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Suddenly everybody thinks LeBron is headed to Chicago. Everybody.

May 14, 2010, 8:38 AM EDT

LeBron_solo.jpgJust two weeks ago, all the smart money was on LeBron James staying in Cleveland. He wasn’t going to leave his home, he wasn’t leaving a team on its way to a title.

Now those title hopes have been crushed and everybody seems to think he’s going to Chicago.

That includes three NBA general managers who contacted ESPN’s Chad Ford after Boston finished knocking off the Cavaliers. All three told Ford their information indicates he is gone and headed to the Windy City.

One GM went a bit further in a phone call a few minutes later. “I think the Bulls are really going to go for it. Look for them to offer the Cavs Luol Deng in a sign-and-trade for LeBron. That will allow them to retain most of their cap space. Then they’ll go after Dwyane Wade or Chris Bosh as well.”

Then there is Sonny Vaccaro. Back when LeBron was still a high school phenom, Vaccaro was there and he still calls LeBron a friend. This is one of the most connected men in basketball. He was the king of the shoe deal. For a younger generation, think of Vaccaro as an olden-days William Wesley, with his hands in seemingly everything. Save that Vaccro did not shy away from publicity.

Vaccaro told ESPN Chicago the same thing those three GMs were thinking.

“If he chooses to leave, and I believe he will, he has the pick of the litter of where he can go,” said Vaccarro, who touted the Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers as having top, young talent. “In my opinion, the Bulls are the perfect fit.”

He also buys into the John Calipari rumors, as did one of the general managers, saying he could be the new Bulls coach.

If — and that still remains a huge if — LeBron leaves it will be via a sign and trade, Cleveland needs to get something back.

And Chicago would make a lot of sense. This is a team that could win immediately — they have a legitimate All-Star second option in Derrick Rose, some grit along the front line in Joakim Noah, solid role players like Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson, and the cap space to get more guys. There are the little questions like who is the coach, and does LeBron want to have to play in the shadow of the legend of Michael Jordan.

But it seems to be a serious consideration now. Everybody thinks James is on the move.

And to think a few weeks ago you could have gotten 40-1 odds on the 

170 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. Dieszel_D - May 14, 2010 at 2:50 PM

    I think Lebron will be in NYC with the Knicks getting the number # 1 pick grabbing John Wall. Then lebron would have a solid big man like Lee and they can also go after Bosh or Stoudmaire. For some flair, get Tony Parker if they can’t get the #1 for JWall.

  2. madmike721 - May 14, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    I just saw lebron, he was singing…he said” Start spreading the news, I’m leaving today, I’ll make a brand new start of it in New York, New York!,These little town blues, they have all melted away, lol…

  3. Clevelands lame! - May 14, 2010 at 3:09 PM

    Yes, why shouldn’t he play for the bulls?? Cleveland is so boring and dead, that’s probably he didn’t have much initiative against the Celtics. Moving to Chicago will make him a better player because at least there he’ll be able to party, chill and get his spirits up.

  4. Mike - May 14, 2010 at 3:10 PM

    poor Chicago, they have enough problems, the city doesn’t need the sports worlds poorest sport.

  5. Craig - May 14, 2010 at 3:12 PM

    Just curious why nobody thinks he could wind up in Miami with Wade, and Bosh? The Heat do have the most cap room in free agency and Riley loves to make a big splash. Wade has made it clear that with the right team, he wants to stay in Miami. Also I love how people think Lebron would be in better situation with Rose, Noah, Heinrich, Deng, etc. I don’t think that is a championship winning team by any imagination. I wish the speculating would end and then again I wish the NBA would cease to exist. Its a superstar league and the same teams everyone expected to be around are. By the way just because the Suns are winning does not mean Stoudamire is staying. Its laughable that people pick up each rumor and run with it.

  6. commishali - May 14, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    If LeBron wants to be known as the greatest to ever play the game, then he has to do it in Chicago where MJ managed to establish hist legacy. The possibility to win championships is greater in Chicago than anywhere else.
    Now imagine if Chicago can bring Phil Jackson back to coach LeBron, Rose, and Noah. The Triangle Offense returns to bring the Bulls another 6 Championships (or more). Or better yet, imagine if Chicago signs LeBron and the 2011 NBA Finals are Bulls vs. Lakers (LeBron vs. Kobe, Reinsdorf vs. Buss, Phil Jackson vs. ?).

  7. Gary - May 14, 2010 at 3:27 PM

    Bron wants to win championships. That means not only having the right five starters, but a quality bench as well. Gibson was good at times, bad at times. Still learning. Heinrich injury prone and might have seen his best years. And Chicago doesn’t even have a coach. Calipari tweeted he is staying in Kentucky. Doubt he is one and done. Also, who was the last college coach that had a successful NBA coaching career? Not many come to mind. LeBrons in Cleveland or maybe Chicago, but no where else. Knicks are rebuilding project and at least 4-5 years away. Same for Nets.

  8. Dutchboy - May 14, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    The last thing the Bulls need is James. He and the rest of the Cavs just quit last night. He is not mentally tough. His entourage would be a huge distraction. He’s not a fit.

  9. Dutchboy - May 14, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    The last thing the Bulls need is James. He and the rest of the Cavs just quit last night. He is not mentally tough. His entourage would be a huge distraction. He’s not a fit.

  10. Alvin - May 14, 2010 at 3:34 PM

    Why would the Cavs agree to sign/trade to Chicago? Cleveland fans would see LeBron at least twice a year. They would go nuts on Gilbert. It has to be the West Coast. Blazers, Mavs, Clippers or Rockets make the most sense.

  11. Da Bulls - May 14, 2010 at 3:47 PM

    “Suddenly”? Helin must mean “everybody” outside of Chicago because we’ve been thinking that for quite a while now.

  12. banner18 - May 14, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    I just don’t think LeBron is going anywhere. Not once has he even showed the slightest animosity towards the Cavs or the city of Cleveland. And he has to understand that to leave his hometown now would be tantamount to what Art Modell did with the Browns. I really think he does.
    LeBron doesn’t seem like the type who can easily fit into the role of “bad guy,” which is what he would be if he left. It wouldn’t just be Cleveland who turned against him, either. Everyone except the fans of which ever team signed him would as well because he would be the guy who turned his back on the city that embraced him as their own. I just don’t think LBJ wants that.
    If the Cavs make the necessary changes (get rid of Mike Brown, put JJ Hickson at center, etc.), the Cavs could win multiple championships with LeBron at the helm.
    Sure, this LBJ/Bosh thing in Chicago is interesting, but remember that two max guys equals more than half of your salary cap (role players are needed), and Jerry Reinsdorf is a well known cheapskate. Also, what happens when it’s time for Derrick Rose’s max deal?
    And as for the Knicks, why on Earth would he want to play for them? Michael Jordan used to hate teams that tanked for these purposes; remember when the Bulls tried to force MJ to sit out the rest of the 1986 season after his broken foot so the Bulls could get a high lotto pick? If LeBron really wants to be MJ, he would not give his tacit approval to this tanking strategy by going to the Knicks. And Jay Z could promise him nights with Beyonce and he wouldn’t go to New Jersey/Brooklyn.
    I’m just not buying all this crazy speculation, especially seeing as this is what the media wants. There are obvious agendas here, and LeBron has probably been having a grand old time watching them wet themselves at every little thing, while intending to re-sign with the Cavs all along. He stays.

  13. Craig - May 14, 2010 at 3:58 PM

    I want some of the stuff you all are smoking. Dan Gilbert has done everything asked of an owner, and if you think for one second that he is going to let James just stroll out the door…it ain’t going to happen. Its not about he money cause the Cavs can match any offer that is presented to him, so it would have to come down to location. The Man is from Akron, Not Anaheim Ca….not Addison Ill….and definitely he’s not from St Albans N.Y. I think all of you wishes ….should just stop wishing and get a dose of reality ..LBJ is not leaving his home

  14. Brian - May 14, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    He could always have 45. ;-)

  15. Brian - May 14, 2010 at 4:14 PM

    He could always have 45. ;-)

  16. B. L. - May 14, 2010 at 4:21 PM

    LBJ would be a great sixth man for the Celts! Hahaha…

  17. esteban - May 14, 2010 at 4:49 PM

    He’s already put in his request at mid-season to change his number to 6.

  18. Anonymous - May 14, 2010 at 5:06 PM

    Ha ha Craig, your funny,
    I spent my childhood in St.Albans southside Jamaica Queens, NYC, so I like the reference and shout out. hey I been to Chicago on business,and it is a great and fun town, closet thing in America to A #1 NYC, but with all the great peoploe I met there who know how to party and have a good time, you know it ain’t King of the Hill. Imagine when they show lebron his new apt on central park west,and when dolan offers him his own show on his cable empire, what will happen? imagine when nike ups the ante, and upgrades his contract by another 100 million, because of all the merchandise that will be sold to 20 million starving for championship in basketball, plus millions more in the suburbs where I now reside, etc. Nobody cares about Jordan’s Chicago legacy, if lebron wins one, just one here, he will be bigger than Derek Jeter, Joe Namath,dimaggio, mantle, ruth,etc..he will be GIANT and Goat! If he wins 3 in NYC, FURGHETABOUDITT! Nobody cares about pathetic Cleveland, I know plenty of cleveland transplants, and they say it totally sucks there there is NOTHING! Bron you only get one shot listen to KG and get out while the gettin is good , you don’t owe Cleveland nada, you’ve done way more for them then they’ve done for you!

  19. keegan - May 14, 2010 at 5:09 PM

    I don’t think that matters. he said earlier in the year he wanted the number 23 retired throughout the league because of Jordan.

  20. Tornadoes28 - May 14, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    He should go to the Clippers.

  21. Steve The Great - May 14, 2010 at 7:13 PM

    If LeBron wants a ring, Chicago is not the place to go. Give up the money and sign with the Lakers–win 4 rings in 4 years…..I can’t figure out why he stayed in Cleveland this long.

  22. Hung Tu Long - May 14, 2010 at 7:21 PM

    LBJ go to SHANGHIA ! SELL SHOES, ONE BILLION. MAKE $$ONE BILLION DOLLARS, HAVE CONCUBINE(4 WIFES)MAKE 10 BABIES BUT HAVE NO ALIMONEY. NO NEED STRIP CLUB LIKE PACMAN.LBJ MAKE SO MUCH $$ HE BUY HONG KONG. HE EAT MANDARIN, SHENZHEN, HUNAN AND CANTONESE FOOD. PORK RIBS NUMBER ONE ! HE TELL STERN, YOU LITTLE FAT MAN, NO GOOD,NBA OWNERS NO GOOD, SCREW LOCKOUT, I BUY CLUB AND SHOOT 30 SHOTS LIKE MJ EVERY GAME.I PLAY KOBE’S MILAN CLUB AND KICK HIS ASS… TO BE CONTINUED.

  23. Sparklemahn - May 14, 2010 at 7:32 PM

    How can any club afford to sign both LeBron James and Dwayne Wade, especially with a salary cap? Yet if those two play together, it would be comparable to Jordan and Pippen, fer sure. The only question would be how many championships could they win, together.

  24. BOliver - May 14, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    Question, question… Who is “everybody”?

  25. Jon - May 14, 2010 at 8:12 PM

    Phil Jackson stated after Lakers won game two against Jazz that he’s 90% sure he’ll be back in L.A. next season. He was asked about the opening in Chicago. He said “No, I’m not, I think it’s a wonderful job for whoever takes it.” So not going to happen.

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