The NBA's free agency season is almost upon us, and for perhaps the first time in their careers, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Chris Bosh and Yao Ming are probably feeling neglected.
That's because, of course, the story of 2010's free agency is the man teams have spent two years clearing salary cap space for: King James.
One team that has lobbied unabashedly for LeBron is the Chicago Bulls. And of course, there's no doubt that he would be a tremendous boon to the team's championship hopes -- playing with phenom Derrick Rose, and with a solid supporting cast in Luol Deng, Joakim Noah, Kirk Hinrich and others, LeBron could make the Bulls the complete package.
But LeBron would also be pretty good for the city of Chicago, as the Tribune reports. $2.7 billion dollars worth of good, apparently.
The Tribune reports where the extra money would come from:
Some estimates have suggested that the arrival of James and his projected success with the Bulls could reach $2.7 billion with the improved value of the Bulls franchise, TV rights, ticket sales and other marketing opportunities.
The additional national TV coverage will increase exposure and expand the local fan base in Chicago, which currently sits at about 3.2 million people, as well as the national fan base, not to mention the international fan base where the Bulls, even without James, are still the most recognizable NBA team brand.
While the team continues its back-room negotiations to lock down the Cavs superstar, they certainly aren't the only ones angling for LeBron. The New York Knicks made it open team policy to get rid of burdensome contracts with good players to clear room for James, and the desperate New Jersey Nets also want James.
Though, speculation is strong that the Akron native will end up staying with Cleveland after all.
But after the 2016 Olympics debacle, the prospect of LeBron's $3 billion for the city might be the only thing that could get Mayor Daley back into sports lobbying.
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