Nets working to lure several big stars

Updated: June 28, 2010, 1:00 PM ET
By Marc Stein | ESPN.com

The New Jersey Nets are planning to meet face-to-face with two more marquee free agents after their trip Thursday to Northeast Ohio to make the first pitch to LeBron James.

Sources close to the situation told ESPN.com that the Nets have separate meetings tentatively scheduled Friday in New York City with Miami's Dwyane Wade and Toronto's Chris Bosh.

The Nets' contingent, sources said, will include new owner Mikhail Prokhorov, minority owner Jay-Z, new coach Avery Johnson and team president Rod Thorn. ESPN.com reported Friday that Thorn is planning to step down from that role July 15 but has pledged to stay with the Nets through the critical first two weeks of free agency.

Sources told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard that the New York Knicks are also going ahead with plans to meet with Wade and Bosh in New York after traveling Thursday to James' home state to meet with their top target.

Although there's an overwhelming expectation among interested teams that Wade will stay with the Heat, that hasn't stopped the Knicks and Nets from pursuing in-person meetings to try to convince the 2006 NBA Finals MVP otherwise.

It's believed that Bosh will also meet face-to-face with the Chicago Bulls soon after free agency officially commences at 12:01 a.m. Thursday, but it remains to be seen if Wade -- a Chicago native who was recently critical of the Bulls' organization -- intends to huddle with the Bulls.

Both Bosh and Wade are represented by the same agent: Chicago-based Henry Thomas.

New York, New Jersey and Chicago, like Wade's Heat, are all expected to have the requisite salary-cap space to sign at least one max-contract free agent and potentially two depending on where the salary cap for the 2010-11 season is officially set on July 7.

Teams, though, are not allowed to publicly discuss any specific recruiting plans for players that aren't their own until free agency starts and are technically not even allowed to arrange such meetings before July 1. But the league office has yet to respond to news reports throughout the weekend about the scheduling of various free-agent meetings.

Marc Stein is the senior NBA writer for ESPN.com.

Marc Stein | email

Senior Writer, ESPN.com
• Senior NBA writer for ESPN.com
• Began covering the NBA in 1993-94
• Also covered soccer, tennis and the Olympics

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