â†µSure, NBA teams can't technically talk to LeBron James just yet, and it's doubtful James has reached a decision. But one executive telling The New York Times James joining the Chicago Bulls as a free agent is a "done deal" is sure to get the NBA talking about something. â†µâ†µ
â†µâ‡¥The executive, who did not want to be identified discussing a player who is not yet a free agent, said he had gathered from discussions with his fellow N.B.A. executives that James was strongly leaning toward joining the Bulls in tandem with another free agent, Chris Bosh of the Toronto Raptors.â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥ â†µâ‡¥â†µThere's plenty of intriguing stuff in the piece—What exec is talking to Howard Beck so freely? Are James and Bosh now a package deal?—but LeBron-to-Chicago passes the smell test, and has for some time. (UPDATE: Bosh's agent says the reports are "Completely untrue" and that Bosh "hasn't decided anything," according to NBA.com. Bosh tells The Miami Herald he will go on a recruiting tour beginning this week.) The Bulls have young, talented players in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, enough cap space to give out maximum contracts, plural, and a stage more than large enough for James to star on. â†µ
â†µâ‡¥“I think it’s a done deal,” the executive said.â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥ â†µâ‡¥â†µâ‡¥
â†µâ‡¥He said he thought James was going ahead with the meetings in Ohio “to be respectful to all these teams who jumped through these hoops,” a reference to the clubs, like the Knicks, who traded reasonably talented players like Jamal Crawford the last two seasons in an effort to open up as much salary-cap space as possible. But if James and Bosh are indeed going to Chicago, moves like the ones the Knicks made will have been done at least partly in vain.â‡¥â‡¥â‡¥ â†µâ‡¥â†µ
â†µSome may charge that, if LeBron does end up in the Windy City, he'll be beholden to and overshadowed by Michael Jordan's legacy. But LeBronologist Brian Windhorst's excellent column on James' psychology—basically, he and he alone will make this decision—would suggest that if LeBron decides on Chicago, inheriting the hopes of a city Jordan once electrified isn't going to be enough to dissuade him from donning the red, white, and black. â†µâ†µ
â†µThe LeBron Sweepstakes is in its closing weeks now. And, now that the parades and minor league baseball theme nights and dinner parties have been cast aside, it appears LeBron is close to a decision. "Done deal" or not, it's time to start paying attention to LeBron James again, not because he's the show, but because his decision will have a seismic impact on the future of his career and the NBA as a whole. â†µâ†µ
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