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Posts Tagged ‘LeBron James’

Chris Bosh to join Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat!!!

July 7th, 2010 4 comments
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Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are teaming up together on the Miami Heat, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.

ESPN’s Shelley Smith also reported the pending move through independent sources.

Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer’s celebrated free agent class, will join them remains to be seen. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 ET during a one-hour special on ESPN.

Wade and Bosh are expected to announce their decision on Wednesday, according to the source.

If the reports are true, on July 8 the Heat will have Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers under contract, and $15,601,383 of remaining cap space available, of which up to $11,812,551 can be spent on any one player.

Yeah, baby!!!! None of us ever had a doubt!

Heat Gaining Steam in Free Agent Sweepstakes

July 6th, 2010 4 comments
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LeBron James wants desperately to play with Chris Bosh. He sees Bosh as the key to a team that can win multiple titles. As such, he’s been trying to recruit the All-Star to Cleveland for several weeks. The capped out Cavaliers have even worked out a sign-and-trade with the Raptors to make it happen.

Per Chris Broussard of ESPN:

Everything is set for Chris Bosh to join LeBron James in Cleveland. Everything, that is, except Bosh’s approval.

The Toronto Raptors have told the Cleveland Cavaliers they will do a sign-and-trade with them for Bosh, according to several league sources.

The exact details of the potential trade have not been solidified, but Toronto likely would get Anderson Varejao and or J.J. Hickson, Delonte West, and perhaps Anthony Parker. A draft pick could be involved as well.

The Raptors are certainly doing their part to drive their departing power forward toward a potential union with James, disingenuously suggesting it would not be willing to cooperate in a sign-and-trade with the Miami Heat.

But Chris has not exactly warmed to the idea of playing in Cleveland. And for good reason. The average temperature in Cleveland is 49 degrees; the average temperature in Miami is 75 degrees. Cleveland has factories; Miami has South Beach.

And for a guy who’s so motivated by the money, he’d be paying approximately $750,000 more in annual taxes (state, net of federal deductions) in Ohio than on an equivalent contract in Florida. Read more…

Bosh to Miami a done deal?

June 30th, 2010 17 comments
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Pat Riley & Co. appear to be quietly building a potential dynasty

The first step of Pat Riley’s mater rebuilding plan might be near completion, if Miami Herald radio host and ESPN contributor Dan LeBatard is to be believed.

According to LeBatard, a sign-and-trade of Toronto forward Chris Bosh has been agreed to in principal. The Heat would acquire Bosh in exchange for Michael Beasley, Mario Chalmers and Joel Anthony. The Raptors would also get a trade exception in the deal, the value of which would depend upon the agreed-to contract of Anthony.

Any conversations held between Bosh and any member of Heat management prior to July 1 would certainly be considered tampering. The league takes tampering very seriously and may impose stiff penalties if it is discovered, though it traditionally does not investigate unless another team files tampering charges.

However, the rules regarding communications between fellow players (and friends) are much more slippery. It appears as if Wade has been acting as the unofficial spokesman for the Heat, and perhaps deserves the GM of the Year award for his efforts. Read more…

Stephen A reporting LeBron, Bosh and Wade all to Miami

June 29th, 2010 15 comments
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The greatest words in the history of professional sport (from Stephen A. Smith):

I got a call last night from a source and I double-checked it with another and they told me essentially that LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to tag team and go together and join Dwyane Wade in Miami.

Around 10 o’clock last night or so I heard the news and stayed up for a few more hours and made a few phone calls and I felt comfortable enough to go with what I reported.

I believe it’s highly likely, I wouldn’t say anything is a done deal with LeBron James until it’s signed.

Last night I heard emphatically that this is the direction that LeBron James has leaned toward and Dwyane Wade has done a very, very good job of convincing them (James and Bosh) not just about Pat Riley, not just about the fact there are no state (income) taxes in the state of Florida but at the same time he’s there in a tandem and that’s what it’s going to take. Either that or a three-headed monster to win multiple championships and that LeBron James is all in.

This is obviously a best case scenario for the Heat.

It’s difficult to believe that both LeBron and Chris are unequivocally ready to sign on the dotted line right now and join Dwyane in his quest for basketball immortality. But what if they are? Then what? Would the next half decade not be the best years of your lives?  Read more…

Why LeBron James Should Consider the Miami Heat

May 28th, 2010 1 comment
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I’m not sure if you already know this, but the rumor is that LeBron James is thinking of leaving Cleveland, now that his contract with the Cavaliers is up.

Everyone from Jay-Z to Barack Obama is in on the act of recruiting him.

Speculation over where he’ll end up has run wild. In the past 24 hours, Vegas oddsmakers have increased Miami’s odds of landing James from 35-1 to 7.5-1. In a poll of six ESPN experts, two felt Miami was the most likely destination.

What was once thought to be the ridiculous bantering of the hopelessly delusional is now a potential reality. A combination of Wade, James and Bosh has to be intriguing, and it is possible.

Moving the contracts of Daequan Cook and Michael Beasley are the only things that stand in the way. And both should be quite easy to move. You’d have to think a team would be willing to take on Cook’s expiring $2.1 million contract for, say, up to $3.0 million in cash. As for Beasley, you’d have to think a team would be intrigued about the possibility of acquiring the troubled forward at no cost, and perhaps even surrender future draft considerations to the Heat in order to do so.

Still, the ultimate trio would seem unlikely. And, as surprising as this may sound, it may not even be in the Heat’s best interests.

With LeBron in the mix, entirely new scenarios open up.

If I were Riley, my recruiting pitch to LeBron would go something like this:

I would talk about the benefit of playing in an no-income-tax state like Florida, something that would be worth millions to James, whose off-court earnings dwarf his on-court salary. I would cover the weather, the beaches, the lifestyle, and all else the city has to offer. I would point to the rings on my finger. They are, after all, exactly what he wants. I would point to Micky Arison, the multi-billionaire owner willing to spend whatever it takes to make it happen.

But my focus would be on building a dynasty. Read more…

Lessons in Game Theory

May 25th, 2010 No comments
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What LeBron James’ uniform says next season could be a simple matter of game theory

LeBron James continues to insist his upcoming free agency decision will be based purely on the potential to win.

It’s not about legacy. It’s not about marketing. It’s not about becoming basketball’s first billion-dollar man.

If that’s true, it’s all just a simple bout of game theory.

The game consists of a set of players (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Amare Stoudemire, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson), a set of moves available to those players (Cleveland, New York, Chicago or Miami), and a specification of payoffs for each combination of strategies (title or no title).

LeBron is clearly aware that he is the centerpiece of the upcoming free agent class. He knows that whatever move he makes will be followed tit-for-tat by the other players. So all he really needs to do is break down the potential scenarios and weigh the likely outcomes.

LeBron’s possible destinations:

1. Cleveland

If LeBron chooses to remain in Cleveland, the Cavs get no better than this past season.

Dwyane Wade re-signs in Miami. Chris Bosh joins him there. Miami still has another $10 million or so with which to round out its roster.

Chicago then makes a strong push for, and gets one of, Amare Stoudemire or Carlos Boozer. The Bulls hold right there, unless someone is willing to take on Kirk Hinrich or Luol Deng.

New York re-signs David Lee. Joe Johnson becomes the consolation prize.

Net Result: James’ decision will have created two more perennial powerhouses, and one significantly better organization, with which to compete on an annual basis. The odds of LeBron winning a championship decrease dramatically. Not a viable option. Read more…

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Knicks’ Stock an Influential Factor for LeBron?

May 20th, 2010 No comments
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Three days ago, Forbes national editor Michael Ozanian created a national frenzy when he published this article detailing how the New York Knicks could land LeBron James. He wrote that James should consider the Knicks because he would be eligible to purchase stock in the public company MSG, which owns the Knicks.

The premise of this article is quite interesting. But in the end, it is flawed. I’ll build you two hypothetical cases to show you why.

First, some background. Madison Square Garden, Inc. (NASDAQ: MSG) is a U.S. based company that spun-off from Cablevision on February 9, 2010.

MSG is divided into three entities: MSG Sports, MSG Media and MSG Entertainment.

MSG Sports is the division that owns and operates four sports franchises, including the New York Knicks of the NBA, the New York Rangers of the NHL, the New York Liberty of the WNBA, and the Hartford Wolf Pack of the AHL. The Knicks, Rangers and Liberty play their home games at Madison Square Garden.

MSG Entertainment is the division that owns the Madison Square Garden arena. MSG Media consists of the MSG Network, the regional sports network that broadcasts Knicks games locally.

Here’s a brief breakdown of the profitability of MSG by division:

Extracting the contribution of the Knicks from the MSG Sports division is quite a difficult task. According to a December 2009 Forbes report on NBA team valuations, the New York Knicks had the following standalone financial performance for the seasons ended June 30:

According to these cursory figures, the Knicks would appear to contribute meaningfully to the overall profitability of the company. However, in practical reality, it is almost certain that the financial statements of the Knicks organization contains various expenses not captured by Forbes such the reported profitability is far less than those presented above.

Now on to the cases.

Case 1: LeBron trades in MSG stock before announcing his intention to sign with the Knicks

The first question is whether doing so would be considered a violation of insider trading laws.

The purchase or sale of a security, in breach of a fiduciary duty or other relationship of trust and confidence, while in possession of material, non-public information about the security is a crime. Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 allows the SEC to recover up 3x any profits made from the use of inside information. Additional criminal prosecution could lead to up to 10 years in prison. So we’re talking serious stuff here.

Despite the appearance of impropriety, how LeBron would fit within the above description has been the subject of much debate. Clearly LeBron would be in possession of material, non-public information (i.e., his decision to join the Knicks). Whether or not he can be considered an insider within the confines of the law is less clear. Relevant case law for this type of situation simply doesn’t exist. Consider the situation. How often can one man who has absolutely no affiliation with a company materially affect the performance of its stock? James hasn’t even been contacted by the Knicks, let alone been offered a contract.

The courts have expanded the meaning of the word “insider,” and its definition is set up to evolve and adapt to an ever expanding array of possible crimes. Utilizing my own legal background, I would be inclined to believe James would have significant exposure.

It doesn’t matter anyway.

The second question is whether the NBA would allow it. And the answer is no. The NBA has publicly declared it would not accept such trading, as it would be considered a circumvention of the salary cap rules.

Case 2: LeBron trades in MSG stock after announcing his intention to sign with the Knicks

From an NBA standpoint, there wouldn’t be any issue. In fact, the collective bargaining agreement explicitly states:

“During the term of this Agreement, no NBA player may acquire or hold a direct or indirect interest in the ownership of any NBA Team; provided, however, that any player may own shares of any publicly-traded company that directly or indirectly owns an NBA Team.”

From an SEC standpoint, there would be larger issues at stake. The SEC would certainly monitor any trades LeBron makes, in accordance with Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5 of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. He would also be subject to SEC reporting requirements (at a certain level of ownership) as well as the company’s own compliance regulations. However, ownership in and of itself would not appear to be problematic.

***

These two cases depict why the author’s logic may be a bit flawed.

Once LeBron becomes a Knick (an event upon which he would not be allowed to trade), the stock price will adjust to reflect the revised earnings potential of the company. Any further stock price appreciation thereafter would be based on the company’s ability to meet those revised expectations, for which LeBron would be no more qualified than any other investor to determine. He would gain no advantage over anybody who would otherwise view MSG as a solid investment opportunity. And if he did gain an advantage, he wouldn’t legally be allowed to trade on it.

But the article is thought-provoking and creative. Think about it. This one article got so much attention, the NBA felt the need to step in and make a public comment about it.

Why LeBron James Should Consider the Chicago Bulls

May 18th, 2010 No comments
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Oh no! LeBron James called Derrick Rose!

While I wouldn’t necessarily hit the panic button just yet, the Bulls clearly offer a compelling value proposition.

If LeBron’s exclusive criterion in selecting his future destination is to have championship-caliber pieces placed around him – as he claims it to be – his choices would appear to be readily apparent. Friend and mentor Charles Oakley said it best. “Chicago or Miami.”

If I were Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, my pitch would be synthesized into one sentence: Anything the Heat can do, we can do better.

And depending on how you believe he can manipulate his roster, he would be right.

For all of the bantering about coaching stability, about living in the shadow of Jordan versus sharing the spotlight with Wade, about the warmth of South Beach versus the beauty of Chi-town, all of these issues are inherently subjective in nature. So let’s set them aside for the moment and focus strictly on the numbers.

The Bulls have six players under contract for next year: Derrick Rose, Kirk Hinrich, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson, James Johnson and Joakim Noah. They will make a combined $31,850,976 in guaranteed payroll next season.

LeBron would eat up another $16,568,908.

The Bulls also have the 17th pick in the first round of the upcoming draft. Unsigned first round picks are included in team salary immediately upon their selection. For the 17th pick, the amount will be $1,302,600. But, of course, the Bulls don’t have to use it. It can always be traded. So let’s not count the pick.

That’s seven total players and a total team salary of just $48,419,884.

At the currently projected $56.1 million salary cap, the Bulls would also still be left with $5,312,096 to spend on any single complementary piece (after incorporating roster charges).

So that’s Rose, Hinrich, James, Gibson and Noah, with Johnson and Deng on the bench and an as yet undecided $5 million man.

Impressive! But perhaps that’s still not enough to trump a Miami Heat value proposition that includes the likes of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

But here’s where it gets interesting.

If Luol Deng, with his $11,345,000 contract, were to be deemed superfluous in a LeBron James scenario, the Bulls could try to move him. And if Kirk Hinrich, with his $9,000,000 contract, were to be deemed superfluous behind Derrick Rose, the Bulls could try to move him too. Yes, their contracts are inflated. But they’re not ridiculous. And the Bulls have a ton of assets with which to sweeten a potential deal or two. And with more cap space available around the NBA this offseason than can appropriately be utilized, something stupid is bound to happen.

Read more…

Let the LeBron James Sweepstakes Begin!

May 14th, 2010 No comments
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The world has come to an end!

The Boston Celtics have just defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers in the biggest game in the history of professional basketball! Well, maybe not. Maybe it’s only the most important (or perhaps painful) game in Cleveland’s franchise history. But it will nonetheless hold far-reaching implications for players and franchises across the league.

The consensus has always been that it was highly unlikely that James would leave Cleveland this summer. But I, like most many others, have always felt that if the Cavaliers don’t win the NBA championship, LeBron was as good as gone. So naturally one can understand the magnitude of the moment.

The next 55 days will now be filled with the kind of rampant over-speculation fit only for a king.

In Cleveland, there is nothing but dread. Losing James will be nothing short of catastrophic for a team that no longer has the flexibility with which to rebuild and for a city whose sports curse is perhaps the heaviest of active burdens in the country.

Elsewhere, as many as a third of the league’s owners and general managers are quietly pumping their fists while pacing across their living room floors. The impossible task of landing the NBA’s greatest ever free agent prize just got one step – one large step – easier. Hopes and prayers, as ridiculous as they may be in certain cases, are still alive.

The anticipation will be nearly unbearable.

At the same time, LeBron’s performance will be carefully and painfully scrutinized. His seven-year career, one in which he has established himself as the game’s best, will continue to be called into question. The media will continue to suggest his legacy has been permanently tarnished. Conspiracy theorists will continue to suggest he threw one or more of the series’ games in order to make his impending exit that much more justified. It’s kind of a rough deal that a man who’s done so much for the game of basketball can’t hit a rough spot without suffering such ridiculous character assaults and total invalidation of sustained and unparalleled greatness.

In a season that started with such promise, there was certainly nothing magical about the Cavs’ seemingly uninspired exit. It wasn’t holding the Larry O’Brien championship trophy, as so many felt was the only acceptable end. It wasn’t fighting the Lakers in the NBA Finals for the rights to it. Rather, it was all the way back in the second round, against a team widely considered too old to compete – a team the Cavs were supposed to squash into irrelevancy. And the responsibility, whether justified or not, will be placed squarely on the shoulders of LeBron James.

And so it begins.

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Placing Bets on LeBron’s Destination

May 12th, 2010 2 comments
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Sports betting website Bodog.com is now taking bets on where LeBron James will wind up for the 2010/11 season.

The Miami Heat is not a popular projection.

The current line is as follows:

Cleveland Cavaliers: 2/5
New York Knicks: 4/1
New Jersey Nets: 9/1
Chicago Bulls: 12/1
Any Other Team: 18/1
Dallas Mavericks: 30/1
Miami Heat: 35/1
Los Angeles Clippers: 40/1
Olympiakos S.F.P. (Euroleague): 125/1

It will be interesting to see how these lines change on Thursday at about 11:00 pm.

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