Remember that “free agent summit” that everybody was wigging out about but then supposedly wasn’t going to happen after all?
Well, it happened. Sort of.
According to ESPN’s Chris Broussard and Marc Stein: “A modified version of the ballyhooed free-agent summit that was initially suggested and then downplayed by Dwyane Wade has indeed taken place, ESPN.com has learned. Sources close to the situation said Monday night that three of the biggest names in basketball — Wade, Chris Bosh and LeBron James — met over the weekend in Miami to seriously discuss their futures, with a focus on the increasingly plausible possibility of those three teaming up with Wade’s Heat.”
But wait. It gets worse.
The report continues: “Earlier Monday, Fox Sports Radio’s Stephen A. Smith reported on his morning radio show and via his Twitter feed that James and Bosh have committed to joining Wade in Miami.”
But wait. Again. There’s more.
According to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel: “A source close to Wade said the Heat guard believes his team is poised to pull off a free-agency coup of landing himself, James and Bosh.”
Of course, Winderman also wrote: “However that same source, as well as a party inside the league, told the Sun Sentinel that Wade also plans to cover himself during the initial days of the free-agency negotiating period by scheduling interviews with the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, and, in somewhat of a surprise, the Dallas Mavericks.”
Really, Dwyane? I thought the Bulls weren’t loyal enough for you.
According to Mike McGraw of the Daily Herald: “This might be news to the Bulls. A source familiar with the situation does not think the Bulls have plans to meet with Wade. When the plan was hatched to create cap space for the summer of 2010, the Bulls thought they had a reasonable chance to sign Wade. Now they might see the pursuit as a waste of time, though things could always change if Wade waves the olive branch.”
Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports is reporting tension in LeBron’s camp of advisors and insiders: “To team executives in the chase and those familiar with the dynamics of James’ inner circle, World Wide Wes’ agenda is clear: Get LeBron out of Cleveland and push himself into a prominent place of power. To be considered the architect of the sports grandest transaction, World Wide Wes needs James out of the clutches of the Cavaliers. … This is the push and pull on the inside of Team LeBron, sources say — agendas colliding in self-interest as the start of free agency creeps closer on Thursday. In the end, James is too strong to let someone else make a decision for him, but there remains strong influences deeply immersed in this process with him.
“If LeBron leaves, Wes is going to get carte blanche wherever he signs,” one source said. “He’s going to have the run of the place, and he doesn’t have that in Cleveland. He has access there, but Maverick Carter is the guy with the keys there. … [Carter’s] much more influential, and would always be in Cleveland.”
Ugh. What does it all mean?
I have no idea. Nobody — other than the players — has any idea. Heck, the players may not have any idea at this point. The rumors have reached Chaos Dunk levels. Seriously, I think the next rumor might rip a hole in reality or cause the sun to collapse. That’s the point we’re getting to. Or maybe we’re there already.
The bummer for Bulls fans is that expectations have reached crazy proportions. Before, many people were merely hoping to add an All-Star…a Wade or a Bosh. Then LeBron seemed attainable. Then the Bulls made a deal to trade Kirk Hinrich to the Wizards and suddenly it was LeBron and Bosh.
What if after all these wild hopes and dreams the Bulls ended up with, say, Carlos Boozer and Joe Johnson? Or only Boozer or Johnson? Or…nobody. That would be a pretty big downer.
Sword of Damocles anyone?
Of course, all these rumors miss the point that the Heat don’t have the money necessary to give Wade, LeBron and Bosh max deals. In fact, unless they move Luol Deng or James Johnson, the Bulls couldn’t sign LeBron and Bosh to the max either. All of which means — whether they decided to go to Miami or come to Chicago — these megastars would have to take less than they (and many other people) think they’re worth.
All we can do is wait and keep watching.