Nets' worth to LeBron James might have fallen with draft position

Brian Windhorst, The Plain Dealer

Depending on perspective, the Cavaliers either dodged a bullet in the
LeBron James sweepstakes Tuesday night or there was no impact from a
usually distinctive NBA event.

The Washington Wizards won the league’s annual Draft Lottery, leaping from the fifth-best chance to get the No. 1 overall pick for the second time in the past 10 years. The Philadelphia 76ers leapt from the sixth position to get the No. 2 overall pick. The New Jersey Nets, which had the best chance to win, got the No. 3 pick.

That last fact is one Cavs fans were paying attention to.

The Nets are one of the handful of teams James is expected to consider when he becomes a free agent in July. James also has a standing relationship with Kentucky guard John Wall, who is the favorite to be the No. 1 overall pick. There was speculation that had the Nets, which had a 25 percent chance of winning, landed the No. 1 pick, it would have increased James’ chances of signing with New Jersey.

However, that point of view may have been outdated. A central reason James befriended Wall over the past two years, it is believed, is to recruit him to his agent and his Cleveland-based marketing firm as a package deal. But several weeks ago, Wall passed on signing with James’ groups and instead signed with Los Angeles-based agent Dan Fegan.

Either way, the Nets will not be able to get Wall — the Wizards have said they intend to keep the draft pick.

The Wizards have enough salary-cap space to offer James a maximum contract, a provision that was made possible when the Wizards traded Antawn Jamison to the Cavs last winter. But James, who has a harsh relationship with the Washington franchise, isn’t believed to have Washington on his short list.

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