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Cuban, Kerr Fined for LeBron Comments

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.”

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Clippers Fans Making Pitch for LeBron

Fans need to come to the realization that begging a superstar to play for their team doesn’t work.  Not only that — it couldn’t be more unoriginal.  As millions of basketball fans sit back and wonder what uniform LeBron will wear next season, I find myself growing extremely tired of listening to writers and fans beg The King to sign with their team.  LeBron James is probably the best basketball player on the planet.  What do fans do when their team signs the best basketball player on the planet?  They cheer — loudly.

LeBron’s going to go wherever the money is (to a certain degree since he might have to leave money on the table if he leaves Cleveland) and wherever his agent, his family, and his “people” decide he should go — and the city he settles in will give him as warm a welcome as any of the others on his list of possible destinations would have.  Rest assured, he’s aware of that.  He’s not going to be wearing the colors of the team whose fans stayed on their knees and begged for the longest amount of time.  Apparently the fan base of one of the NBA’s perennial bottom-feeders — the LA Clippers — would disagree with my opinion.  They’ve decided to join the writers and fans of cities like New York and Chicago in pleading with King James to help bring their team to the Promised Land.

According to Arash Markazi’s twitter feed, via Sports by Brooks, Clippers fans have scheduled a LeBron Parade that will take place at 3PM on May 27th across from the Staples Center, before Game 5 of the Lakers-Suns series.  I wonder if they’ll reschedule in the event of a sweep or just accept that it’s not meant to be.  We’ll see.

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LeBron: Where Does He Go Now?

After losing to the Boston Celtics on Thursday night and getting knocked out of the NBA playoffs, the main question on NBA fans’ minds now is where does LeBron James go in free agency? LeBron’s Cavs failed to reach the NBA Finals for the second straight year but the two time MVP will have his choice of suitors.

There are several teams in the league that need a player and a leader like King James. Right now, the focus from the media is on the New York Knicks or the Chicago Bulls as options for LeBron’s new home. Chicago cleared its payroll during the regular season so it would have the means to obtain a superstar like LeBron or Dwyane Wade. Chicago has talent that may prove to work well with the King. They offer rising stars in Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah and they will be getting a new head coach that will hopefully develop this talent even further.

On the other hand, you can’t a bigger stage than playing in New York. And if the King was able to make people watch Cavs games, imagine what he could do in the Big Apple.  On top of that, the Knicks have the means to give him the money he wants. The people of New York have written LeBron a love letter telling him how much they want him too. They’re not alone — Chicago would love to have him as well.

As much as we talk about free agency, LeBron could always just stay in Cleveland. The Cavs, the fans, and the city of Cleveland wants him to stay. Plus, LeBron grew up in Akron, Ohio, so if he chooses another team he’ll be leaving behind his family and the place where he grew up. Additionally, Cleveland’s economy pretty much rests on his shoulders — if he leaves they lose a lot of money. I’m not a mind reader so I can’t tell you what’s going his head. But I do know that he said he wants to win and the team he’s a part of now isn’t going to be much different next season. You do the math.

Sources:
Tell LeBron James you want him to Stay [Cleveland.com]
New York City is fit for a King with 8 million loyal fans [NY Daily News]

Jay-Z on Nets Signing LeBron: Decision Is Business, Not Personal, for James

On the evening when LeBron James was reaching yet another milestone in his young but brilliant NBA career, rapper and Nets owner Jay-Z was in the house. And why wouldn’t he be? He owns the team and he’s close with LeBron James. Naturally the TV cameras made their way to Jay-Z where he was asked the infamous questions — will the Nets sign LeBron when he becomes a free agent? Jay-Z’s response on YES Network:

LeBron James is one of the NBA’s best players — everybody would love to have him on their team. I have a personal relationship with him but that’s where it stops. His professional career is that, a business decision. If we put forth the best proposal then we would love to have him as any other team would.

Seems like practically every single team in the NBA is trying to free up money for the summer of LeBron, so it really will be up to him to make the call where he wants to play. I also think Jay-Z answered the question well. Regardless of what he and LeBron may have discussed privately, people can always change minds, so saying it’s a business decision is probably the most neutral answer possible.