The good news is, Maverick Carter just confirmed to ESPN's Chris Broussard that LeBron James will opt-out of his contract to explore free agency, which means the Cavaliers just lost $17.1M in leverage.
The bad news? Carter also said LeBron won't be going on any recruiting visits. No, the plan is to have teams come to him.
UPDATED (8:01 p.m.): Multiple sources confirmed that the Knicks were informed. One NBA source not related to the Knicks said Leon Rose called teams to put the word out and that James wants teams to meet him elsewhere.
This absolutely makes sense. James avoids the unwanted frenzy of visits to each city, avoids disrespecting one city over the other by choosing which to visit first and, perhaps more importantly, avoids the paparazzi-like coverage his visits would be sure to draw.
From a Knicks perspective, this isn't entirely a defeat. Sure, they were hoping to blow him and his meddlesome crew away with an elaborate show, loaded with celebrities and high rollers. But let's face it, LeBron knows New York City. He knows the Garden. He knows about the great restaurants and the money that is here.
What he wants to know about is what the Knicks have to offer him on the hardwood. The good news is that the Knicks already had this in mind and planned to show LeBron exactly what the D'Antoni offense could do for him as a player and how they planned to build around him with the rest of the money they have under the cap. They planned to show how Danilo Gallinari is an underrated talent with all-star potential.
Let's see if Donnie Walsh can close the deal.
By the way, for all of you Fixers who have been killing Chris Broussard, I think it's pretty obvious that CB is well connected to LeBron's group. And Broussard has consistently reported that if James leaves Cleveland, the Bulls are his most likely destination. If that's the case, as I wrote in today's Newsday, the Knicks really need to switch gears and put their energy into getting Chris Bosh and building from there.