Sources: LeBron decision Thursday
LeBron James is planning to announce the team with which he will sign during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night, ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard has learned through independent sources.
ESPN would only confirm that active discussions for the special are ongoing. But sources tell Broussard that representatives for James contacted the network, proposing that James makes his announcement during a 9 p.m. ET special.
Those sources said that James' representatives requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with the proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and that ESPN agreed to the proposal but had not been told what James has decided.
Adande: LeBron's TV Special
It only makes sense that LeBron James would create a show to tell his choice, that he would drag teams and fans along until the camera's red light comes on, writes ESPN.com's J.A. Adande. Daily Dime
The NBA's most prized free agent opened a Twitter account on Tuesday and posted his first message on the social networking site. While he provided no information about his future plans, at least he offered something as the NBA awaits the decision on where he'll play next.
"Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building," said the tweet on the kingjames feed, which by 9 p.m. ET had more than 167,000 followers.
James' publicist, Keith Estabrook, confirmed the superstar's entrance to Twitter, a place where fellow prized free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh often post details about their public lives off the floor.
James' plans still are a closely guarded secret. He visited with six teams -- the New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers, Cleveland Cavaliers and Chicago Bulls -- last week at his business offices in downtown Cleveland.
Early Wednesday, it appeared that if James were to play next season with Wade and Bosh, he'd do it in Miami: Bosh has decided to join Wade with the Heat, a source with knowledge of the situation told Broussard. An announcement was expected later in the day.
ESPN's Shelley Smith also reported that Bosh would join Wade in Miami.
It was not immediately clear whether Bosh would sign with Miami outright or join the Heat through a sign-and-trade deal. Bosh could earn $125 million over six years via sign-and-trade, but only $96 million over five without it.
If Bosh joins a team without doing a sign-and-trade, he will be able to sign only a five-year deal worth $96 million. He is determined not to leave that $29 million on the table, sources told Broussard.
"Either way, he's definitely going to Miami," the source said.
There had been various reports that the Toronto Raptors were working on a sign-and-trade deal with Cleveland for Bosh, and that James tried to convince him to join the Cavaliers. Both James and Bosh were aware that such a trade was possible, and James tried to recruit Bosh to the Cavaliers several times in the past few weeks, sources told Broussard.
But Bosh wanted to play with James in Cleveland, Chicago or Miami, and told the Raptors he'd accept sign-and-trades to those cities, sources told Broussard.
Unsure of James' decision, the Nets have a Plan B in case he rejects their offer.
The agent for Knicks forward David Lee says the Nets have talked to him several times since free agency began on Thursday.
An official within the league who is very close to the Nets' management team said the team would also consider going after Utah Jazz forward Carlos Boozer if James rejected the offer that was presented by new owner Mikhail Prokhorov and a team that included hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.
Nets president and general manager Rod Thorn said in a text message on Tuesday that there was nothing to report on the free-agency front.
Asked about the Nets' options if The King nixes their overtures, Thorn wrote:
"We will look at other options if we don't get one of the top guys."
While James is the star attraction in this summer's stacked class of free agents, other players have either stayed home or found a new one. On Monday, Amare Stoudemire agreed to a five-year deal with the Knicks and said he would continue to recruit James to join him.
Information from ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard and The Associated Press was used in this report.