If nothing else, Jay-Z has made it tough to get a read on what his approach will be in trying to land LeBron James. Publicly, he’s come out and stated that he would not try to convince LeBron to sign with the Nets, although we all know that’s completely false. With July 1 only days away, the LeBron James free agency rumors are in full swing. It’s already been said that Chris Bosh and LeBron to the Chicago Bulls is a done deal. Stephen A. Smith disagrees with that prediction and has made it clear that he believes LeBron and Bosh are both headed to Miami to team with Dwyane Wade. If that’s true you can go ahead and cancel the season, but we’ll get into that after. First, have a look at the video of Jay-Z talking about LeBron James with David Letterman, courtesy of Waiting For Next Year via Sports by Brooks Live:
Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov both own a stake in the New Jersey Nets. They share a title of owner, but they may not share a level of confidence in the team’s immediate future. I say that because Jay-Z had some interesting comments about whether or not he is recruiting LeBron James to sign with the Nets. When asked about Knicks president Donnie Walsh’s plan to get as many people as possible to recruit King James to Madison Square Garden as a home next season — including Yankees players — Derek Jeter expressed that he sees no point in doing that.
Although he obviously isn’t going to try and convince James to sign with the Knicks, Jay-Z said that he wasn’t going to try very hard to persuade him to sign with the Nets either. Here’s what Jay-Z said about recruiting LeBron James in a recent Rolling Stone interview:
That’s his decision. We’re friends — we’ve still gotta hang out! I don’t want to convince somebody to do something, then have to see him and say, ‘Uh, yeah, we’re 4-30 … sorry.’”
Don’t worry, I’m not trying to make a huge deal out of nothing. I know he’s probably kidding around, and of course Jay-Z’s going to try to convince the biggest free agent name on the market (who also happens to be his close friend) to sign with the team he’s a part-owner of. What struck me as a bit funny about the comments is how much they differ from the message Prokhorov delivered in his video to Nets fans, when he wouldn’t rule out an NBA Championship next season. Jay-Z is most likely just playing it cool to maintain his image, and he and LeBron probably had a laugh about it. He can say whatever he’d like, but at the end of the day we all know he cares a lot more than Kobe Bryant about where The King plays next season.
Jeter, Jay-Z not recruiting James to N.Y. [ESPN New York]
Los Angeles Clippers fans would really like it if LeBron James signed with their team. If you don’t believe me, just ask the 75 or so that attended a parade in an attempt to help nudge LeBron in their direction. There may be no one who wants The King more than New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has taken time out of his apparently lax schedule to design a campaign called “C’mon LeBron”. It’s tough to find people who don’t care where LeBron James signs in the coming days. One person who definitely doesn’t care and would rather not be asked about it is Kobe Bryant. Here’s what Kobe Bryant told the New York Post when asked if he thought LeBron James would end up in New York, courtesy of The Sporting Blog:
You’re asking me if LeBron is going to New York? I’m trying to tell you in a polite way, I don’t give a [bleep]. As a fan, it’s a big deal. You’re talking about LeBron and Dwyane Wade, it’s two huge names changing cities. It alters things drastically in the NBA. But I really don’t care about it.”
I’m not much of a Kobe fan, to say the absolute least. This postseason has officially convinced me that he’s the best player in the NBA — assuming LeBron James’ elbow wasn’t much more of an issue than we were led to believe — but I don’t like him. I’m a life-long Celtics fan, so I suppose it’s a natural feeling of hatred. Not to mention I get the impression that he thinks he’s funny every time I watch a post-game press conference and, in my opinion, he’s not.
“Would somebody please do something to sign Lebron James?” seems to be the general consensus around NBA front offices this summer. Knowing that change is a necessity for the Cleveland Cavaliers to hold onto their six-time NBA All-Star, the Cavs’ ownership followed up the firing of Mike Brown as head coach with the announcement that they will not maintain Danny Ferry as general manager, opting instead to promote assistant GM Chris Grant to the top executive position. Rumors had been circulating about this move for some time, and the decision became official on the Cavaliers website today with this statement from majority owner Dan Gilbert:
“For five years, Danny Ferry was instrumental in leading the establishment of a culture, process and professionalism that has become part of the fabric of the definition of ‘who’ are the Cleveland Cavaliers. Danny worked extremely hard to create this strong foundation that we will continue to build upon going forward with much gratitude and appreciation. This solid foundation is evident by the natural and clear choice to choose his close associate, Chris Grant, whom Danny worked in partnership with for his entire five years leading the Cavaliers front office, to succeed Danny as the Cleveland Cavaliers new general manager.”
In other words, “See you later Danny, LeBron’s in charge.” Of course, it was abundantly clear that King James was not returning to Cleveland without a new coach and a new general manager, making this a major move in the LeBron summer sweepstakes. Only time will tell if these practical management decisions will be able to compete with the care package of cards, gifts, and signs that Moishe’s moving company is organizing to support New York’s bid for LeBron.
Danny Ferry Resigns as Cleveland Cavaliers General Manger [NBA Fanhouse]
I don’t think I’ve ever seen an event in sports that has been able to bring out the pathetic in people quite like LeBron James’ free agent status has. LA Clippers fans have already made their pitch for LeBron by holding a parade to try to convince the King to join them. I can’t imagine they persuaded James very much, considering about 75 fans showed up. The latest person to make an ass of himself happens to be a public figure — the mayor of New York City.
That’s right, Mike Bloomberg has actually created a political campaign-style video in an attempt to convince LeBron James to come to the Knicks. These attempts are quickly becoming more and more pathetic and I think this one takes the cake thus far. He’s supposedly even designing an entire campaign entitled “C’mon LeBron.” Check out the video of New York City mayor Mike Bloomberg begging LeBron James to sign with the Knicks, courtesy of The Big Lead via SI Hot Clicks.
The Roundup: Two Soccer Injury Scares, the Softball/Lesbian Debate, and LeBron [The Big Lead]
Almost two weeks ago, we told you about the parade some Clippers fans were planning to hold in an effort to recruit free agent LeBron James. As planned, things went down prior to Game 5 between the Lakers and Suns in the Western Conference Finals Thursday evening. In case you were wondering how it went, here is some video of the Clippers LeBron James parade:
Although I admire Clipper Fan Darrell for organizing the entire event and getting plenty of press coverage for the march (the AP did a story on the parade and you can see the TV cameras filming), I have to say it was pretty embarrassing that only about 75 fans showed up. Not that I would expect anyone like LeBron James to be influenced by a fan parade, but hearing that only 75 fans showed up for a supposed “recruitment parade” would serve as further confirmation that the Clippers are nothing more than LA’s secondary team. The Clippers would be an excellent fit for LeBron from a basketball standpoint, but there’s no chance in heck that he would ever sign with them.
Video Credit: YouTube user DJTRNX2
As well all know, the LeBron James sweepstakes are just getting started. That’s not to say he hasn’t already cost a couple front office figures a few thousand bucks. The NBA — like all pro sports leagues for the most part — has strict rules drawn up for the proper ways to deal with free agency. More specifically, teams are prohibited from commenting on free-agents-to-be until July 1st, even if that player’s season has already ended and they have played their last game under their previous contract.
Just over a week after the Cavs were bounced by the Celtics in the second round of the playoffs, two team officials have been fined for comments regarding LeBron James’ upcoming free agent status; one of which is an absolute given. Mark Cuban — who has never been afraid to speak his mind or express his emotions physically – was fined $100,000 by the NBA, which is fairly light considering the maximum penalties can include a fine of $5 million and forfeiture of draft picks. Here are the comments Mark Cuban made that cost him $100,000, courtesy of ESPN:
Come July 1st, yeah, of course, anybody would be interested in LeBron James. And if he leaves via free agency, then it’s going to be tough. If he does like I’m guessing, hoping he will, which is say, ‘I’m not going to leave the Cavs high and dry,’ if he decides to leave — there’s still a better chance he stays — then he’ll try to force a sign-and-trade and that gives us a chance.”