Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hoops Hoopla

It looks like the Miami Heat will score the triple.

Tipoff will be at 9 p.m. Thursday.

Then, and only then, might Miami Heat fans get the official jump on one of the most seismic shifts in the history of the NBA.

That is when Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has blocked out a one-hour special on ESPN to announce his free-agency decision.

That same cable network is reporting early Thursday morning that “all indications” are James will join the Heat.

A source familiar with the Heat’s chances told the Sun Sentinel the team knows James “still has interest” but that management is not necessarily completely confident that it is the favorite. That, however, also could be the team erring on the side of caution, with such a potentially franchise-changing moment at hand.

A jump to the Heat would mean James could leave as much as $30 million on the table from what he could receive by remaining in Cleveland. The lack of a state income tax in Florida would offset some of that loss.

The Heat emphatically denied a report that it sent a team plane Wednesday to James and denied the James had met Wednesday night or early Thursday with Heat officials.

According to ESPN, “All indications are that LeBron James is leaning toward signing with the Miami Heat Thursday night, according to several sources with knowledge of the situation.”

In the report, Chris Broussard of ESPN The Magazine said, “Barring a late change of heart, sources say James has decided to join fellow All-Stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to form a potential NBA powerhouse.”

There are also rumors floating around the South Florida blogosphere that Mr. James has made an offer on a house in Coral Gables (right up the road a piece from me).

I guess that takes the suspense out of the hour-long special planned for tonight in which the announcement of Mr. James’s choice would be made.