Source: Reinsdorf to join Bulls' trip

Updated: June 30, 2010, 6:54 PM ET
By Roman Modrowski | ESPNChicago.com

CHICAGO -- Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf and coach Tom Thibodeau will accompany general manager Gar Forman and executive vice president John Paxson on their recruiting trip of Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, according to a source familiar with the situation.

The NBA free-agent market opens at 12:01 a.m. ET on Thursday, and James is expected to host representatives from several teams in northeastern Ohio. The New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks are expected to meet with James on Thursday.

It's not certain when the Bulls contingent will travel to Ohio to meet with James.

"When July hits, there are so many scenarios and so many different things that can happen," Forman said recently on "Mike & Mike In The Morning" on ESPN Radio. "Our job as a front office has been to spend time preparing for all the different things that can happen, not unlike the draft. To prepare for the draft, you have a lot of options in front of you and you have to study all those options and sometimes make quick decisions, so you have to spend time beforehand and take a look at all those things and be ready for anything that comes about.

"You can't have any contact until July 1, so obviously on July 1 we're going to be very active. There are different paths you can take, but on July 1, we'll get a feel for the landscape, and then make decisions based off that."

There was some uncertainty whether Thibodeau, who accepted the Bulls' job on June 5 while he still was an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics, would join the recruiting party. The Bulls apparently believe their new coach, who's respected as one of the top defensive minds in the NBA, can make a strong impact.

Thibodeau, whose Celtics eliminated James' Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs, can discuss how he would fit James in with rising star Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah.

"We feel we have a bunch to sell, and it starts with the young nucleus of players we have, a world-class city, a brand known worldwide, the best fans in the NBA," Forman said recently. "And with this young core, we think there's a large window of opportunity to have success here in Chicago. "

James, the Toronto Raptors' Chris Bosh and the Miami Heat's Dwyane Wade headline the most star-studded free-agent pool in NBA history.

Roman Modrowski is a senior editor for ESPNChicago.com.

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