Bulls must weigh if they want James … and Calipari
In the first 24 hours after the Celtics eliminated the Cavaliers on
Thursday, the Bulls sold more than 500 new full season tickets and a
team official estimated incoming call volume to their sales office stood
roughly 50 times normal levels.
The question now is whether the allure of LeBron James will have a
similar effect on Bulls management.
League sources said Sunday that noted NBA power broker William Wesley
continues to work back channels to sell John Calipari and James as a
package deal to franchises such as the Bulls, Nets and Clippers with
coaching vacancies and salary cap room.
Another league source confirmed that an unknown Calipari connection contacted Bulls management over the weekend. This not only once again renders the coach’s vows to remain at Kentucky hollow, it underscores the juggling act general manager Gar Forman and senior vice president John Paxson must navigate as they tackle a coaching search while planning for free agency, which begins July 1.
Forman addressed this dynamic at the news conference announcing Vinny Del Negro’s dismissal on May 4. And while initially it appeared the Bulls’ coach search might pick up steam — and perhaps conclude — when the NBA world descends upon Chicago for this week’s predraft camp, James’ possible departure from Cleveland should prolong it.
James’ uncertain future also introduces an internal debate on whether the two-time reigning Most Valuable Player is even the best fit with Derrick Rose. While James unquestionably is the game’s most dominant player, he dominated the ball on the court and input on organizational decisions off it in Cleveland.
As his relationship with Wesley attests, James also brings with him a small army of friends and advisers to whichever franchise for which he plays. James repeatedly referred to this group — which also includes respected agent Leon Rose and business manager Maverick Carter — as "my team" when discussing his free agent plans in the aftermath of the loss to the Celtics.