NBA Free Agency Begins When LeBron James Says It Begins


NBA Free Agency Begins When LeBron James Says It Begins Last week, NBA free agent-to-be Chris Bosh was asked about how he approached the upcoming offseason — specifically, whether his actions this July were contingent upon those of LeBron James. He answered in no uncertain terms.

?Am I waiting on LeBron? Pretty much,? Bosh told the Associated Press. ?I think everyone has to. I have to as well.?

For seemingly forever, the entire basketball world waited with bated breath for July 1, when the free-agent signing period could officially begin. And now July 1 is finally here, NBA fans have come to an eerie realization: The offseason isn?t really underway — not yet.

Free agency doesn?t begin on the first day of July. It begins when LeBron says so.

The 25-year-old basketball megastar has spent the last seven years of his life slaving away for the Cleveland Cavaliers, searching for a championship but coming up frustratingly empty each spring. For seven years, he held the fate of a small-market franchise in the palm of his hand; now, he holds the future of the entire NBA.

Bosh was right. We?re all waiting on LeBron. And quite frankly, that?s exactly how he likes it.

James has the NBA right where he wants it. The whole league is his oyster, and he can savor it however he pleases. If he wants a quick and painless end to the free-agency melodrama, he can sign with a new team the moment he?s eligible. If he prefers to drag things out, he can prolong the charade for weeks.

He could follow through on the Chicago plan that the New York Times called a ?done deal,? thus teaming up with Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and perhaps Bosh as well to make a run at a title. He could go to Miami, forming a dream team with Dwyane Wade and perhaps a third max free agent, completing a scenario that Fox Sports Radio?s Stephen A. Smith called ?highly likely.?

Or he could go to any number of other candidates — the Knicks and Nets continue to lurk in the shadows, waiting to pounce on King James. The Clippers, with their cap space and loaded young nucleus, are a candidate, too. Sacramento, Washington and Minnesota have plenty of room under the cap.

It?s not limited to teams with cap space — thanks to the wonders of the sign-and-trade, any team in the NBA has a shot at landing LeBron. The Mavericks, for example, are loaded with assets they can unload in a deal for the King, and you know they?re interested, as owner Mark Cuban got blasted with a $100,000 tampering fine in May for saying so.

And then there?s the old hometown team.

After seven years in a Cavalier uniform, the Akron, Ohio, native might not be ready to leave just yet. He?s always felt a strong bond with his Cleveland roots, and there?s a chance that Cavs owner Dan Gilbert can convince him to stay put.

LeBron went on Larry King Live a month ago and called the Cavs his ?sentimental favorite.? Two weeks ago, he made a surprise appearance in front of 8,500 fans at a LeBron Appreciation Day rally in Akron, telling the crowd, ?Akron is my home — it?s my life.?

Any one of these scenarios could play itself out in a matter of hours — or, if LeBron so chooses, it can happen weeks from now.

LeBron is in total control.

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