HoopsHype LeBron James rumors

July 15, 2014 Updates

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

July 12, 2014 Updates

With an eye toward maximizing the future of the salary cap, LeBron James finalized his contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday, sources familiar with the process told ESPN.com. James signed a two-year, $42.1 million deal with the goal of re-signing with the Cavs before the 2016-17 season when a new television deal is expected to create a large jump in value of the maximum contract. ESPN.com

Dwyane Wade: "As a friend and a teammate, I am sad to see my brother LeBron leave to begin a new journey. In 2010, we decided to come together all for one goal - to win championships and we succeeded. We were friends when we first joined the league and created an unbreakable bond the past four years. Our collaboration will always be very special to me both personally and professionally. We shared something unique and he will always be part of my family. LeBron made the right decision for himself and his family because home is where your heart is. I know this was not an easy decision to make and I support him in returning to his roots. As an organization, a community, and as individuals we achieved the goals we set when we first signed on together. We are champions." Hot Hot Hoops

The game was already going to be a spectacle, with No. 1 pick Andrew Wiggins going against the Bucks’ No. 2 pick Jabari Parker, and 2013 top pick Anthony Bennett returning to UNLV’s campus to make his Summer League debut after an injury held him out last year. Then another former No. 1 pick made a decision that changes the NBA’s entire power structure. “I didn’t really believe it at first, but then I checked my phone and it was blowing up,” Bennett said. “Everybody was saying you’re going to be playing with the King now.” Las Vegas Sun

The game even did its best to live up to the hype, with Wiggins and Parker leading their teams with 18 and 17 points, respectively, in Cleveland’s 70-68 victory. Bennett finished right behind Wiggins with 15 points on 6-of-16 shooting and seven rebounds with eight fouls. Conditioning was a big issue in Bennett’s disastrous rookie season. That’s been a focus for him this offseason, and he appears slimmed down from his last game as a Rebel. “It was a learning experience for me,” Bennett said of his first pro season. “I learned I’ve got to put in a lot more hard work, take care of my body and come prepared.” Las Vegas Sun

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