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Summer of LeBron Hits Fever Pitch

By Benjy Lipsman in News on Jun 28, 2010 3:30PM

With the NBA Champs crowned and the college players drafted, it's now on to the main event. The NBA's free agency period begins at midnight on July 1, so with the most anticipated shopping spree in NBA history approaching, the news and rumors are coming fast and furious. And it's only going to build until LeBron, Dwyane Wade et al sign their new deals.

On the confirmed news front, we learned over the weekend that LeBron James will be meeting with representatives of teams interested in signing him on his home turf. There will be no recruiting trips for James, where James and his entourage would be wined and dined as part of the sales pitches. His decision apparently put the kibosh on an elaborate, celebrity-studded visit the New York Knicks where apparently planning. Instead, the five teams in addition to the Cavs vying for James -- Knicks, Nets, Heat, Clippers and Bulls -- will meet with him in Ohio. The Nets and Knicks are apparently the first teams up. While it's not known when, the Bulls will clearly be on James' agenda for the first couple days in July. Bulls management is expected to present a plan to James very similar to the one that almost lured Kobe Byrant to the Bulls a few years back, focusing on the team's young core of players, no-nonsense approach to building a winning organization and the city of Chicago itself.

Of course, if rumors that the media are reporting can be believed, the Bulls' pitch may not even matter at this point. The New York Times is reporting that LeBron James and Chris Bosh signing with the Bulls is "a done deal" according to an unnamed NBA team executive with one of the six teams bidding for James citing other unnamed sources, not the kind of reporting we'd expect from the Grey Lady. For all we know, Pat Riley's making shit up (or repeating Jalen Rose's tweet) to try and scare away some of his fellow suitors. And, with all due respect, no, we don't consider hearsay tweets from Billy Dec as gospel, either. Bosh's agent denied the rumors in an email to, while there's been no word from James' camp. For every rumor we'd read or heard, we've seen one that was the exact opposite. So while we'd like to think that the Bulls' draft day dealing weren't done without some knowledge of landing the pair, the Chicago sports fan inside of us continues to fear the Bulls' grand plans falling apart in the end.