SACRAMENTO, CA - DECEMBER 23: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers celebrates against the Sacramento Kings during an NBA game at ARCO Arena on December 23, 2009 in Sacramento, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** LeBron James
The LeBron James saga already feels like a missed opportunity for one group of people. We're talking about reality television producers, of course.
How could the people who brought us shows like "The Bachelor" and "Rock of Love" not put together a big enough package to have a nightly show this week in which LeBron sends one suitor packing until finally revealing his team of choice in a lavish prime time special?
Something to file away for next time because the James chase is in full fervor without a camera in sight. That means we will never know what was in a mystery gift dropped off by a man in a limo at the stroke of 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning. Could it have been a pizza? Was it deep dish, New York style or whatever they eat in Miami? We need to know these things, we need to know who loves LeBron the most!
We'd like to know that because we don't know much else. We know that the Nets were the first team to offer their pitch to LeBron, presumably it included rides on Mikhail Prokhorov's jet ski, private jet and personal space shuttle. According to Darren Rovell of CNBC, Jay-Z will also back him on a clothing line which seems kind of quaint given all of the riches being dumped at King James's feet.
The Knicks will follow. James Dolan can't offer the same kind of international man of mystery appeal as Prokhorov but he can offer free cable. Who wouldn't want free cable? They'll also be offering LeBron the chance to put together a team of his own design in the nation's biggest city under the eyes of a fan base that couldn't be more desperate to cheer for something. That's a blessing and a curse. Winning wouldn't feel better anywhere else, save Cleveland perhaps, but not winning won't be greeted as an epic failure anywhere but New York either.
Word is that LeBron will end the suspense on Monday, hopefully at a press conference with a bunch of team hats in front of him and several pump fakes before putting on the one of the winning bid. Thankfully that means we won't have to lose too much more time wondering about what happens next and, should the Knicks lose out, it will hopefully be early enough to cobble together an alternate plan.
Such a plan might not be able to include Joe Johnson for much longer. Reports out of Atlanta have the Hawks offering him the maximum amount allowed -- $119 million over six years -- with Johnson leaning toward taking it. It's hard to find anyone who thinks Johnson is worth that much, rumor has it even the Hawks owners don't but they plan to sell the team and won't have to deal with the ugly end of the deal, but the Knicks will need to do something if they can't convince the King on giving them what they really want.
That's where things stand 10 hours into the free agency that will change everything, just not all at once.