HoopsHype LeBron James rumors

July 17, 2014 Updates

LeBron James has overtaken Michael Jordan as the United States' most popular athlete, according to a Harris poll. Almost from the moment James exploded onto the NBA scene as the number one overall pick in the 2003 draft a debate has raged over who was the better of the two basketball superstars. Jordan had held the top honor from 1993-2005 and again in 2013 before being supplanted this year by James, who was ranked number two in 2013. Sydney Morning Herald

Mike Miller told ESPN Radio on Thursday that he's trying to recruit Ray Allen to sign with the Cavaliers, pointing to the veteran as the kind of player that will help LeBron James and his new team in key spots in the playoffs. Miller, who agreed to join his good friend James and sign with the Cavs earlier this week, responded "of course," when asked on "The Herd" if he was pitching the Cavs to Allen. ESPN.com

Does LeBron returning to Cleveland evoke any nostalgia for you? Delonte West: You know, Cleveland is still home for me. Cleveland is one of those cities. It's blue-collar, it's been through so much, and I can relate to all that. Anytime I been anywhere in the world, I ain't been to too many places, tell 'em I go through Cleveland. Clevelanders, you know, they just good people, man. And they deserve some greatness. And LeBron knows that and he's doing the right thing. It's great, man. It's great. ESPN.com

July 16, 2014 Updates

A City of Akron spokeswoman told the Associated Press that the city is working with the LeBron James Family Foundation to plan "a city-wide community event where everyone can welcome him home," but the details are still being worked out. Akron City Council President Garry Moneypenny announced the event during Monday's council meeting, just before members passed a resolution thanking James for deciding to come home. FOXSports.com

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

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