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Prospective Teams Got Played by Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh

For the last six days, fans in New York, Chicago, Miami, Cleveland, New Jersey and other areas have been on the edge of their seats waiting for the decisions of three men — LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. James has kept his silence pretty much since the Cleveland Cavaliers were knocked out of the playoffs, but Bosh and Wade have been anything but quiet.

Twitter was their medium of choice, as both used the social media to update the world regarding their free agency meetings. The duo both made comments about how choosing their new team wouldn’t be easy, but now it kind of feels like they had their minds set up on playing together a while ago.

Even on Wednesday morning Bosh wrote the following on his Twitter page: “What’s all the fuss about this morning? I woke up to a ton of emails, texts and missed calls.”

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Thunder Frightened By This Year’s Free Agent Frenzy

Alright, maybe I have no factual basis for making that claim, but think about it.  Free agency in the NBA this year has been nothing shy of out of control.  Twitter has become a major marketing tool and a place for anticipation and announcements.  LeBron James is going to announce his future plans during a one-hour special on ESPN.  That’s right, an actual show dedicated to one player announcing where he will sign as a free agent.  It’s certainly safe to say that there’s never been a free agent period in any sport, at any point in time, that was accompanied by more buzz and speculation.

As a result, the Oklahoma City Thunder decided it’s best that they avoid a similar situation with their own franchise player.  It’s no coincidence that the Thunder signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension on Wednesday that’s reportedly worth somewhere around $85 million and doesn’t include an opt-out clause.  Durant exploded onto the scene last season, averaging over 30 points per game and earning enough respect to be considered an MVP contender.

Had the Thunder waited until his contract expired to begin hammering out an extension, there’s no doubt Durant would have been as highly sought after as LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, and Amare Stoudemire were — and still are in the case of LeBron — this year.  Instead, they chose to avoid a potential frenzy that could result in their franchise returning to the bottom of the barrel.

Durant’s extension will fly completely under the radar and be overshadowed by the decisions made by this year’s free agent class.  I’m sitting here watching SportsCenter as I type and they’ve already discussed D-Wade’s and Bosh’s decisions to go to the Heat three times without even mentioning Kevin Durant.  I’m sure the Thunder are more than happy to have it that way, and I’m confident that when the smoke clears resigning Durant will turn out to be one of the best moves of the 2010 NBA off-season.

Source:
Durant agrees to $85 million extension [Yahoo! Sports]

LeBron James Is a Charitable Type

As the free agency frenzy rolls on throughout the summer, it appears as if we may have a key announcement coming in the near future. LeBron James supposedly is negotiating with ESPN to create a one-hour LeBron James selection show special. Putting aside how odd it is that an ESPN writer is reporting a story about the plans of his own network but can’t get confirmation all the while he’s talking on their airwaves, there are a few positives to come of all this. It’s not just that the media, fans, and cities involved will finally learn the answer to the question they’ve been asking the past two years, it’s that, to quote Cher from Clueless, LeBron James is using his popularity for a good cause.

According to the report, LeBron wants his marketing team to have the ability to sell the ads on the show. The reported intention is to give the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Club. Call me a sucker if you must, but I actually think that’s a very cool thing to do. You might despise him because he has kept us all hostage to his announcement but LeBron does not have to share that money with anyone. Instead, he’ll be indirectly running one of the best telethons possible.

With LeBron’s marketing team creating a twitter account on Tuesday, revamping his website, and the NBA using him to promote their product through social media, I’m actually surprised they’re trying to schedule this thing to go down so quickly. If I were running his P.R. squad I would let the whole situation marinate for a few more days before announcing things. I guess you can say they’re doing a favor to MLB by not stealing the All-Star Game’s attention. Not to mention, they’ll be doing great things for an excellent charity, which is something most athletes wouldn’t think to do.

Sources:
Sources: LeBron decision Thursday [ESPN]

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.

Source:
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.

Sources:
Daryl Morey on Twitter