Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 2, 2010 7:00 pm
 

Wade going for second visit with Chicago

Free agency moves pretty fast. You don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Just hours after Dwyane Wade told reporters he was "intrigued by the presentation of the New York Knicks (Knicks fans: "Yay!"), Wade is headed back to Chicago for a second meeting with Bulls brass according to Ira Winderman of the Sun-Sentinel . And he's bringing his agent in tow.

Reports vary between Winderman and ESPN as to whether the Bulls requested this meeting, or Wade did .

This comes hours after LeBron James' schedule was adjusted for Saturday. The meeting was moved up, and multiple reports suggest that the move was made because the Bulls intend to push for a decision from James by the end of day. Which sounds like abject suicide. Until you consider that the gambit may be to try and get Wade and James sealed and delivered (but not signed since they can't until the 8th) before any other teams can make another run at him. Then it sounds like a dangerous, but bold, manuever that could result in the mega-team the Bulls have been working towards, or a complete strikeout.

So the Nets started out strong, then the Knicks made a comeback. Then the Heat started appearing strong, and the Bulls looked terrible. Now the Bulls look like they're coming back. (The recurring theme is that the Clippers are irrelevant. Which means reports will indicate they're "close" to a free agent tomorrow most likely.)

If someone could get me some duct tape to keep my head strapped on to my neck, I'd appreciate it. Thanks.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 2, 2010 2:06 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 2:52 pm
 

Broadway for LeBron: Yeah, this should work.

Sure, the Knicks' presentation might not have made the impact it possibly could have. And sure the Knicks are now trying to throw money at Amar'e Stoudemire to get him into the fold as a lure for James. But don't think that New York is short on ways to impress James!

No, because really, if you're a 25 year old megamillionaire, what you're really looking for is Broadway musicals!

Broadway musical "Promises, Promises " releaed a video asking for James to come to the Big Apple. And I can tell you, these gals are swell. This is sure to bring LeBron! (Note: This is not sure to bring LeBron.)




via Ball Don't Lie
Posted on: July 2, 2010 10:23 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 10:25 am
 

Free-agency day 1 winners and losers

So we're a day in. Who were the winners and losers from the first day of free agency?

Winners:


New Jersey Nets:
The Nets made an impression with the first meeting of LeBron James' free agency tour and came away feeling good about things. They also may have inadvertently benefited from the Knicks' proposal , which too obviously ignored them.

Toronto Raptors:
The Raptors made a signing that was defense-focused , signing  young Amir Johnson to a 5-year, $34 million dollar deal. Some will question whether his production warrants such a deal, but look at his per-minute numbers (outside of fouls), and his age, consider the deal Andrew Bynum was rewarded with, and realize that Johnson is only 23. Good move for the Raps who are in for a rocky year.

Los Angeles Lakers: Any time you can bring back a guy who has 13 rings and is the only one to make your team's offensive system work, and the only person Kobe Bryant has won titles with, that's a good day, even if you didn't sign a soul.


Losers:


Memphis Grizzlies: There were a lot of complications that led to Rudy Gay being inked to a near-max contract at 5 years, $82 million despite having never been an All-Star. The Grizzlies couldn't lose Gay. They would have been stranded without a small-forward. The fanbase already considers ownership cheap. And Gay is the best player under 26 on the team. They also couldn't really wait to see what offer sheets Gay came upon or signed. If a team offered a max contract, front-loaded, it would have hurt them financially, and may have forced them into a less flexible position, particularly if teams had waited till later in the summer to formally extend the offer sheet in an effort to squeeze the Grizz. But that doesn't change the facts of the deal, nor does it change that they could have avoided this mess by getting an agreement done a year ago, and likely at a lower price when demand wasn't so high as it is now. The Grizzlies gave a near-max to a player who has been inconsistent, is young, but not super-young, and has never been an All-Star. By hook or by crook, the Grizzlies wound up losers today.

Atlanta Hawks: First they made everyone think they were insane by offering Joe Johnson the absolute max, right off the bat. Then things got worse as Johnson still hasn't agreed to the deal, and has taken a secondary meeting with his agent from which no resolution has been made.


New York Knicks:
They have the money. They have the brand. They have the PowerPoint . And yet they still seem to be on the outside looking in at the top free agents while Chicago, Miami, and even the Nets gain traction. Now, they're getting the ear and are still firmly in on this thing, but the prevailing wisdom doesn't speak to them having had a rousingly successful day. And when the stakes are this high, not winning is losing. There are no draws.

-Matt Moore



Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:58 am
 

Free-agency layup line: Handshake deals aplenty

All of the little free-agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Lot of little things going on.

As Ken Berger reported earlier , the Raptors came to an agreement with Amir Johnson for five years at $34 million. Johnson's super-young, super-athletic, and a defensive stalwart. He can't hit the broad side of a barn with a 12-guage, but it's not like offense is what the Raptors need to improve on. Considering the other moves made today, you have to wonder if Johnson's deal wasn't one of the shrewdest.

CSN New England is reporting that the Celtics are taking a good long look at free-agent Brendan Haywood as a replacement for Kendrick Perkins, who is out till December after knee surgery. After Doc Rivers came back to the fold, the Celtics turned their attention to upgrading their roster. Turning to Haywood is an interesting idea. Haywood is an older veteran, but still younger than most of the Celtics at 30, and fits their profile at what is probably a reasonable price. Of course, the Celts' biggest priority is getting Paul Pierce re-signed, as KB informed you they've begun work on

The Nets are feeling pretty good about themselves after this morning's presentation to LeBron James. The sticking point? James will want help, and right now all of the other max guys have different ideas. Wade clearly wants to stay in Miami, Amar'e likes that idea as well, and who knows what Chris Bosh is thinking.

Marc Stein of ESPN reports the Suns are considering Hakim Warrick, which makes about as much sense as any signing you'll hear about. Warrick is a veteran with length and athleticism, with some years left in front of him. He doesn't play defense but can dunk pretty well. Sounds like just about your average Phoenix Sun, no?

Be sure to check back every thirty seconds, because that's about how long it takes for the pendulum to swing back and forth from "Dirk Nowitzki is totally looking at New York!" to "Dirk Nowitzki is going nowhere ."

ESPN's Chad Ford reports teams are still looking to try and nab Chris Paul. But the interesting aspect of this is that no one is talking about the Hornets' side. After trading Mo Peterson's rottting corpse last week to OKC, the Hornets areout of the tax. The biggest reason to trade CP3 is gone, and they have not said they'e considering trading Paul. Your crazy Chris Paul rumor of the moment? The Knicks may take a swing if they strike out on LeBron or one of the other max free agents. Good luck with that.

Rusty Simmons of the San Franciso Chronicle reports that the Warriors are in the market for a small forward after dealing Corey Maggette to the Bucks. Apparently Marvin Williams, Trevor Ariza, and Shane Battier are on the lists. Shane Battier on the Warriors is not only weird, but would be a tragedy to see his defensive prowess on the ole' Dubs.






Posted on: July 2, 2010 1:06 am
Edited on: July 2, 2010 1:29 am
 

Inside the Knicks' presentation to LeBron

Getty Images Forbes Magazine hits us with a pretty stunning scoop : the PowerPoint presentation the Knicks gave LeBron James Thursday morning, provided by a New York marketing firm, Interbrand.

The cliff notes? LeBron can make a billion dollars in New York, for sure. He might be able to in Chicago. He can't in Cleveland or Miami. So naturally, he should come to New York! He has the highest potential earnings through the entirety of the contract by nearly $300 million more than the runner-up, Cleveland. The core of the message is this: It's not just about a bigger market. It's about New York's market specifically, and that's where the money is .

Okay, that's the short story. Here's the full monty. We're going to walk you through the slides step by step to point out some relevant factors. I'd definitely take a long read through that Forbes article and the accompanying PowerPoint:

Slide 1: Don't know if that picture of LeBron is the best you could have used. He doesn't look majestic; he looks like he's scared of some monster chasing him from behind. But a smart move pulling a picture of him from Team USA. No brand attachment to Cleveland and it prompts the memories of how Kobe Bryant was a bigger deal in China in 2008 because of the championships.

Slide 2: Some backside kissing of James and the work he's put in, and then the exposition of the study's intent. This is our first big revelation of the study. Interbrand examined four teams for the study, based on estimated market impact: the Knicks, the Bulls, the Heat, and the Cavs. Notice who's missing there? The Nets. There is no mention of the Nets throughout the entire presentation, despite the very frontal attack the Nets have laid on the Knicks as the key to the New York market. With all of the extraneous business opportunities the Nets are offering James through their move to Brooklyn in 2012, this could be a huge mistake. James and company had just gotten through listening to the Nets pitch when the Knicks came in and completely ignored the team that had been in the building twenty seconds before, and whose minority owner is a close friend and mentor to LeBron. Comparing New York to the other markets is a great idea. Ignoring an attempt to differentiate between the Knicks and Nets was a mistake that easily could have been rectified.

Slide 3: Provides a background to Interbrand and what they were attempting to focus on with this study. "Lifetime earnings" is a key factor. This entire study is built upon the concept that James' next stop is his last.

Slide 4: Methodology of what Interbrand looked at and how they modeled it. It's a conceptually strong slide, even if it doesn't actually provide examples of how it quantifies factors (like the post-retirement economic models of players like Wilt Chamberlain and Reggie Miller, especially when outside of Michael Jordan, those players considered really can't be compared to LeBron's theoretical revenue stream). Then again, I sincerely doubt James is going to be looking for them to provide their formulas and double checking with his own advanced statistics team.

Slide 5: A nifty graphic that illustrates the data movement that helps Interbrand quantify brand strength. Interesting stuff. If you're a marketing executive in New York with an emphasis on sports. Literally dozens of people are captivated.

Slide 6: A look at revenue streams analyzed for the presentation. Interestingly, it starts with International "partnerships' which are differentiated from sponsorships. Only local endorsements are considered. Which is particularly odd since it doesn't at all go after the "in the Internet age, anyone can build an empire from anywhere" argument. The entire presentation is built on busting that concept, and the study deftly avoids it. It's hard to say if that's a strength or weakness of the presentation.

Slide 7: Interbrand's assumptions for the study: A. James will play till he's 38 (unlikely, and given the exponential year over year balance is a significant factor, kind of an important one, B. James is finishing his career with the next team he signs with (yes, because the one thing in the NBA is that things always work out as both teams think they will when they sign) and C. the model is built on the current CBA model. This makes sense given the impossibility of predicting the next CBA and that NBA salary represents such a small amount of impact on the results of the study.

Slide 8: Four factors considered in the analysis. The key take away here are on the final two points. Championships are most important, but winning a championship matters more in certain markets than others. And secondly, and this is an odd one, the longer a franchise goes without a championship, the greater the impact on the player that gets them there. This fails to consider the historic impact of previous championships. It also seems like a pretty custom tailored argument for New York (more so than the rest of the presentation). "Sure, we haven't been relevant in thirty years, but that's a good thing!"

Slide 9: A numbers breakdown. Clearly, New York outperforms the others. An interesting note, among interesting notes, is how high Cleveland ranks on these measures, despite market size, which is a key element of the rest of the study. Also, the franchise impact of the Knicks is over four times as great as Chicago . This despite Chicago having had the greatest player of all time inside of 15 years, having a massively popular merchandising brand, and operating in a major market. That the Knicks are more powerful is no shock. That they are that much more powerful is kind of stunning for a team best known in recent history for Jeff Van Gundy holding a guy's leg and John Starks getting worked by Reggie Miller.

Slide 10-13: Team by team breakdowns of the four factors and relevant takeaways. Cleveland is relevant based on the "hometown hero" concept. The study clearly is aimed not at trashing Cleveland (and offending LeBron), but taking out the rest of the competitors and looking better than Cleveland overall. Chicago and Miami bear the brunt, as Chicago is considered too volatile thanks to Jordan's shadow, and Miami is basically tossed aside as irrelevant.

Slide 14: Conclusion: "Knicks rule!" Basically, if James wins a championship and he's in New York, that's the optimum situation for him to make the most money and expand his brand the most. It's not a particularly stirring conclusion considering the Knicks both requisitioned and presented the study, but it doesn't exactly come off as the most in-depth, objective analysis. Then again, when Mike D'Antoni's also telling you he can help you average a triple double, it probably sounds pretty good.

Slide 15: No, thank you , Interbrand.

All in all, the Knicks did a good job of finding data that attacked its competitors while not coming off as tyrannical or arrogant. It simplifies the argument while providing evidence to support the common sense argument. "New York is better." The Knicks needed to prove to James that concept was sound while pitching him on the basketball side with D'Antoni. It's a fascinating insight into how this free-agency period is being played by the teams who are brokering with this monstrous class of players.

-Matt Moore




Posted on: July 1, 2010 5:39 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 5:41 pm
 

Amar'e Stoudemire hedging away from Phoenix

And things looked so promising just a day ago for the Suns to re-sign Amar'e Stoudemire.

So much for that idea.

Paul Coro of the Arizona Republic writes that talks between Amar'e Stoudemire and the Phoenix Suns have reached an impasse . The impossible roadblock? Amar'e wants five years, the Suns want to offer 4. That extra year is so vital, Ric Bucher of ESPN reports that Amar'e is now a longshot to return, and is considering Miami.

Pat Riley is trying to convince Stoudemire using what is referred to as the "power of three" PowerPoint presentation that outlines how championship cores are built on a nucleus of three. Much like Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, and Dwyane Wade and Shaquille O'Neal. But anyway, it's a good pitch, and Riley is pitching Florida's no-state tax as a selling point. The probably issue is going to be that Stoudemire has never felt he's a third banana. Being the least important cog in a Dwyane-Wade-LeBron-James-Amar'e triangle may not sit well with his ego. That's before we start to consider how much Stoudemire would have to adjust to the play of the other two.

Phoenix still remains in this thing, with Stoudemire's agent Happy Walters trying to get a deal done. But Walters is adamant that no deal will be done without that fifth year, and Robert Sarver isn't known to be the kind of owner who buckles when things get tough financially. But in this kind of free agency climate, we've already seen two teams buckle to the demands of their stars to keep them with Joe Johnson in Atlanta and Rudy Gay in Memphis. The Suns will need to give Stoudemire what he wants if they want to keep him. The market has decided his value, not his performance. And it's that value that will impact his decision. Not his loyalty.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 1, 2010 2:54 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 9:46 pm
 

Free-agency layup line: Knicks, Nets feuding

All of the little free agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

Okay, a lot is going on with LeBron today. Try and keep up.

First off, the gigantic 225-by-95 foot mural of Jay-Z and Mikhail Prokhorov that the Nets installed outside of Madison Square Garden has irritated MSG chairman James Dolan so much that he called minority owner Jay-Z to complain that it was "intimidating his employees." This is a pretty baffling statement until you consider the Knicks defense, in which case you understand why anything big and tall would overpower them. (Yahoo! Sports)

The games began in earnest today when LeBron James' contingent started meeting with teams at a "secret" location . Of course, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer knew where it was because he knows anything and everything about LeBron. The meeting was held at the LRMR (James' marketing company) headquarters at the IMG building in Cleveland. The neighbors across the street must have known. They had a message for the King . The Nets gave their presentation and were on their way. Except for Jay-Z, who stuck around for a few minutes for whatever reason (speculation: private meeting between mentor and mentee). I also found it funny that the Nets seemed to one-up the Knicks in everything, including the size of the private jet . The Knicks were next up . (Brian Windhorst' Twitter)

The schedule is for LeBron to meet Knicks and Nets today, Heat and Clippers tomorrow, and Bulls and Cavs on Saturday, according to Chad Ford of ESPN . The Bulls and Cavs being last is probably significant as Ford writes, but the Knicks and Nets have spared no expense in trying to make a good first impression. I'd give nearly anything to be in the room for the Clippers presentation, which I'm pretty sure is just going to be a Los Angeles Tourism Center brochure and a cake with Blake Griffin's face on it (and not his knee).  (ESPN)

For complete details of today's visit, check out this report which outlines the whole shebang. (CBS)

In lesser known free-agency news:

Heat center Joel Anthony has gotten a slew of offers according to Hoopsworld's Alex Kennedy . Anthony is a young big with good efficiency numbers and solid upside that could be gotten at good value. Then again, if ten teams are vying for him, he may wind up with more than he's worth. Mostly because this is the NBA and that's how it works (everyone wave at Darko). (Alex Kennedy's Twitter)

Kennedy also spoke with Matt Barnes who said that if Dwight Howard wants something, "it probably will happen" which will only fuel speculation earlier in the week about Chris Paul and Carlos Boozer. (Hoopsworld.com)

Seven teams have contacted free agent Raymond Felton, and the Bobcats are not one of them. Which is a little insane considering the Bobcats essentially have no point guards beyond D.J. Augustin and Felton is the best agent in class at his position. The Bobcats didn't have a draft pick last week, and their only option may be Jordan Farmar. Who's being courted by Indiana pretty hard right now. (CBS, PBT)

-Matt Moore




Posted on: July 1, 2010 10:36 am
Edited on: July 1, 2010 11:36 am
 

Free-agency layup line: LeBron's gift edition

All of the little free agency stories that flow through. We'll have several of these throughout the day, updated regularly.

A mystery team dropped a "small square box" containing a gift off at LeBron James' house at 11PM Wednesday night, according to the New York Daily News .  Our best guesses as to the gift are the heart of a lion, whatever was in the suitcase in "Pulp Fiction ", or a Russian doll containing $2.4 million in bonds.  (HT: FanHouse )

Richard Jefferson opted out of his contract, but that doesn't necessarily mean much for the team basketball-wise. Spurs blog 48 Minutes of Hell reports that with the team significantly over the cap still, Jefferson's opt-out doesn't clear them to make any significant moves and leaves them with a hole at small forward. You have to wonder if Tony Parker and his contract may be even more on the block.

Chris Bosh is predictably keeping track of his free agency exploits on Twitter. As of 4EST, he had met with the Bulls, Raptors, Heat, and Rockets (check out more on our discussion of Houston's chances ). You have to wonder if it's better to be early or late in these discussions. The Knicks seem to be taking the latter approach, since they went and visited Mike Miller first thing last night.

Darren Rovell of Sports Biz reports that part of the Nets' offer for LeBron James is a clothing line via Jay-Z . These are the kind of advantages teams have to pull out. There's so much more going on here than just money and a good core of players, though those things are up-front the most important.

Via Wizards blog Bullets Forever , Yahoo! Sports reports that Washington is looking to fill that whole at small forward quickly . They've already spoken to both of their expired small forwards (Mike Miller, Josh Howard) and are looking at Ryan Gomes, Travis Outlaw, Rasual Butler and even Josh Childress who is still in Greece. With the acquisition of Kirk Hinrich, the Wizards have to be thinking on the cheap with this contract, and likely won't want to commit to anything long-term. Then again, they traded for Kirk Hinrich and Yi Jianlian, so there's no telling what they're going to do next.

John Hammond is "cautiously optimistic" that the Bucks will be able to re-sign John Salmons. Then again, we think Hammond is "cautiously losing his mind" for giving Drew Gooden a 5 year, $32 million deal when he has Ersan Ilyasoava and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute along with rookie Larry Sanders to pair with Andrew Bogut. Hammond's either gone around the bend or is in pursuit of something...


 
 
 
 
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