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<CITE class=source>All the elaborate recruiting plans for [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] will have to change. James will not go on a recruiting tour, his longtime business manager Maverick Carter told ESPN.com Friday.</CITE>
<CITE class=source>"LeBron is not going on a tour," Carter said. "He never planned to go on a tour and has not been a part of any team's plans for a recruiting trip."
Instead, the [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] superstar will visit with individual clubs at a neutral site once the free-agency period begins July 1.
James' decision throws a monkey wrench in the plans of several clubs that hoped to sell him on non-basketball-related enticements such as the vibrancy of their city, the social life it may afford or the A-list celebrities that support their teams.
James, the most coveted player in this historic free-agent class, wants the focus to be on basketball and doesn't want it to turn into a spectacle.
Clubs were made aware of James' decision on Wednesday and many went into scramble mode. The [Only registered and activated users can see links. ], who were planning a spectacular, celebrity-laden dinner cooked by a world-renowned chef for James on July 1, quickly cancelled it and held an emergency Plan B, according to two sources.
The Knicks, who also planned to give James a tour of New York City, are going ahead with plans to bring [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] and [Only registered and activated users can see links. ] on visits to New York, according to sources, but they will have to meet with their top target, James, on neutral turf.
It is not known where James will meet with clubs, but Carter said it will not be at James' home in suburban Akron.
James has already met with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert, who traveled to Akron last week along with members of Cleveland's front office to visit the All-Star forward. On Thursday, general manager Chris Grant refused to characterize the team's discussions with James.
"We're a family here," Grant said.
There's a chance the Cavs will meet with James again before he hits the open market, Grant said. Cleveland can offer James up to $30 million more than any other team on a maximum-length contract.
James has not given any indication which way he's leaning. He has spent his entire career with the Cavs, who were knocked out of the playoffs in the second round by Boston. James has said winning is the most important factor in choosing his next team.
Grant wouldn't divulge any special plans by the Cavs to woo James.
"We have a plan and we will execute it," he said.
I'm to the point where I want to say - SCREW THE TITLESS BITCH!
Then again. This is probably a blessing. First of all, it allows us to go hard after Chris Bosh when the clock strikes midnight.
We have to get Bosh. Simple as that. It at least gives us a future. If we focus solely on LJ and he stiffs us, we risk losing Bosh.
So, this is a good thing. Also, we don't have to wine-n-dine and roll out the red carpet, then sit back and watch him tour the United States.... This should cut down on the waiting.
Let's hope Walsh-D'ant bring that smooth-talking NY talk and bring their X's-and-Os with them.
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