LeBron’s camp behind Spoelstra ‘panic’ story?

Miami Heat forward LeBron James looks to the referee as he points towards the other side of the court after a foul against the Boston Celtics in the second half of the opening night game at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on October 26, 2010.  UPI/Matthew Healey Photo via Newscom

Yes, according to longtime LeBron-critic Adrian Wojnarowski, who referred to a Ball Don’t Lie piece by Kelly Dwyer. He alleges that LeBron’s camp planted the story to distract attention away from the hate-fest that’s about to occur upon LeBron’s return to Cleveland on Thursday night.

Meticulous in his preparation, Spoelstra spoke with several past coaches, and league sources said a clear and unequivocal picture appeared on how to proceed: End the cycle of enabling with James and hold him accountable.

And surprise, surprise: LeBron James has responded with a test of his own organizational strength, pushing to see how far the Heat will bend to his will.

Even within a month of the season’s sideways 9-8 start, the NBA witnessed a predictable play out of the James-Maverick Carter playbook on Monday morning. They planted a story and exposed themselves again as jokers of the highest order. They care so little about anyone but themselves. Still, no one’s surprised that they’d stoop so low, so fast into this supposed historic 73-victory season and NBA Finals sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers. They want Spoelstra – and Pat Riley – to bend to them, to bow to the King the way everyone has before them.

You have to love Wojnarowski, who never seems to hide his disgust with LeBron and his camp. As you might imagine, he had a veritable field day after “The Decision.”

But here, he’s alleging that Carter is behind the Spoelstra panic story, but it doesn’t appear tha the accusation has any real basis. In his post, Dwyer just crossed out Carter’s name whenever referring to the source, because he obviously believes that Carter is Chris Broussard’s source. He doesn’t offer any proof, but just writes the piece with a “everybody knows who’s talking to Chris…” vibe.

This is fine for a sports blog because it’s funny and everyone knows it’s tongue-in-cheek, but Wojnarowski took it a step further by saying that LeBron’s camp planted the story as if it were established fact.

And it’s not. At least not yet. Broussard hasn’t revealed his source, and probably never will. The Yahoo writers are just making educated guesses.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this, if anything.

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Adrian Wojnarowski evicerates Team LeBron

REFILE - CORRECTING YEAR Cleveland Cavaliers LeBron James looks on during the second quarter of Game 1 of their NBA Eastern Conference playoff series against the Chicago Bulls in Cleveland, April 17, 2010.REUTERS/Aaron Josefczyk (UNITED STATES - Tags: SPORT BASKETBALL)

Rather quietly, Wojnarowski has turned into one of the best NBA writers out there. Here are the first three paragraphs of his column about the current state of Team LeBron. (Parents may want to ask the kids to leave the room.)

The Championship of Me comes crashing into a primetime cable infomercial that LeBron James(notes) and his cronies have been working to make happen for months, a slow, cynical churning of manufactured drama that sports has never witnessed. As historic monuments go, this is the Rushmore of basketball hubris and narcissism. The vacuous star for our vacuous times. All about ‘Bron and all about nothing.

James is throwing a few foosball tables at Boys & Girls Clubs, an empty gesture out of the empty superstar. He’s turned free agency into the title of our times, a preening pageant of fawning, begging and pleading. Hard-working people are dragged into municipalities and told to hold signs, chant scripted slogans and beg a diva who doesn’t care about them to accept a $100 million contract.

Privately, Dwyane Wade(notes) and Chris Bosh(notes) weren’t pleased on Wednesday morning with the belief that James’ camp was responsible for leaking their plans to a television partner, but then again it makes perfect sense: This isn’t about Wade and Bosh choosing the Heat. It’s about LeBron getting the stage to himself on Thursday night.

Read the rest of the column here.

Wojnarowski has never been much of a fan of Team LeBron or its relationship with ESPN. I suspect, deep down, every non-ESPN NBA writer who has sources of his own but still can’t get any solid info probably feels this way.

‘World Wide Wes’ won’t be at LeBron’s meetings

There has been a lot of talk about William ‘World Wide Wes’ Wesley lately, especially his assertion that LeBron and Chris Bosh are headed to the Bulls, but it appears that he will not be attending tomorrow’s free agency meetings that LeBron is holding in Ohio.

But Maverick Carter, James’s longtime business manager, said Tuesday that Wesley would not play a role in James’s deliberations and would not be present as various teams visit his client in Ohio.

“All the Wes rumors are untrue and he will not be at the meetings,” Carter said. “Wes has nothing to do with where he goes.”

James, Carter and James’s agent, Leon Rose, are scheduled to be at the meetings, which are expected to begin shortly after the free-agency period officially starts at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. James is expected to meet with the Bulls, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat and the Nets and Knicks.

Maybe there is some dissension within LeBron’s camp.

If anything, this would indicate that the LeBron-to-Chicago rumors were probably overblown, and the other teams on LeBron’s list all still have a puncher’s chance of signing him. In fact, a source close to LeBron told the Plain Dealer that the Cavs still have the edge.

But if that’s the case, why doesn’t LeBron come out and say he wants to stay in Cleveland like Dwyane Wade did with the Heat? Is it because the Cavs have no salary cap flexibility and can’t quickly reshape the roster?

How World Wide Wes’s agenda affects LeBron

Adrian Wojnarowski writes that ‘World Wide Wes’ wants LeBron out of Cleveland…badly.

For basketball’s biggest dealmaker, there’s little personal benefit to James re-signing with the Cleveland Cavaliers. To team executives in the chase and those familiar with the dynamics of James’ inner circle, World Wide Wes’ agenda is clear: Get LeBron out of Cleveland and push himself into a prominent place of power.

To be considered the architect of the sport’s grandest transaction, World Wide Wes needs James out of the clutches of the Cavaliers.

“If LeBron leaves, Wes is going to get carte blanche wherever he signs,” one source told Yahoo! Sports. “He’s going to have the run of the place, and he doesn’t have that in Cleveland. He has access there, but Maverick Carter is the guy with the keys there. …[Carter’s] much more influential, and would always be in Cleveland.”

This is the push and pull on the inside of Team LeBron, sources say – agendas colliding in self-interest as the start of free agency creeps closer on Thursday. In the end, James is too strong to let someone else make a decision for him, but there remains strong influences deeply immersed in this process with him.

Wojnarowski goes on to say that Carter and the rest of LeBron’s childhood crew have tremendous stature in Cleveland that probably won’t be the case if LeBron signs elsewhere. This may be why World Wide Wes has been telling people that LeBron and Chris Bosh are going to Chicago, even though they took the time to meet with Dwyane Wade in South Florida about joining forces in Miami.

If there is indeed an internal struggle going on within LeBron’s camp, it may explain why the messages have been so mixed.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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