BOSTON - MAY 07: LeBron James #23 takes a breather against the Boston Celtics in Game Three of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs at TD Banknorth Garden on May 7, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. 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 Jim Rogash/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** LeBron James
With less than 24 hours to go before LeBron James deigns to tell us where he'll be playing basketball next season and, predictably, things are going just a bit crazy.
One of the triggers for the nuttiness is likely the leaked bit of information about the location of the big announcement. It's reportedly going to be in Greenwich, much closer to the Knicks than any of the other teams competing for James' services. There is even a rumor floating around that the announcement show will be filmed at Allan Houston's house.
If that turns out to be true, and we highly doubt that it will, you'd have to think the Knicks are the choice. If not -- the Boys and Girls Club, the charity that will get the proceeds from LeBron's spin on "The Bachelor," is also mentioned as a host -- then it doesn't seem like you can read much into it. What better way to amp up suspense and eyeballs then to hold the announcement in the backyard of one of the teams? Hold it in Akron and the decision is obvious. In Greenwich, anything can happen.
This plays into the whole question of why James is having a TV special in the first place. Does he really need all the festivities to simply say he's staying in Cleveland? That indicates he's going but would it really be a wise PR move to announce you're destroying the hopes and dreams of a city in a lavish monument to yourself?
Traders on Wall Street seem convinced that James is coming to New York. MSG stock traded up all day, it was up nearly seven percent at the close, with volume more than eight times the normal. Hopefully your retirement plan is more diverse than simply betting on where NBA stars choose to sign as free agents but it's certainly a sign that something is in the air.
Other signs from the ether: Jon Rothstein of ESPN Radio is reporting that he spoke to a Bulls official who is convinced that James will be a Knick (Blago's last-minute stumping from the Illinois courthouse where he's being charged with corruption notwithstanding). Suns forward Jared Dudley tweeted that the Knicks have won James's signature on a new contract, although, as a basketball player, he doesn't have much history when it comes to breaking news. He did play with Amare Stoudemire last year, however. Nor does Chad Ochocinco, but he's got the same information to pass along. Chris Broussard of ESPN, however, has been breaking big stories all week and reports that the Knicks have been making up ground rapidly in the race for his services.
Another traditional reporter, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, has used his Twitter account to go through something akin to the five stages of grief. Windhorst has covered James since high school and has parlayed his spot as Cavs beat writer into national attention as a man close to LeBron. His tweets have spoken of how LeBron is changing, how members of his inner circle are being kept in the dark and, generally, read like the words of a man who might have gotten a little to close to his subject and is now getting burned.
What does it all mean? It all means James is a marketing genius whose show might wind up being the highest rated hour of television ever produced and it seems to all indicate that the Knicks have a chance to walk away with the guy they've coveted so desperately for so long. Beyond that, it's still anybody's guess unless they're named LeBron James.