Chatter about LeBron James choosing the Heat and teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh grew considerably in NBA front-office circles Thursday, and they're buying it from Las Vegas to Wall Street to the South Beach party scene.
US Weekly reported that James has secured six cabanas at the W Hotel in Miami, evidently to celebrate his decision to join the Heat. The party will have to wait until after James attends buddy Carmelo Anthony's wedding to LaLa Vasquez Saturday in New York.
Anthony, by the way, texted Thursday that he doesn't know what James is going to do. But bookmakers and investors do. According to the World Sports Exchange , Miami is a more than 70 percent favorite to land James, while Cleveland is second with a 25 percent percent chance. Shares of Madison Square Garden Inc., parent company of the Knicks, were down more than 5 percent on the NASDAQ on more than six times the normal trading volume.
At MSG itself, there was a palpable feeling of resignation about the outcome of LeSweepstakes as the Knicks introduced their first (and perhaps only) marquee free-agent signing: Amar'e Stoudemire. Coach Mike D'Antoni and president Donnie Walsh said they didn't even plan to watch James' televised announcement.
Much respect to them for that.
Similarly, other teams believed to be out of the running for James are refusing to have a "pity party" Thursday night, according to one executive who believes his team is out of it. Trades and signings across the league have been on hold until James unveils his decision, so those executives will immediately begin consummating those deals after James graces us with his decision.