|LeBron Watch, 9 a.m.: MSG stock falls in early trading||07.08.10 at 9:32 am ET|
Stock for Madison Square Garden Inc., which had surged to $21.47 per share Wednesday from $20.27 on July 6 amid speculation that LeBron James would join the Knicks, fell 4.6 percent to $20.58 after reports indicated it was unlikely James would land in New York.
Meanwhile, James’ Twitter account that he launched Tuesday was up to 292,000 followers as of 8:40 a.m. Wednesday, despite the fact that James posted just three tweets since its inception.
In gossip news, a man who claims to be James’ biological father is suing James, according to the celebrity news website TMZ. Leicester Bryce Stovell, 55, claims he is the victim of a DNA cover up by James’ mother, Gloria. Stovell said he met James’ mother in a Washington, D.C., bar in 1984, when she was 15 and he was 29, and had a sexual encounter with her. After losing contact for 20 years, Stovell got in touch in 2007 when he began to suspect LeBron was his son. James’ lawyer agreed to a paternity test that came back negative, but Stovell insists the test was tampered with.
|NBA roundup: Boozer to Bulls, Durant re-signs with OKC||at 9:18 am ET|
“The Decision” that everyone is waiting for Thursday night on ESPN could be an hour-long waste of time if reports that LeBron James wants to team up with stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami are true. Chris Broussard of ESPN wrote early Thursday morning that unless there is a change of heart by James, he’ll leave Cleveland and try to be a part of a dynasty with the Heat.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, one executive whose franchise was among the initial suitors for James said Wednesday morning that the Akron product was only seriously considering Miami and Cleveland.
Meanwhile, while the LeBron hoopla builds to a crescendo, other notable free agents are making their move. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer will sign a five-year, $76 million contract with the Bulls.
After various reports had New York big man David Lee heading to Phoenix to replace Amar’e Stoudemire, it looks like the double-double machine could be heading farther west to California. Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that the Warriors and Knicks are close on a deal which would send Lee in a sign-and-trade to Golden State for forward Anthony Randolph.
Already under contract, Kevin Durant decided to extend his stay with the Thunder in a relatively quiet manner when he announced the deal Thursday via Twitter. Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine writes that Durant signed a five-year, $85 million extension while showing humility amid the LeBron chaos.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have been busy this offseason as they look to bring back most of last year’s team for another run. After reaching an agreement with Paul Pierce and reportedly agreeing to terms with Ray Allen last Wednesday night, Boston reportedly is going after Jermaine O’Neal to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins at center. According to Wojnarowski and Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have offered O’Neal near the midlevel exception of $5.8 million over two years. O’Neal is expected to make a decision by Thursday night.
Another O’Neal whom the Celtics have targeted to replace Perkins has been Shaq, who has shown interest in both Boston and Atlanta. Now, Chris Tomasson of AOL FanHouse is reporting that O’Neal’s first choice to try to win his fifth championship is the Spurs. No matter where Shaq lands, Tomasson writes that sources have said that he won’t return to Cleveland for next season.
|LeBron Watch: Report indicates Miami is the choice||at 6:26 am ET|
According to reports from Newsday and ESPN, LeBron James has decided to sign with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh there. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 p.m. in an ESPN special.
Shortly after midnight, Newsday‘s Alan Hahn tweeted that “multiple sources” indicated James had decided to pass on the Knicks and go to Miami.
The ESPN report by Chris Broussard followed about an hour later. It notes that James’ friend Chris Paul has urged the superstar to stay in Cleveland and play for new coach Byron Scott, who previously coached Paul in New Orleans, and that James could reconsider his choice. Other family and friends apparently also have reservations about how James would be perceived joining a power-packed team and if that would take away from his brand.
A report at Yahoo! Sports indicates that James’ representatives began calling free agents Wednesday to assess their interest in joining the new “Big Three” in Miami. The Heat have only two players under contract: forward Michael Beasley and point guard Mario Chalmers.
However, the Yahoo! report noted that James reserves the right to change his mind and sign with his hometown Cavaliers, who can pay him a six-year, $125 million contract, more than $30 million more than what he could get from the Heat.
“LeBron always waits until the last minute to make a decision,” Yahoo! quotes Chris Dennis, who used to run James’ foundation. “He always does.”
|LeBron to announce decision in Thursday TV special||07.07.10 at 6:47 am ET|
LeBron James will announce his plans for the future during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night at 9. ESPN reported that James’ representatives contacted the network and suggested the idea. James’ group reportedly plans to sell sponsorship and donate the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
James did not speak to reporters when he made an appearance at his elite basketball camp Tuesday in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Which team will LeBron James play for next season?
- Cavaliers (49.0%, 174 Votes)
- Knicks (19.0%, 66 Votes)
- Heat (13.0%, 45 Votes)
- Bulls (9.0%, 32 Votes)
- Nets (5.0%, 17 Votes)
- Other (4.0%, 14 Votes)
- Clippers (1.0%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 353
|LeBron makes decision to join Twitter||07.06.10 at 2:15 pm ET|
LeBron James opened a Twitter account on Tuesday. His publicist, Keith Estabrook, confirmed that kingjames is in fact the account of the two-time MVP. Though he had yet to make a single post, there were nearly 50,000 followers by 2 p.m. EST.
It has been speculated that James may use this account to officially announce his eventual landing spot. The most famous free agent in the world, James is expected to make the decision regarding his basketball future soon.
|Report: Raptors would OK Bosh sign-and-trade with Cavs||at 11:17 am ET|
According to an ESPN report by Chris Broussard, the Raptors are amenable to a sign-and-trade deal that would send free agent forward Chris Bosh from Toronto to Cleveland. The report speculates that Toronto might receive Anderson Varejao and/or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West and possibly Anthony Parker.
However, despite recruiting attempts by LeBron James, Bosh is rumored to have limited interest in playing in Cleveland. The story cites sources as saying Bosh would prefer to team up with James or Dwyane Wade in Chicago, Miami or New Jersey.
|LeBron makes surprise appearance at camp||at 8:47 am ET|
LeBron James showed up at his Nike Skills Academy on Monday, a day earlier than expected, and took part in a late-afternoon workout as the league awaits a decision on where he will play next season. James was not expected until Tuesday at the camp, which features some of the nation’s top college and high school players working out in James’ hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Hornets star Chris Paul looked on as James ran drills and played 5-on-5 games for two hours. Before leaving the gym, James declined comment to a reporter.
James is not expected to announce his plans until after the conclusion of the camp Wednesday. Thursday is the first day teams can officially sign free agents.