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Report: If LeBron's friends get jobs with the Heat, the NBA may investigate

Jul 17, 2010, 12:30 PM EDT

Thumbnail image for bosh_wade_james.jpgIn Cleveland, LeBron’s posse had the run of the place. They were VIPs in the arena and in the city. Some of his friends even got jobs within the Cleveland organization.

It is rumored that one of the things that really hurt Chicago in talks with LeBron James was a clear line in the sand from Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf on just that — if we didn’t give Michael Jordan’s friends all jobs, we’re not doing it for you. It may or may not have been a big deal with James himself, but you can bet the friends that have his ear talked to him about it.

In Miami, Wade met with members of LeBron’s inner circle a couple of times, according to a long report on the inner workings of LeBron’s decision by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo.

If jobs were promised to LeBron’s friends, the NBA may investigate, he reports.

“The bigger issue is salary-cap circumvention,” one top NBA front-office executive told Yahoo!. “You can’t promise jobs or preferential services outside of a contract or a job for a friend. If that’s part of the deal, it’s a violation.”

It’s also very, very hard to prove. These friends had jobs in the Cleveland organization, or may have other skills the Heat can say are useful to them in whatever capacity. If a person had a job with one NBA team, it will be very hard to legally prove they were hired by the Heat just because of LeBron.

That is just one of the interesting tidbits from Wojnarowski’s opus. It is long, it has a lot of details, and it is worth reading.

It is also worth taking with a grain of salt. While Wojnarowski is as plugged in as any reporter out there, nobody has the entire picture. Nobody has all the people on the inside of the decision talking. The report talks about how LeBron, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh came up with this idea at the Beijing Olympics two years ago, but other people who traveled with the team said that while the three talked they were really in different cliques of the team much of the time. We could try to poke holes in other parts of the story as well, but nobody really knows. Again, just read everything with a critical eye.

Three other things of note. One is saying that current Heat coach Erik Spoelstra has to win a title this season, or he will be gone.

Nevertheless, the pressure on Spoelstra to win a championship in 2011 promises to be immense. To keep his job, he’ll probably have to win it all, especially because Riley has his eye on Doc Rivers to someday coach the Heat. Rivers has one year left on his Celtics contract, and has been heavily affected by the distance between him and his family still living Orlando.

I’m not sure I totally agree — what matters most this first year is that he gets total buy in from all three stars. That he gets them really working together. I can see a scenario where he does that and they still don’t win a title — because Joel Anthony is not a center who can stop Dwight Howard or Andrew Bynum deep in the playoffs, for example. It may take another year to get all the pieces around the big three to make it really work.

Another was just how big an impression Riley made on LeBron. How it was Riley that brought this deal together.

Riley never did pitch James on his own return to coaching, and yet bringing those five championship rings into the meeting were his way of selling James on the fact that Riles’ prints would be all over the team. No other basketball executive in the process could tell James they understood what a title team needed, what it looked like and how they had already done it like Riley could. Riley had such credibility, such presence and he completely captivated James.

That I believe. Riley does carry that aura.

Finally, there was the other reason Chicago fell out of favor — Derrick Rose.

For everything the Bulls tried to sell – from owner Jerry Reinsdorf to GM Gar Forman to coach Tom Thibodeau – there had been one thing that troubled James’ about the Bulls pitch: Derrick Rose(notes) never called and tried to recruit him.

Chicago officials never directly requested Rose to reach out with a call, and the young point guard felt James could’ve always reached out to him had he wanted to discuss the possibility of playing together. James needed to be courted, needed to be wooed and apparently it surprised him there was a star who wasn’t falling over himself to do that.

  1. Craig W. - Jul 17, 2010 at 1:04 PM

    What I found interesting about Adrian Wojnarowski’s article was the level of immaturity ascribed to Lebron James. While we definitely do pamper athletes and they often need to live in a bubble, this article puts Lebron in the category of a completely spoiled brat. Lebron does have to deal with the press and he has shown a desire to ‘rub elbows’ with power brokers. It’s funny that more details of his completely spoiled approach to this world haven’t been more prevalent.
    He certainly isn’t a paragon of virtue – as put forward by ESPN and the NBA hype machines – but the reverse wouldn’t seem to be true either.
    My biggest issue with Lebron and his image is that he doesn’t seem to be a true closer on the court. Thank goodness he now has Dwayne Wade to help out in this area.

  2. Joe - Jul 17, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    What was Woja talking about with all-star weekend 2007?

  3. Ross - Jul 17, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    LaBron is becoming the biggest joke in sports. His brand is dead!
    MJ, Magic, Bird, and Kobe would never let their greatness go in the direction James has gone. What a joke James has become…sad!

  4. Alex - Jul 17, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    I’m glad that Rose didn’t try to inflate James’ ego even more by begging him to go to Chicago…besides, I am almost positive that James had decided to join Miami well before free agency started.

  5. Brian - Jul 17, 2010 at 2:19 PM

    Yea,,, could you ever imagine Bird or Jordan pulling this crap? At least we finally see Lebron for who he really is. I hope this guy NEVER wins a title!!

  6. Tony - Jul 17, 2010 at 2:27 PM

    Ur such an idiot all you guys and especially this retard writing these silly stupid articles, gosh ur such a heat hater and of James too!! You guys need to stop comparing players, this is a new era DEAL with it, can’t wait to the heat spank the bulls, no am sorry murder the bulls and take care of buisness with the lakers and hold the championship trophy up in June!!! Go heat!!!

  7. cygnus-x1 - Jul 17, 2010 at 3:21 PM

    derrick rose just became my favorite nba player!and anything short of winning the title and these guys are failures.hey build yourselves up to be the greatest team then deal with pressure.can’t wait to hear heat fans whine and make excuses when they don’t.

  8. JoeSixPack - Jul 17, 2010 at 3:32 PM

    What the hell is going on in that picture?
    Are they taking a piss together and seeing which of the Big Three is the biggest?
    Back to the point, an NBA team that gives millions in salary to any player’s posse may be circumventing the salary cap. Although I doubt that’s to happen in this case, what’s to stop an NBA team from making some of the mid-level guys a deal in which they get $5.8 and ten friends collectively get about the same and kick half back to the player.
    This is thin ice on a lot of levels, and the NBA’s reputation is tarnished enough as it is.

  9. You said it... - Jul 17, 2010 at 4:29 PM

    LeBron ruined his brand. A brand is more than winning championships. It has alot to do with how you present yourself off the court or field. LeBron is a villian outside of Florida. Not to mention, a clear FOLLOWER.

  10. No doubt - Jul 17, 2010 at 4:34 PM

    After all that “deciscion” garbage and all his speaking in the 3rd person, I became a fan of the REST of the league, including the Lakers who I have disliked my whole life. Good job, LeFool.

  11. No doubt - Jul 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

    After all that “decision” garbage and all his speaking in the 3rd person, I became a fan of the REST of the league, including the Lakers who I have disliked my whole life. Good job, LeFool.

  12. Timu - Jul 17, 2010 at 5:08 PM

    I am sorry for all of you guys criticizing James because he did not pick your team.
    He can play for whatever team he wants.
    This is a funny one.. –> “I’m glad that Rose didn’t try to inflate James’ ego even more by begging him to go to Chicago”
    If James was going to listen all those begging from his close friends, relatives, he was going to stay in Clevland..
    Rose! Who!

  13. Crash - Jul 17, 2010 at 5:14 PM

    Well you see that’s your problem right there! I don’t know about you but when I was a kid growing up I always played sports to win and to win the championship in whatever sport I played. And dreamed like everyone else that I would one day win a championship at the professional. I thought that was a universal belief amongst all of us as kids. I never once dreamed of having my own brand??? I didn’t even understand that as a youth, and it shouldn’t be a factor if your an athlete who is trying to win a championship these days. Brand? lol…. What’s in a brand? Try asking asking Barkley what’s in a brand. I don’t think his brand was elevated to greater heights by staying in Philly, cause in the end Barkley will always be remembered for not being able to beat Jordan/Pippen no matter who he played for suns/sixers! Ask Marino, he’ll always. Be remembered for not winning it all not for staying his whole career in Miami! Brand?? Pfffff, garbage!

  14. Timu - Jul 17, 2010 at 5:20 PM

    You better appreciate what Riley did. This was all planed 4 years ago. He took the biggest risk in NBA history.
    All those teams played their cards to get James.
    Why do you blame him.. ?
    Who does not want to play with winners, who does not want to be successful. The guy is way smarter than most of those including Dan Gilbert.. Who knew Dan Gilbert before James………

  15. Hmm - Jul 17, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    Heat fans have to be some of the stupidest front-running fans I’ve seen in a long time.. Keep defending your boy LBJ, you just look as stupid as he does. Go ahead and reply to my comment too, make yourself look smarter

  16. Really - Jul 17, 2010 at 6:03 PM

    Lebron needs to front some of his money to his buddies so they can go to college and get a job of their own, instead of piggybacking on Lebron’s fading success

  17. Mick - Jul 17, 2010 at 6:14 PM

    I dont know why people are so upset about LeBron getting out of OH-HIGH-OH and going to the much better Miami. Hell be on a better team, in a better city, with better fans, and way better management.
    Keith Evans said it best:—decisions-decisions-the-king-escapes-hell.html
    Anyone else would have made the same move!

  18. ray56 - Jul 17, 2010 at 6:24 PM

    The only thing that matters going forward for LeBron is whether he wins championships. If he does, all this other stuff will die down and largely be forgotten.
    Heck, if rape allegations don’t do a player in, then leaving Cleveland sure won’t either, whether on a TV program, or through a revolutionary approach to free agency–a strategy driven by the players themselves. If he wins, history may actually judge ‘Bron’s maneuvering as “pioneering,” and “Innovative.” The winners write the history.
    If the Heat win, they’ll have the last laugh. If not, now that will tarnish one’s brand.

  19. johnmaine - Jul 17, 2010 at 6:55 PM

    Terrell Owens is frustrated with being unwanted. He’s such a joke:

  20. Salty - Jul 17, 2010 at 7:03 PM

    He is the Barry Bonds of basketball.

  21. Tony - Jul 17, 2010 at 8:28 PM

    At least LeBron didn’t have to pay a girl off after he raped her like Kobe did! All you crybabies are just mad because he didn’t sign with your team.There isnt a team in the league that wouldn’t take LeBron,Wade and Bosh and if it was your team you would be jumping for joy! Riley planed for 4 years and got under the cap space to pull it off.Your team wasn’t smart enough, get over it!

  22. ziggy88979 - Jul 17, 2010 at 10:48 PM

    yes, we are all envious that James didn’t sign with our teams……LOL. Again, it’s not that he chose another team, it’s how he did it. I’d be embarrased to have him on my team after that “Decision” debacle.

  23. Jim - Jul 18, 2010 at 1:47 AM

    To Miami fan. You’re pissing on an electric fence. I’m a Cleveland fan but I haven’t been a Leconceded fan for a long time. As much fun as it was to watch him play, I personally couldn’t get over his love of himself and the inconsideration of others. The world is his toilet. If he was double jointed, he would probably hose himself down before loving any woman. I’m glad he’s gone. I’d rather lose than watch the arrogance all of the time. He “is” one of the top players though in the world. Miami might or might not get that championship next year but it will be soiled. The 3 players in question did plan this whole thing out so they could be with each other. Any championship will be looked at as “prearranged”. Not to mention, he really stuck it to the Cleveland fan base especially with the timing of the announcement to Miami.
    I wonder if the shoe was on the other foot, what would you feel like. If Miami had no money to allocate to free agency and Wade made an infocommercial saying he was going to Chicago. He does this by not telling his teammates or the owner or anybody. The whole world hears about it at the same time including friends and family and the team owner. He does this after most of the other major free agents have already been signed.
    Good luck Miami fan. My feeling is they won’t get by Chicago, Orlando, or Boston.

  24. Jimmy - Jul 18, 2010 at 1:58 AM

    Let’s see how many of you HEAT HATERS are still showing up on these blogs towards the end of the season and the playoffs. It’s gonna be a pleasure to hear what you all have to say then. LMFAO. I can’t wait!!!

  25. Josh - Jul 18, 2010 at 3:53 AM

    Going to Miami was a perfect, and perfectly simple, decision for Lebron. It is a brilliant move, pairs him with 2 other superstars in a hot, east coast NBA city, with a Hall of Fame GM. *boom* And he saves bucks with no state taxes. And he makes a big splash with moving across to a new super-team. If he would’ve stayed in Cleveland it would’ve been *yawn* totally boring and underwhelming. It was an awesome decision, and I actually didn’t see it — I thought for sure NY, and possibly Cleveland. I couldn’t see the Miami decision, just as most people on this thread and elsewhere apparently still can’t see it. So, apparently Lebron is either super lucky, or he was pushed in this direction by elite marketers and business strategists (Gatorade, Nike, NBA, etc). Watch, next year, this Miami thing will be awesome, and BIG NEWS every game they play. I’m going. Y’all can sit around and whine about Lebron’s “brand” if you want to LoL.

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