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July 28, 2014 Updates

Shortly after 1 p.m., James got the message out on social media (he also tweeted it) that he has chosen to wear No. 23 next season and, within minutes, Adidas officials confirmed they were setting up all 20 printing machines at the company's Indianapolis licensing unit to crank out James replica jerseys and T-shirts bearing the player's name and number. Local Adidas officials had prepared for James to pick either No. 6, which he wore in Miami; No. 23, which he had worn when he was first drafted by Cleveland; or No. 32, since there was talk that James would wear that in tribute to Magic Johnson. On Sunday, local Adidas workers quickly put their plan into place to print items with the No. 23. Indianapolis Business Journal

The presses in Indianapolis were running off James gear by 6 p.m. Normally, this time of year, the Indianapolis Adidas plant would be printing about six different runs, including general NBA merchandise, college football and Major League Soccer items. In addition to those things, local plant officials said items for two international soccer teams—Argentina and Germany—and World Cup soccer items had to be set aside to focus on James shirts and jerseys. Indianapolis Business Journal

This week marked the first time the entire Indianapolis plant was dedicated to making items of a single player since Brett Favre joined the Minnesota Vikings in 2009. “Normally, when we dedicate our presses to one thing, it’s an event like the Stanley Cup or World Cup,” said Blake Lundberg, who oversees operations at Adidas’ facility off Post Road. Indianapolis Business Journal

Michael Jordan has no problem with LeBron James returning to No. 23 in his second stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers. "I'm cool with it,'' Jordan told ESPN.com via text message Monday morning. "I don't own a number.'' Jordan, who now owns the Charlotte Hornets, wore No. 23 during his legendary playing career. James idolized Jordan growing up and wore No. 23 during his first seven seasons with the Cavaliers. But after leaving Cleveland and joining the Miami Heat four years ago, James switched to No. 6, saying it was as a tribute to Jordan. He announced he would change numbers in November of 2009, his last season in Cleveland. ESPN.com

Sources say that the Wolves, at present, are still higher on a Cleveland trade package centered on Wiggins than any other offer on the table for Love. Sources say that the Cavaliers, meanwhile, are increasingly confident about their chances of landing Love and firmly believe they are progressing toward a trade framework that the Timberwolves will accept in exchange for the All-Star power forward, which would enable Cleveland to pair him with Olympic teammate James. ESPN.com

ESPN.com reported earlier this month that James' short-term contract with the Cavs, which includes a player option to return to free agency next summer and spans only two seasons, would not dissuade Love from giving Cleveland such a commitment. James' arrival, sources said, immediately put the Cavaliers at the same level as Chicago and Golden State on Love's wish list. ESPN.com

LeBron James is coming back, not only to Cleveland but back into the public's favor. According to a poll taken this month by California-based E-Poll, Americans like James more than they ever have since he made the "Decision" to leave the Cavaliers for the Miami Heat four years ago. The company takes the opinions of 1,100 people, ages 13 and up that reflect a representative sampling of the U.S. population, in a poll and uses that data to give the more than 8,000 celebrities in its database an E-Score ranging from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most known, liked and appealing. This month, James scored an 80, up from 67 just a year before. In June 2010, James had an E-Score of 84, but after "The Decision" that number fell to 47. ESPN.com

Whether the winning asset is Andrew Wiggins, who will earn $5.5 million next season, or Doug McDermott, whose first-year salary will fall somewhere in the $2 million range, the 30-day moratorium on both contracts must first be honored. And the rest of the league, at this stage, has been suitably puzzled. “Perhaps the dollar amounts have something to do with it — that’s all I can think,” said one league official. “It sounds like Cleveland has the edge here, but I don’t think anyone really even knows right now.” Boston Herald

That man happens to be LeBron James, who recently returned back to the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Northeast Ohio Media Group, which owns the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Cleveland.com, and a few smaller Ohio newspapers, is advertising for a sports reporter on the "LeBron James beat." From the advertisement: Bring your sports, news and investigative reporting experience to one of the most challenging reporting jobs in the country, covering the sports performance, business dealings and community leadership of basketball star LeBron James. You'll cover all aspects of his roles in Northeast Ohio and nationally as he returns to the Cleveland Cavaliers, writing, creating videos, and posting across multiple platforms including all relevant types of social media. You'll also participate in broadcasts where you discuss James, working closely with reporters assigned to cover the Cavaliers and the NBA. Sports Illustrated

July 27, 2014 Updates

By the time the Kevin Love deal is finalized — and by now Minnesota has no option but to get assets back — it will be on the doorstep of autumn. Whether the winning asset is Andrew Wiggins, who will earn $5.5 million next season, or Doug McDermott, whose first-year salary will fall somewhere in the $2 million range, the 30-day moratorium on both contracts must first be honored. And the rest of the league, at this stage, has been suitably puzzled. “Perhaps the dollar amounts have something to do with it — that’s all I can think,” said one league official. “It sounds like Cleveland has the edge here, but I don’t think anyone really even knows right now.” Boston Herald

If the Timberwolves are still hoping they can persuade Kevin Love not to opt out of his contract after next season, they can give up hope. The all-star forward is adamant about leaving, either by forcing a trade or on his own. For a variety of reasons, there is no chance he will change his mind. Had the Wolves, however, given Love a maximum five-year contract instead of four years in 2012, he would not have wanted out of Minnesota. Love's preference, by the way, is to play with LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavs. Meanwhile, Love, who turns 26 in September, has been working out incessantly in Los Angeles. St. Paul Pioneer Press

Rumor has it that the NBA’s season-opening game on TNT will be San Antonio at Cleveland, the first home game for LeBron James in his return to Cleveland and the first game for the defending NBA champion Spurs. The NBA schedule is expected to be released next month Boston Globe

July 26, 2014 Updates

Speaking to reporters at Chicago's Dwyane Wade and Brandon Marshall Sports Academy, per Brandon Di Perno and Surya Fernandez of SB Nation, via Stephen Ronkowski of Windy City Gridiron, Wade was asked who his favorite opponent is to play against: "Well, it used to be Kobe Bryant...the second best all time...now, I have a new favorite player to play against...my former teammate, LeBron James." Bleacher Report

For now, Minnesota will not trade Love to the Cavs unless Wiggins is part of the package. I keep hearing that over and over from several places. I also hear that the Cavs love Wiggins, but also know the best chance for a title is in the next few years. Love is a far better bet to win now. Cleveland Plain Dealer

THE TOP 50 PLAYERS IN CAVALIERS HISTORY

It will be very hard to surpass the No. 1 player on the list – especially now that he's back..

   

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