Word has spread that LeBron James placed a phone call to Derrick Rose after the Cavaliers’ playoff elimination and is already expressing interest in joining the Bulls as a free agent, as chronicled in today’s Daily Herald.
This is obviously great news for the Bulls, who have roughly six weeks to prepare their recruiting pitch before free-agency begins on July 1.
It’s been clear all along that if James decided to leave Cleveland, the Bulls would be a strong possibility. They offer a great city and tradition, along with a chance to win right away.
James has been stuck in a slow-down offense during most of his years with the Cavs. By teaming with Rose, the Bulls could unleash a devastating fast break.
Many have mentioned the shadow of Michael Jordan as a reason James would avoid Chicago. Look at it this way: The Bulls, Lakers and Celtics have combined to win 19 of the last 30 NBA championships.
Kobe Bryant played in the shadow of Magic Johnson. Larry Bird played in the shadow of Bill Russell – and both won multiple titles.
Keep in mind, though, that James and his camp could be setting the stage for free-agent blitz that also includes New York, New Jersey, the Clippers, Miami and Cleveland.
He has other interesting options and the Bulls might be just one piece of a plan to dominate sports headlines in July. Maybe he’ll announce his decision on live TV, with hats of every team sitting in front of him, college football-style.
Yahoo.com’s Adrian Wojnarowski discussed the possibility in a column after the Cavs’ Game 6 loss in Boston.
LeBron trades one drama for another
Like I’ve mentioned before, it’s tough to see Kentucky coach John Calipari injected into the process. If James says it’s all about winning, then asks for Calipari in his next breath, it would undermine his credibility.
Calipari did work as an assistant coach for the 76ers before taking the Memphis job, so maybe he’s better prepared now to be an NBA coach. But it doesn’t make sense for James to make that sort of demand.
It will be an interesting summer for the Bulls, no doubt.