LeBron to Bulls? ... Confessions of a "LeBron Hater"
I will say it up front: I hate LeBron James. I hate his quest to become a "global icon" and I hate his cocky attitude. Everything he does is annoying to me. I was visibly upset when he stole the show at the All-Star Slam Dunk Contest 2 years ago, only to back out and not even compete last year. It was a ploy for attention, because he's an attention-grabbing, me-first kind of guy. I hated him even more when he walked off without shaking hands against the Magic.
I take delight in his failures, and love all the negativity that resulted from "Game 5" against the Celtics. Instead of taking the blame (like MJ, Magic, Bird, etc. would have), he was defiant. Then he had a pretty bad game last night, despite what his triple-double indicates - he shot 8/21 FG and had 9 TOs to go along with his gaudy numbers. It was like he was forcing the triple-double to make a point that it wasn't his fault. It's his team, and it's his fault.
I have often made my hatred for LeBron known, and so I am frequently asked the obvious question: "What will you do if the Bulls sign LeBron this summer?" And the answer is complicated ...
WHO SHOULD THE BULLS HIRE AS
THEIR NEXT HEAD COACH? --->
THEIR NEXT HEAD COACH? --->
Source: LeBron-Cal deal not on radar
A source with direct knowledge of the Chicago Bulls front office's plans says the team believes it has the right players in place -- namely, Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and Luol Deng -- to surround LeBron James when it makes its case with the free agent-to-be on July 1.
But the source said there has been no discussion of bringing Kentucky coach John Calipari in with James as part of a package deal.
The Chicago Tribune reported Monday that according to league sources, basketball power broker William Wesley -- a friend of both James and Calipari -- has been quietly contacting NBA teams that have coaching vacancies and salary-cap space about the possibility of bringing in James and Calipari together.
Bulls must weigh if they want James … and Calipari
In the first 24 hours after the Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers on Thursday, the Bulls sold more than 500 new full season tickets and a team official estimated incoming call volume to their sales office stood roughly 50 times normal levels.
The question now is whether the allure of LeBron James will have a similar effect on Bulls management.
League sources said Sunday that noted NBA power broker William Wesley continues to work back channels to sell John Calipari and James as a package deal to franchises such as the Bulls, Nets and Clippers with coaching vacancies and salary cap room.
Another league source confirmed that an unknown Calipari connection contacted Bulls management over the weekend. This not only once again renders the coach's vows to remain at Kentucky hollow, it underscores the juggling act general manager Gar Forman and senior vice president John Paxson must navigate as they tackle a coaching search while planning for free agency, which begins July 1.
LeBron called Rose after Cavs' elimination
Shortly after Cleveland was eliminated by Boston in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs, LeBron James placed a call to Bulls guard Derrick Rose.
What did they talk about?
Word is, James said he likes Rose's game, likes his team and would welcome the chance to play together.
Before putting LeBron's No. 6 Bulls jersey up for sale, keep in mind that it's possible James made similar calls to Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. Maybe even Nets center Brook Lopez. But it has been made clear through various channels that James is very interested in joining the Bulls when he becomes a free agent on July 1.
New York, New Jersey and Miami figure to be James' top options, along with re-signing in Cleveland. Staying with the Cavaliers is starting to seem less likely after the early playoff exit exposed flaws in the team's winning formula.
The James phone call to Rose was mentioned by ESPN reporter Scoop Jackson and confirmed by a league source. Rose has been taking things slowly since the Bulls season ended with a first-round loss to Cleveland, but he visits the Berto Center on occasion. The source said the James-Rose conversation did not last very long.
Free Agent Watch: Bulls in “lead” for LeBron, Amar’e and luck
More thoughts on potential free agents:
The only “news” we currently have about where LeBron will end up in July is all rumor and speculation. But according to ESPN’s Chad Ford, the Bulls are leading the Race for the King: “I keep hearing that the Bulls are atop his list at the moment. That could change, but that’s the word around the league at the moment. [Top three are:] 1. Bulls. 2. Knicks 3. Heat … I think the darkhorse is Dallas who’ll try to acquire him via sign-and-trade. As for the Cavs, it doesn’t look very good at the moment, but things can change. I think owner Dan Gilbert would essentially have to give him the GM job as well to keep him there.”
In unrelated news, I’m currently “in the lead” for Bionic Superhero of the Future, along with Lou Ferrigno, Homer Simpson and the Easter Bunny.
Okay. Sarcasm aside, the New Jersey Nets were also in the running for LeBron. Until last night, anyway. As Ford noted: “If they can land [John] Wall, they suddenly become much more competitive in the LeBron James sweepstakes. if they don’t land Wall, I think we can scratch them off the list. That’s some pretty big stakes.”
They were big. Unfortunately for the 17 remaining Nets fans — and 17 might be too high a guess — the Washington Wizards won the number one pick in the draft lottery and will almost certainly take Wall. The Nets, who were one of the worst team’s in league history last season, ended up with the third pick. Even if the Wizards go crazy and pass up Wall, there’s no way he will get past the Philadelphia 76ers, who have the second pick.
By the way, Bulls player development assistant Lindsey Hunter literally laughed away the idea that LeBron and Derrick Rose wouldn’t work well together. With all due apologies to John Hollinger.