice...Bulls have a better team and also Wade has a ring already...might hurt LBJ's chances of being G.O.A.T

    Knicks- No chance is terrible and now that LeBron is meeting in Cleveland...this whole famous people thing wont happen. Sorry Knick fans lol

    Clippers- Very good core...But its the Clippers and also its Kobe's town.

    Nets- I would say they are 3rd or 4th...much like the Clippers...but the Nets are in a different location. Good talent, very young...but you play in New Jersey for at least 2 years. Thats garbage.

    Cleveland- Its the Easy way out...but imo hes at the point of no return

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    How can anyone seriously think that LeBron will consider the Nets?!
    He's leaving the team with the BEST record in the league because he knows he can't win a championship there. What in the world of sports makes one that he'll go to the team with WORST record and think he can win a championship there??? Please!

    LeBron isn't impressed witha Russian rookie owner who no one knows how he's going to operate. Rod Thorn leaving certainly is not an endorsement for this guy, or the stability of the Nets front office.

    They're coming off of a 12 win season with some new, probably good players, but you don't know how well these guys are going to play together, or if the good young college players will be good young NBA players. LeBron's is not going to take that chance. With Chicago he KNOWS what he has. We have young guys who have PROVEN that we have what it takes to be successful in this league.

    It's not a 100% certain that LeBron is coming to Chicago. But if I were a betting man, I'd bet that it's 100% certain he's not going to New Jersey.

  • In reply to jamatokwu:


  • All the sports writers see that Chicago is the best spot...but that doesn't mean Lebron will want to come. Its up to him at the end of the day and he may defy conventional wisdom. I agree w/Reese that if Bulls got JJ and Bosh we would still be sitting pretty. Heck if we got JJ and Lee we would be nice! Let's hope for the best but don't set our too high.

  • Meant to say don't set our "hopes" to high.

  • That cap number could change. Can you imagine the fallout if the cap went up slightly, like to 58.1 million? How about the chaos if went down to 55 million? They don't announce the cap until the 8th, correct? Any chance Jerry has some inside info on what the true cap number is?

  • In reply to kbar17:

    It's given to the teams on the 1st so they can begin negotiations, we'll learn about it shortly after that.

  • In reply to kbar17:

    I agree the Bulls should lock up Bosh first so a need would be addressed immediately and protect the team if LeBron drags this out and ultimately decides to stay in Cleveland.

  • In reply to boogernights:



    What was my theme again?

    "Bosh leads to LBJ and/or DWADE."

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    It looks like the Bulls will do just that

  • In reply to MrHappy:

    DWade leads to Bosh in Miami.

    While Bosh has said the least about where he is heading he has called Miami a top contender, and just like the Lebron to the Bulls talk, there is plenty of chatter that Bosh has been headed to Miami for quite some time now.

    I have always felt that Bosh was going to Miami because he likes the lifestyle and he gets to play with the second or third best player so his team won't suck.

    Unless one of the west coast teams(Lakers, Mavs) step up and make a bigtime S&T Bosh goes to Miami, but he wants the full 6 year max probably more than anything else. I don't see this guy leaving money on the table, which is one of the reasons that I dont care much if the Bulls get him or not, he is not about winning at all costs.

    Oh, by the way, no matter who we sign in free agency we have no shot of ever winning, Mo cheeks decided to stay in OKC, and everyone knows that he was the absolute key to the Bulls future championship run.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    Here is what the Bulls should sell Lebron as attractions to Chicago

    1. Our awesome logo, that intimidating logo meshes in well with Lebron's desire to win
    2. The cool entrance theme, always brings a tear to my eye whenenever I see it ;)
    3. Benny the Bull, how can you say no to that? Now don't bring him along with you! We don't want a Tracy McGrady scenario. A photo will do.
    4. Chuck Swirsky - "Onions Baby, Onions!" Nuff said.
    5. Stacey King; the funniest color analyst in the league in my opinion. What better what to have all your dunks immortalized by Stacey's calls!

  • In reply to claytonabigsby:

    Just give him one of those cute stuffed Benny dolls. He'll melt.

  • In reply to boogernights:

    But Bosh pretty much said he has to wait for LeBron's lead, whether that means they literally will do it together, or more likely, that he realizes the James gets to make the first move. I'm not sure "locking up" Bosh first is even possible.

  • I wish Gar Forman would walk in for our presentation with Joakim and Derrick. Gar says, "Lebron. We don't have some candy ass presentation. It's pretty simple really." Bulls staffers open the trophy cases, and put six O'Brien trophies on the table.
    "Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah, Taj Gibson, and hopefully soon if you'll join us Chis Bosh will be getting together soon. So we can get about the business of go winning some fucking championships." Gar walks over, smiles slightly, shakes LeBron's hand.

    Joakim says, "Man, We want you come to Chicago, and help us win championships. But only one or two guys on the plane, and if you or they disrespect the team/players at any point there ass stays home. And no buddies in the locker room before or immediately after games. Thibodeau's not gonna kiss your ass either. But we will be glad to have you otherwise, and realize we need to earn your respect as much as you in some ways should earn ours. We'd feel lucky to have you, but also we've earned it because we play f-ing hard and bust it every night. Now lets go kick the leagues ass for the next eight to ten years."

    Then Gar says, "Derrick did you have something to say?"

    Derrick Rose, "We've all got a lot of work ahead of us to climb the mountain even once before we think about doing it again and again. With you and myself, and the talent we have are putting together, will get it done. Come on. Lets get started." Shakes LeBron's hand. Guys all walk out of the room. End of said presentation.

  • I thought they didn't announce it publicly until later. Ah well, you learn something new everyday.

  • Let's not forget the Bulls also have an international brand. Basketball is growing in popularity the world over and the Bulls are arguably THE MOST POPULAR team. I think we've got a pretty good shot at landing #6.

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