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Tampering of a different kind: LeBron, Wade and Johnson to discuss plans together

May 27, 2010, 9:41 AM EST

Thumbnail image for wade_layup.jpgIt’s a whole different kind of collusion, and there is nothing the league can do about it.

Some time next month, Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Joe Johnson are all going to sit down together and talk free agency plans, Wade told the Chicago Tribune. All before the July 1 official start to free agency.

“(Free agency) has been three years coming,” Wade said. “We’ve discussed it prematurely, at different times. (But) you don’t know what guys are thinking and where they’re going. I think we’ll all sit down, and before one of us makes a decision, all of us will have spoken to each other and (listened to the) thinking.

“A lot of decisions (will be based on) what other players are willing to do and what other guys want to do. So it’s not just a ‘me’ situation here. We all have to look and see what each other is thinking.”

Bottom line, they are going to choreograph the dance. They will work to set up package deals.

The players will talk with each other, and unofficially they will know what the teams are thinking (although they won’t say that). The NBA has a tampering problem, it just can’t really do anything about it. Oh, sure they can fine Mark Cuban or Steve Kerr when they foolishly speak on the record about such things, they can make a big show, but it doesn’t really solve the problem.

Back channel conversations are a constant in the NBA. A whole separate network of discussions goes on through intermediaries. Talks that are unofficial because the two main parties don’t speak directly. For example, R Nets president Rod Thorn emphatically denied having reached out to Phil Jackson — and Jackson backing him up — to discuss their coaching vacancy. But that is an easy conversation to have quietly, with a contact of the new owner reaching out to an associate of Jackson’s to just gauge interest. In this case that conversation may or may not have happened, but the point is it easily could have. And similar conversations do happen all the time.

So when the players all get on the conference call next month, they are going to have a lot of information. By the time July 1 rolls around, our own Ira Winderman pointed that teams will know who is available.

But it looks like the players (and their agents) will be picking the dance partners, not the other way around.

  1. macker - May 27, 2010 at 2:46 PM

    Your an idiot

  2. macker - May 27, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    You’re an idiot

  3. humble opinion - May 27, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    I have no problem with all star caliber players taking a more proactive role in their career paths. We should always remember that these guys are millionaire players negotiating with billionaire owners. When faced with that fact consulting others in the same situation to gain more barginning power or just get better perspective is the smart thing to do.

  4. macker - May 27, 2010 at 2:47 PM

    You’re an idiot

  5. Steve - May 27, 2010 at 4:30 PM

    he won two state championships in ohio.. get ur facts straight.. and they would have won this year if it wasnt for the coaching and his injury.. just wait five years and make ur judgements then.

  6. Realistic - May 27, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    That’s why NBA = Not Basketball Any more

  7. Loo - May 27, 2010 at 5:34 PM

    If you can take Wade out of that “pathetic post-season showing” comment, then your post makes sense. While the Heat as a whole wasn’t very good against Boston, Wade played great ball every night.

  8. stone cold - May 27, 2010 at 9:28 PM

    All over-rated….it doesn’t matter where you put them….. Lebron(trying to sound French and sophisticated) could not hold Larry Bird’s, nor Magic’s jockstrap. Why don’t they add that punk from Orlando, who can’t shoot from further than 2 ft out and goaltends…what’s his name…? Send them all to the Knicks so they can underachieve there.

  9. nick - May 27, 2010 at 11:35 PM

    @stone cold:
    Lol send them all to the Knicks including Dwight Howard? Underachieving could still mean a championship – get real dude.

  10. lgwelsh1 - May 28, 2010 at 12:59 AM

    If they go to NY together you can be sure Phil Jackson will be interested. He would have a hard time passing up coaching LeBron at 25, Wade 28, Johnson 28. These guys are in their prime. They would attract more free agents and they could build a dynasty for the ages.

  11. greg - May 28, 2010 at 9:38 AM

    nonsensical post of the year

  12. Pete - May 28, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    Why do people who hate the NBA post on here?
    These same people don’t have a clue or understand the pro game. Like the WWF? Must have missed last night’s LA-Suns game. Actually, you must have missed the whole entire playoffs.
    We get it, the NBA is not college basketball. It’s a DIFFERENT type of game. Take an objective look to the game and you’ll like it.
    The NBA-hater act is old and annoying. Go watch soccer.

  13. Ardnew - May 28, 2010 at 10:27 AM

    Yeah, but you’re not DWade, LBJ, or Joe Johnson.

  14. Disavowed - May 28, 2010 at 12:44 PM

    The fundamental problem that everyone here is overlooking is that this is a case of collusion and collusion within the NBA is illegal. Teams cannot collude with each other in order to limit salaries and player options for free agency. Unfortunately the NBA doesn’t seem to have anything in place to enforce it when the players are the ones colluding. It’s sad to think they may have never envisioned a free agency period where something as devious as this could happen.
    As for those talking about the rigid salary structure–do the salaries really matter if they work together to make their asking price workable for a single team? How could anyone, except for a fan of the team that may benefit from this, not see this as anything but blatant cheating due to loopholes in the rules?

  15. Disavowed - May 28, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    The fundamental problem that everyone here is overlooking is that this is a case of collusion and collusion within the NBA is illegal. Teams cannot collude with each other in order to limit salaries and player options for free agency. Unfortunately the NBA doesn’t seem to have anything in place to enforce it when the players are the ones colluding. It’s sad to think they may have never envisioned a free agency period where something as devious as this could happen.
    As for those talking about the rigid salary structure–do the salaries really matter if they work together to make their asking price workable for a single team? How could anyone, except for a fan of the team that may benefit from this, not see this as anything but blatant cheating due to loopholes in the rules?

  16. SportsFan - May 28, 2010 at 3:41 PM

    They’ll talk but I’m positive they won’t play for the same team. Bottom line is they’re all selfish.
    BeautifulVirgo: the Lakers can stop winning rings but they will always be a Dynasty just the Celtics will always be a dynasty. Know your history. Those 2 teams combined have more rings than the # of years the NBA has been in existence. You must cheer from a team who has never won a ring. The Lakers and Celts are in the top 10 sports teams who are considered dynasties.

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