In case you missed it, Newsday reported in today's editions that William "Worldwide Wes" Wesley and others closely connected to Kentucky coach John Calipari are surreptitiously pushing Calipari for openings with the Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets, and promoting the idea that LeBron James will hitch his wagon wherever Cal goes.
The story was also reported by the Chicago Tribune. Both Newsday and the Tribune had sources that said a Calipari intermediary had already contacted the Bulls over the weekend.
ESPN.com followed up with a report that cited a source with knowledge of the Bulls front office plans saying the team was not discussing Calipari as an option. That doesn't mean they haven't been in touch, but the Bulls, who are still searching for a coach, believe they have enough talent to attract James as a free agent without having to get involved in some side deal with a hand-picked coach.
In fact, as the Tribune reported, there is reason to think the Bulls shouldn't really target James, as crazy as that is to say about a two-time MVP. But with Derrick Rose, a ball-dominant point guard, it may not make sense to pair him with another ball-dominant player who is more of a facilitator, too, rather than a scorer. It would make more sense from a chemistry perspective to keep the ball in Rose's hands -- the kid is a stud -- and use your cap space to sign Joe Johnson (he's so out of Atlanta, Fixers) and let him play off the ball.
One thing Joe proved in Atlanta is he's not someone who can carry a team, but he's still a hell of a scorer. Ask any NBA player and they'll tell you (talent recognizes talent), Johnson is a superstar talent. He's just not a superstar personality. And that's fine. With Rose, that's a heck of a tandem. And you have tough, smart Kirk Hinrich as the third guard, Luol Deng, Taj Gibson and Joakim Noah. Solid group right there. Good enough to win a championship? Not while Dwight Howard is still in Orlando. But that could be said about every team in the East without legit size and fouls to give (read: Celtics).
Moreover, Johnson is repped by Arn Tellem, who also reps Derrick Rose, who disappointed his friend, William Wesley, when Rose decided to sign with Tellem rather than Wesley's guy, Leon Rose. If you're Arn Tellem, you want to protect your assets. Getting Derrick Rose too close to Wes and LeBron could mean Derrick Rose may eventually sign with Leon Rose. Remember, LeBron James started out with the Goodwin brothers before he switched to Leon Rose.
It's business. We're not calling anyone of the principles involved dirty (OK, Cal sitting courtside at Mike Brown's funeral in Game 5 was creepy). I think there is good reason for all of this sweat: LeBron isn't just about landing a great player, it is about acquiring a company, a brand and, in many cases, dominating an industry. This is BIG business. That's why it's so important to everyone. Including the Knicks.
And if the Bulls are deciding to pass on Calipari, then I am feeling much more confident that New York could be LeBron's destination. However . . . that doesn't mean the Knicks.
Mikhail Prokhorov's plans are a mystery to everyone and his financial might and determination to do something big with his new team should be a very serious threat to the Knicks.
But the Knicks aren't about to fire Mike D'Antoni and give in to the Calipari Campaign pressure, nor should they.
However, after a long and arduous two year effort to get to this point, they have to make sure nothing -- and no one -- spoils the plan before we even get to July 1.