HoopsHype LeBron James rumors

July 16, 2014 Updates

The much-anticipated LeBron James homecoming is actually hitting home. James is due back in Akron and will be shooting a commercial for Beats headphones at his high school alma mater, St. Vincent-St. Mary, this week. Staffers started setting up for the shoot on Tuesday. FOXSports.com

Really? It was “the guy.” That’s it. LeBron — it reminds me of that Superman movie, the last one, when he comes down and sees Lois Lane, and he says, “I’m always around.” LeBron is part of Ohio, and part of Cleveland, and Akron. So when you’re thinking about anything, if there’s the slightest possibility that he would come back, then he’s always around. He’s in the collective thought process. Grantland

LeBron never really played the 4 [power forward] in Cleveland, but he played it a ton in Miami. Will you use him in that role, with just one traditional big man on the floor? I just came from the land of the stretch 4s. Stretch 4s became popular in the United States because of Europe. If anyone knows that style of play, it’s probably me. Yeah, you’ll see LeBron there. You’ll see LeBron all over the floor, just like he’s used to playing. I don’t have to change him. Grantland

Silver said on Tuesday that he was ''moved'' when he read James' essay that outlined the reasons for his return to Cleveland. ''I really was moved by it,'' Silver said after the NBA's Board of Governors meeting. ''I thought it says a lot about who he is, who he's become over the last four years. ''I think his statement about northeast Ohio, about hard work, about this being about something larger than basketball and the NBA, I've gotten to know LeBron pretty well over the years, and so I think from that standpoint, I'm really more like a fan. This seemed to be a great moment for the league.'' NBA.com

Miami Heat rookie Shabazz Napier disavowed any knowledge that his Twitter account unfollowed LeBron James and deleted a series of tweets following James' decision to join the Cleveland Cavaliers. "The whole thing about that is I don't know how to work Twitter yet and I'm not on my Twitter, so I don't know where that came from," Napier said following the Heat's 85-83 loss to the Washington Wizards at Las Vegas Summer League. ESPN.com

July 15, 2014 Updates

LeBron James took some time to go sightseeing in Brazil and did what thousands of tourists do every year: Took a selfie at the statue of Christ the Redeemer in Brazil. “By @beatsbydre “”Single greatest monument I’ve ever been around thus far in my life!” – @KingJames #StriveForGreatness #ChristTheRedeemer #RiodeJaneiro” he wrote in the caption on his Instagram. For The Win

The tipping point of all of this for James, sources said, was the recent sale of the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer for $2 billion. Hitting that number was jaw-dropping for the players, who took a bit of a beating in the most recent CBA, which was signed in 2011. James' agent, Rich Paul, and his lead attorney, Mark Termini, discussed this intensely before free agency even began. The decision was made to demand both a max contract -- no more discounts to squeeze in other stars -- and to sign short-term deals for the foreseeable future. Even if James had re-signed with the Heat or had chosen the Lakers, he would have taken a one-year deal with the player option, sources said, under any circumstances. ESPN.com

There are three main reasons James is going this route. First, it protects him from missing out on cashing in if and when the salary cap jumps in the coming years and provides for a matching jump in the maximum salary. Second, it opens the door for James to be in position to take advantage if the maximum salary is either abolished or vastly raised in 2017, when a new CBA can be negotiated. You can be assured that James will be heavily involved in those talks. He envisions getting a Michael Jordan-esque payday at the end of his career. Like when Jordan made $63 million over his final two years with the Chicago Bulls, James could put himself in position to get some huge back-end paydays to make up for how he feels he has been underpaid along the way. ESPN.com

Third, the short deals keep his team under pressure to continue spending on talent around him. With the chance to become a free agent every year, James will constantly have the ability to exert maximum influence around the team. ESPN.com

So he leaves the celebrated executive who lured him with his rings, the innovative coach who highlighted him with his system and the bedazzled supporting cast that reached four straight Finals and was a safe bet for a fifth. He trades all that, plus the mansion in Coconut Grove and the 70º January nights, for a rookie general manager, a coach who has been in the NBA for less than a month and a roster that has just one player of significance older than 23. He doesn’t take recruiting trips. He doesn’t personally listen to pitches. The only negotiation unfolds within. He makes the sentimental choice, not the pragmatic one, and that doesn’t happen much in pro sports these days. He risks championships, the ultimate currency for the megastar athlete, but he returns to the Rust Belt secure in the realization that a trophy resonates deeper at home. Sports Illustrated

Cleveland has not captured a title in a major sport since the Browns in 1964. The city has been plagued by economic turmoil. The population fell to its lowest point since 1900. Professionals of all vocations took their talents elsewhere. James made clear his homecoming is inspired by the region as much as the franchise. He is one native, perhaps the most gifted of all, reinvesting in the old neighborhood. On Saturday morning the Think Tank room at the LeBron James Family Foundation was jammed with children and their families. “What he did means everything,” says 11-year-old Aden Vargo. “It means you can succeed here.” Sports Illustrated

LeBron James' hometown is planning a big party for his homecoming. Akron city spokeswoman Stephanie York says details of the event are still in the works — but it will be big. York tells the Akron Beacon Journal (http://bit.ly/1nCyBRr ) that it will be "a city-wide community event where everyone can welcome him home." USA Today Sports

July 14, 2014 Updates

Landing LeBron James will mean hundreds of millions of dollars in economic benefit to Cleveland and Northeast Ohio, Cuyahoga County officials said. The return of the star forward to his hometown Cleveland Cavaliers will mean $500 million a year in additional ticket sales and spending, County Executive Ed FitzGerald said today. The 2016 Republican National Convention in the city will bring an additional one-time windfall of $200 million, he said. “While we already know that LeBron’s decision is a tremendous boost for our civic pride, it is also going to have very real benefits for the middle class families who live here in Cuyahoga County,” FitzGerald, a Democrat running for governor this year, said in a release. Akron Beacon Journal

July 13, 2014 Updates

In a guest column for TIME, Abdul-Jabbar writes that James can never return to the Cleveland he knew in 2010, as that city no longer exists. “Once we leave home and are battered about by our adventures in life, we become changed. And in our disillusioned minds our ‘home’ becomes a romanticized symbol of our innocence where we dreamed limitlessly and were loved unconditionally. But that home, too, has changed because of our absence. The residents are more wary. So it is with LeBron and Cleveland. For The Win

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