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LeBronathon (Further) Invades Twitter

What will soon become the most closely watched Twitter account in the universe is a mere one Tweet old.  We’ve already given you our opinion on the NBA milking this year’s free agent class to gain publicity.  On Tuesday, we saw another perfect example to support our argument when LeBron James created a Twitter

I wonder how many Twitter followers his marketing team has decided they need to rack up before announcing a decision.  Chris Bosh’s Twitter is already racking up followers at an incredible pace and the NBA is using it’s players’ Twitter accounts to create as much hype as possible. King James’ brand new Twitter account is nothing but the latest publicity stunt in a world that’s full of new technology.  I think I speak for a lot of people when I say these guys can’t make up their minds about where they’re going to play soon enough.

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Free agent LeBron James finally joins Twitter [Tom Withers/AP]
LeBron James on Twitter

NBA Is Milking Free Agency for Publicity

While superstars like Darko and Drew Gooden were busy agreeing to contracts on the first day of free agency, also-rans like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh have been taking their sweet time making a decision. Even though this is a momentous choice for these players and there are many factors to examine before signing with a team, I can’t help but feel like the players and the league are dragging things out on purpose. While would they do such a thing? Delaying their decisions keeps the buzz going and the free publicity rush moving. Allow me to explain.

Every day that goes by and one of the three stars of the class doesn’t announce a decision, it’s another day that the news cycle spends speculating on their futures. For someone like Chris Bosh who had to produce a used car salesman video in order to make it into the All-Star Game two years ago, you can’t buy the type of attention he’s been receiving. Don’t think this free agency period has raised his profile? Think again.

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Chicago Challenges LeBron James to Play for Bulls

It’s only been five days since the NBA’s free agency period began and I’m already pretty tired of hearing about it. The one thing that did get my attention this weekend was the “challenge” that was dished out to LeBron James.  In short, he was being asked to step out of Michael Jordan‘s shadow and cast a bigger one upon the city of Chicago. It was the work of a Chicago based ad agency called Leo Burnett Worldwide that obviously wants LeBron in a Chicago Bulls jersey. They presented their challenge with a series of four items sent to LeBron beginning on Monday last week and ending on Thursday, the first day of free agency.

On Thursday, a two page ad ran in the Akron Beacon Journal, LBJ’s hometown paper, with a question addressed to him. It was a picture of the Chicago skyline with a very familiar shadow cast over it. The shadow looked like Chicago’s most famous superstar — Michael Jordan, of course. It said “LeBron, the fans of Chicago have a question for you. Can you cast a shadow this big?”  Personally, I think that’s awesome. It’s telling LeBron that yes, you would be coming to the city where thee greatest player ever spent most of his career and that you shouldn’t be afraid of his shadow. But that wasn’t all that LeBron got.

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Rockets Take Out Newspaper Ad to Persuade Scola, Lowry to Re-Sign

Sincere or desperate? You make the call:

That picture is straight from the twitter account of Rockets GM Daryl Morey. Apparently that ad ran on Thursday July 1st in the Houston Chronicle — the first day of free agency. This seems to be a mixed message because rumors were flying that the Rockets are prepared to offer the Raptors Scola, Shane Battier, and Trevor Ariza for Chris Bosh in a sign and trade deal. I wouldn’t mind giving away Ariza’s contract but I’m sure the Rockets wouldn’t be wild about trading Scola as the ad indicates. I’m always a little worried about people going overboard with their pursuit of players in this might fit that bill. Or maybe Morey knows the personalities of Scola and Lowry and understands that they want to feel the love from the fans. I just think it’s a wee bit cheesy.

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Daryl Morey on Twitter

Dwyane Wade Is Playing Head Games

It’s amazing how twitter has become such a popular medium for tracking NBA free agency. Chris Bosh had a telling tweet showing that he and Dwyane Wade were at dinner together but were missing a third amigo. Wade all but confirmed they were talking about LeBron when he said James is on a different page from them. D-Wade also has been utilizing his twitter account during free agency, only he’s been playing head games. Check out this odd tweet:

Wade is laughing to himself in the “l2ms” and clearly screwing around. So who knows little here? I think you can interpret that tweet in one of three ways. One, he’s saying what little do Heat fans know that he’s leaving. Two, he’s saying what little does the media know because he’s totally playing them and enjoying all their errant reporting. Or three, what little do the teams recruiting him know that they’re wasting their time because Wade is re-signing in Miami. I really am convinced it’s option three. From what I understand, Wade has a camera crew following him through the free agency period, so maybe this is all part of a big joke for him. Perhaps he’s using those teams for some sort of Punk’d kind of gag. Before long we’ll know our answer. In the meantime, Wade’s taking the opportunity to rack up twitter followers by the thousands.

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Dwyane Wade on Twitter

LeBron Not on Same Page with Chris Bosh, Dwyane Wade?

This isn’t even coming from me — it’s coming straight from Bosh who posted a telling message to his twitter account. Here’s what Bosh tweeted on Thursday night as the first day of free agency was wrapping up: “Just had dinner w @dwadeofficial. Great way to end day 1 of #freeagency although it feels like someone is missing……” And of course Bosh linked to a picture of himself and Dwyane Wade eating together (something we’ve gotten used to seeing over the past few weeks). As you can see, there’s a seat open between the two gentlemen. I wonder for whom that could be?

Sometimes the best clues can come from the players themselves and this seems to be a pretty good indicator to me. While Wade and Bosh are meeting with teams in Chicago, LeBron is holding his private meetings in Cleveland. We noted how the idea that had been floated suggesting the three would split money and all join the Miami Heat. Bosh said the notion seemed “pie in the sky.” Now I have an idea why he said that; the whole thing seems improbable at this point and it’s mainly because LeBron is doing his own thing right now.

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Chris Bosh on Twitter

Doc Rivers is Staying: What it Means

Less than 24 hours after Paul Pierce‘s agent announced he would opt out of the final year of his contract with the Boston Celtics, word is surfacing that head coach Doc Rivers will return to the team and, at the very least, finish out his current contract.  For those of you who are interested in the Celtics and wondering what this means for their off-season plans, the answer is a lot.

The fact that Doc has chosen to return probably answers most of the questions that Boston had after the playoffs ended and is an indication that they plan on keeping their core in tact for at least another year.  Rivers has at times been given a bit too much credit as a coach when you consider the roster he was handed a few years ago, but there’s something to be said for being a players’ coach that a team responds to.  Let’s go over a few implications that the return of Rivers has for the reigning Eastern Conference champs.

1. Paul Pierce’s opt out doesn’t mean he’s leaving Boston.

The reason players have been opting out of the final years of their deals, regardless of where they want to play, has to do with the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement.  The current CBA will expire after next season and it’s pretty much a certainty at this point that it will result in the league’s top players making less money.  The ceiling for a maximum contract players can sign is going to be lowered, therefore players are opting out (when able to) and seeking a long-term deal under the current CBA rather than waiting until next off-season.

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