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

May 27, 2010, 9:41 AM EDT

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. Skids - May 27, 2010 at 10:51 AM

    Typical of America. Where are all the agents screaming collusion, wanting to sue now? Oh, it’s OK, it’s union.

  2. Jeff - May 27, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    I hear they are all going to the Blazers… a guy can dream, can’t he?! LeBron, Roy, Oden, Wade… plus NIKE is right there. Do it, guys! Please!!
    a check my site – www. porkchopfactory . com
    I’m going to be famous – in negotiations to sell my story!

  3. Rudy - May 27, 2010 at 11:07 AM

    Oh, come on. I talk with my friends at different companies about working together all the time, but we’re not going to pay ourselves; it’s just talk until somebody agrees to pay us. This is still America, and he who writes the checks still calls the shots.

  4. Bobcrs - May 27, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    Who cares about the NBA…..It’s almost the WWF. It’s essentially a show and not a sport at this point..

  5. USA Pride - May 27, 2010 at 11:18 AM

    Hey SKIDZ! If you don’t love your country, leave it!

  6. TexasMike - May 27, 2010 at 11:38 AM

    If you don’t think the owners talk to one another behind closed doors, than you’re a bigger moron than your post would suggest.

  7. Thomas - May 27, 2010 at 11:47 AM

    Skids. I bet you think CEOs and owners aren’t vastly overpaid…

  8. dxxy4u - May 27, 2010 at 12:13 PM

    Smart move. Why let some Agent decide your move? In some cases Agents are just like fleas, worthless. Agents are good when you are trying to make a name, but when you are a premier,your record is 75% of the bargaining. If you have flea sense, you should be able to wheel and deal your deal. And then again, some of them don’t have flea sense.
    I hope this is the beginning of something new. Players discussing their own move, and wipe out those vultures called “Agents”.

  9. dxxy4u - May 27, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Smart move. Why let some Agent decide your move? In some cases Agents are just like fleas, worthless. Agents are good when you are trying to make a name, but when you are a premier,your record is 75% of the bargaining. If you have flea sense, you should be able to wheel and deal your deal. And then again, some of them don’t have flea sense.
    I hope this is the beginning of something new. Players discussing their own move, and wipe out those vultures called “Agents”.

  10. Anonymous - May 27, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    CEO’s are overpaid. But that has nothing to do with sports.
    I don’t really see the problem with the players talking. Since the NBA has a very rigid salary structure, these players will make the same money regardless of where they play (a little more if they stay in their current city but I digress.) The only differences is where they will be playing and with who and for who. Those are things I’d like to know if I was picking a new place to work. Why can’t they? That’s why I wished the Cavs would have traded for Amare instead of Jamison. Then we’d have enough for two max deals and we could sign LBJ and someone else. Now the Cavs are stuck with very little salary wiggle room and LeBron may run for somewhere else where he can pick his running mate leaving Cleveland with nothing but a lottery team.

  11. T - May 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    they’re going to New York City. People think Jeter is king of the city? wait until LBJ and Wade get here!

  12. Dwells - May 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    Its 2010. Nobody cares about NY anymore… Why would he play for one of the worst franchises in the league??? That team has nothing to offer. They aren’t the yankees…. Thats like me saying they are coming to DC because thats where I’m from. Just silly.

  13. giff - May 27, 2010 at 1:17 PM

    why shouldn’t the players talk to each other…as was stated above, someone still has to sign the check…this isn’t owners manipulating behind the scene, it’s players saying who they want to play with and putting together a package that matches that desire…
    i think it’s cool…if more players did this,it could make the league very interesting…so instead of owners driving the bus, or even the agents, the players get to determine who they’re on the court with instead of having to make the best of what they get stuck with via the union or management…

  14. Mike Parsons - May 27, 2010 at 1:23 PM

    Buying a guy a beer so he’ll sit there and listen for 15 minutes does not constitute “being in negotiations.”

  15. MX - May 27, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    Wade is full of it for sayign that Chicago shows no loyalty to it’s superstar players. All they did is promote Paxon, help Kerr, have ex players as assistants and coaches, give Jordan a blank check to play and do whatever he wants…etc. Scottie “No Tipping” Pippen wan himself away from the franchise and Jordan wanted to own one. Wade is just after more money as awlays, he has no loyalty himself except to a larger paycheck.

  16. mike - May 27, 2010 at 1:24 PM

    he can make more money in NY, that’s a fact. It is the biggest, or at least one of the top 2, biggest markets in the US. Therefore, it is more intruiging to a guy who wants to be a billionaire. Plus, the Knicks roster will look completely different next year, everyone they had is now a free agent and will probably be gone! And the icing on the cake is LeBron is always… ALWAYS… wearing a Yankee hat.

  17. greg - May 27, 2010 at 1:25 PM

    Whoever wants LeQuit James can have him. He’s never won a championship, not even in high school where he was a man among boys! He’s a selfish player and doesn’t have a killer instinct. He’s a great player but he’s not qualified to tie Jordan’s shoes, much less be called King. He’s not even a prince the way he quit in the playoffs. He’s been getting his butt kissed since high school and now he’s uncoachable. His mother bought him a Humvee when they were living in government housing and she was unemployed! The Ohio athletic commission let that slide. Bye, Bye Quitter!

  18. shaqunleaded - May 27, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    You lost me….

  19. S Brown - May 27, 2010 at 1:35 PM

    come on the Knicks baby.

  20. phil - May 27, 2010 at 1:40 PM

    If someone will just please take Joe Johnson away from Atlanta, I don’t care what else happens…the guy just disappears in the playoffs, pouts and rarely plays defense at ANY point in the season…i would be too damn embarassed to expect much if i was Joe, Wade or Lebron after the pathetic showings all made this year in the postseason…
    Aside from that, this is America, this is nothing more than what always happens with anything in life, so what’s the big deal?
    And lastly, the NBA truly is somewhat WWF esque…no defense, terrible officiating and so forth…
    Bring back Larry Bird…

  21. beautifulvirgo - May 27, 2010 at 1:48 PM

    Thats what it is going to take to take down the LAKER Dynasty.. They may want to add Phil to that discussion as well!!!

  22. Anonymous - May 27, 2010 at 1:55 PM

    seriously?!?!?!? you cant even put wwf in the same category as the NBA!!!

  23. Paul - May 27, 2010 at 2:10 PM

    I think at least two of the guys will end up in NY. I Hope and kind of have a feeling that it will be Bosh and James. If you want to find out more about James to NY visit: lebrontony. blogspot. com

  24. Realistic - May 27, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    That’s why NBA = Not Basketball Any more

  25. Joe - May 27, 2010 at 2:38 PM

    Why is Joe Johnson on this list. he sucks. why does everyone including the NBa keeping trying to make him a star?

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