May 19th, 2010
01:47 PM ET

The LeBron sweepstakes - a nationwide contest

LeBron James is featured on ESPN in a Bulls and Knicks jersey -- further fueling the fire about his free agency.

Even though his Cleveland Cavaliers were eliminated from the NBA playoffs last week, LeBron James is the league's most talked about player right now because of his impending free agency. On July 1, any of the league's teams can try to woo the league's most valuable player to change uniforms with the promise of hundreds of millions of dollars and championship glory. Before then he can only talk officially to the Cavs, which hasn't stopped the rumor mill and sales campaigns from going full blast around the league.

If you just can't stand the wait, you can monitor exactly how many days minutes and seconds until things really get swinging on ESPN's LeBron tracker. That's right, a countdown to his free agency, that's how big this is going to be.

The quest to sign LeBron has practically become a sweepstakes - a contest who can woo the big star the best - with lobbying campaigns that could put Washington to shame and sales pitches farther over the top than Vince the Shamwow guy - all to convince King James they are the right choice.

"I want to win," he said after Cleveland's 94-85 loss in to the Boston Celtics Game 6 Thursday. "That's my only thing, that's my only concern. It's all about winning for me and I think the Cavs are committed to do that, but at the same time I'll give myself options. Me and my team, we have a game plan that we're going to execute, and we'll see where we'll be at."

When he talks about his team there, he means his inner business cabinet, and not his buddies on the bench at Quicken Loans Arena by Lake Erie.

Many sports analysts say the decision will come down to two things: whether James wants to go where he can win a title the soonest, which just might mean staying in Cleveland (which by league rules can offer him the most money), or a marketing move that would mean he can command the stage in a big market like New York or Chicago.

Some say the curtain on LeBron's time in Cleveland, just a short drive up I-77 from his Akron home, is likely to fall.

But Cleveland isn't giving up without a fight. Which is where the "We are LeBron" campaign begins. Many notable people in the city and in Ohio came together to create the video "Please Stay LeBron" –a take on the 1980s charity video "We Are the World."'s Ian Thomsen said he believes James will leave the Cavaliers (he also breaks down what each team in the hunt has to offer) Where are the best bets on his destination? The New York Knicks, New Jersey Nets, Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls are the most talked about options, though many fans speculate the Bulls and Nets are the frontrunners.

And if you ask his high school basketball coach, the right choice for James is in Chicago right along Derrick Rose. It couldn't help for a man known as the King to stand in the shadow of Michael Jordan's footsteps right? And with ramblings about coaching options in Chicago, some have speculated that LeBron James could feasibly be choosing the coach he'd work with if he went to Chicago. And he's got President Obama, a Chicago native, rooting for that move too.

Not to be outdone, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has done his own stumping, hoping James will make his way to the big stage in the Big Apple. Which is also where's Jeff Pearlman thinks he should go.

"If I were LeBron's father and he listened to me, I'd say, 'Son, go to New York'," Pearlman wrote, in discussing that the move is about more than just basketball.

ESPN may be throwing even more fire on the hot debate - showing photos of what James would look like in both a Bulls and a Knicks jersey on their localized sports sites.

But there still are other options - and some teams want to make sure they aren't forgotten in all the hoopla.

The long-suffering Los Angeles Clippers may not be getting the attention of the Bulls or the Knicks, but Clipper fans are hoping they can change all that with a "Bring LeBron to the L.A. Clippers" parade during game 5 of the Western Conference finals, according to the Los Angeles Times.

With all this pandering, passion, debating, hyping, begging and prodding we're still no closer to figure out where James may end up. But one thing is clear - he's in high demand - and in this case the rumor mill couldn't work anymore in his favor. And it's going to keep on going for a long time - as I write this - another 42 days, 10 hours, 14 minutes and 52 seconds.

soundoff (113 Responses)
  1. Juan

    What's a lebron?

    May 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tommy

    Cleveland is the only team that can offer him to most.So i have no clue on what your talking about BOBBY,because if he leaves he will be leaving 30 million dollars behind him too.Because thats is the difference in money that Cleveland can give him and other teams cant.So if he leaves it wont be for the money.

    May 19, 2010 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. CELTICS the big 5

    There's no "I" in Team, join the big 4 and win the next 2 to 3 championship

    May 19, 2010 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tommy

      Well 3 of those big 4 are old as hell.Probably will be retiring in a year or two.So what the hell are you talking about.Besides Boston pays those 4 so much that would never have enough money to get Lebron.He won't even fit in there team.Bad comment.

      May 19, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. CELTICS the Champions

    Celtics is definitely the champions this year, against all odds. you talk the talk as they talk the walk into the making
    first wade then lebron and now Howard Kobe's next, not so of a veteran team after all
    I guess 30 means 50 for yall, they still have a great two year run ahead
    and Rondo isnt lebron but he aint leaving neither
    it would be a great match the two

    May 19, 2010 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Shaun D

    Ok um ive ben seein the LA fans talk about Kobe N Lebron....1st Kobe wines, complains, n at times is very selfish bt he still is a great player, bt look at the coach he has had....(Phil, Hall of Famer) look at his sidekick (Shaq, in his prime i may add) (Paul Gasol, who is a future hall of famer) Lebron has a over the hill Shaq, no disrespect, n the next best player is??? Mo Williams? I Think not! Lebron on the Lakers would mean Champioship rings each yr....He only does EVERYTHING for his team bt his team doesnt do enough! One true star wit Lebron whether its Wade Bosh Or Amare, even Joe Johnson he gets his 1st of many rings!!! Hope he stays bt at the end of the day he wnts a ring because there's nothin left to earn!! True fans n players knw the reality! Let it go ppl, he deserves his money bt he is a champion leader n will b the greatest!!! Good luck Lebron, do wht u gotta do!

    May 19, 2010 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |

    who needs Lebron anyway, as far as im concerned he's home watching Celtics AND lakers on TV just like the rest of us.
    Pretty sure they doing fine without him, so go wherever the hell you want, No ring no sing or wink or something that rhymes. Lets Go Celtics

    May 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Greg Malor

    I heard Labrum is going to play in Europe a while and actually learn how to win.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
  8. anonymouse

    In a 1 on 1 game, I would take Larry Bird in his prime anyday over LeBroom. Larry doesn't lose (and he never played for the money- which wasn't nearly as much back then). Lebroom loses and doesn't really seem to care (as long as he gets paid millions to do so).

    May 19, 2010 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. djonny

    If anyone thinks that this guy can hold MJ's jock, they are delusional. I like the kid, but he will never uplift a franchise. Sorry, Kobe' same dude.

    May 19, 2010 at 6:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. labronx

    He should go to NY
    for sale – visit to make offer

    May 19, 2010 at 7:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. T. Rogers

    Chicago would be better off going after Wade. LeBron is becoming a circus at this point. He wants it his way. He wants his own hand picked coach, etc. At some point all that begins to drown out the teams connection to one another. And for the record, LeBron's team was stacked this year. They were the only team to hit 60+ wins this year. They won the season series against nearly all of the other contenders this season. Yes, the supporting cast was there. They lost because LeBron did not lead them. Period.

    For all the talk about how Kobe has such a better team remember a few facts. Cleveland destroyed LA on Christmas day. They beat again without Mo Williams. They finished with a better record than LA as well. In fact, LA lost many of their games against the contenders this season. The BS argument about LeBron not having help is just that, BS.

    May 19, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |

    This article says Lebron's high school coach thinks he should leave and then links to an article where PAUL SILAS (that's former NBA Head Coach for the Hornets and Cavaliers) says he should leave. His high school coach, Drew Joyce, is never mentioned. CNN probably has lots of employees and none of them realized the error? Ugh.

    May 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. imdaboss

    Everybody shut the fuk up damn wat is u people talkin about

    May 19, 2010 at 10:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. CJ

    C'mon I am a MJ fan and there will never be another MJ, NEVER!!!! And I am not a LBJ fan at all... And if he came to my Bulls, I will have to welcome him into the fold... I say that to say this, the kid has the killer instinct in him, if you don't think so ask those Detroit Pistons that witness him hit 28 straight points in a playoff game. Not only was it 28 straigth, it was his team's last 28 points of the game!!!! If that isn't clutch, then someone tell me what clutch and killer instinct is????

    May 20, 2010 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Ari Alhadeff

    Let Lebron know why he should come play for your NBA Team. Post a video, send a tweet, or send a message at

    June 1, 2010 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
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