Fans hope Bulls get LeBron James

July 1, 2010 6:45:30 PM PDT
LeBron James, the NBA's biggest star, is officially a free agent and Bulls fans hope he ends up in Chicago.

James is part of one of the most talented free agent classes in NBA history, and every team wants him.

Wednesday night, James was setting up camp in Ohio, Dwyane Wade was preparing for visitors in Chicago and Chris Bosh was having dinner with his family on Wednesday, in the final hours before the storm of free agency began.

James met Thursday morning with New Jersey Nets ownership, which includes rapper and music mogul Jay-Z. He also met with the New York Knicks.

The Bulls and Miami Heat are each expected to meet with James as early as Friday.

Starting July 1, deals can be struck, but nothing can be signed -- and therefore official -- until July 8. And teams likely won't know their salary-cap number for the coming year until around July 7.

In Miami, where there's been talk of the three biggest stars in this free agent class joining forces, former Heat star Alonzo Mourning offered a comparison to the New York Yankees -- a team that always seems to lure many of the most-coveted guys in the offseason. "They put talent on the floor that created championships. Period," the Heat legend was saying Wednesday at a "We Want Wade" rally.

Of course, James does have the option to remain with his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Meanwhile, fans in Chicago would love to cheer James on in a Bulls uniform.

"The fans want another succession of NBA championships just like they had in the 90s with the great Michael Jordan," said Ronald Crenshaw.

"If he wants to win championships, this is the only place he can get it. If he wants to be a basketball god, this is the only place he can be at," said Danny Griffen. Crenshaw and Griffen, who were playing pick up on the South side Thursday, say coming to Chicago is a no brainer, but many say there are several more factors involved in LeBron's decision making.

LeBron's fate was the talk all day on ESPN Radio 1000.

"People are ignoring the fact of how hard it's going to be for him to leave Cleveland. All his family and are there and he doesn't have the emotional attachment to Chicago as he does to Cleveland and Akron," said Nick Friedell, ESPN Radio 1000.

If the Cavaliers lose LeBron, Cleveland will be the big loser. Economically, the city and the franchise will lose millions. But if LeBron chooses Chicago, the city will win big --- especially if LeBron wins championships.

"This is easily a multi-hundred million dollar value per year to the city if he comes to Chicago," said Mark Ganis, Sportscorp Limited.

Ganis says the bottom line is Cleveland has more to lose than Chicago has to gain. He also says there is one more factor that will play a role and that is the coach. LeBron James has indicated he wants to play for a coach that used to be a player and has also won championships before. That is something the Bulls cannot provide.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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