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Timing of LeBron’s decision to opt out of deal is interesting

Updated: June 25, 2014 1:17AM



A Bulls source Tuesday said nothing had changed as far as the team’s offseason plans to improve the roster.

So while some corners of the NBA might have felt shock waves with the news that LeBron James had
informed the Miami Heat that he was opting out of his contract to test the free-agent market, the Bulls seemingly weren’t flinching.

‘‘The only news was the timing,’’ the source said.

James had until Monday to make his future known. The prevailing thought during the NBA Finals this month was that he likely would opt out, but he would do so with teammates Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

The fact that James did it without them Tuesday and the fact that good buddy Carmelo Anthony opted out of his contract Monday with the New York Knicks have ramped up the
rumor mill.

Conventional wisdom would
indicate James wants to play with Anthony and wanted to give teams, including the Heat, as much time as possible to try to figure out how they can move finances to make room for them. That’s not exactly the scenario the Bulls would like to see play out, especially because they want Anthony and can’t afford them both.

But what if James becomes a target for the Bulls? They will do their due diligence on him and hope his 2010 meeting with Tom Thibodeau, who was entering his first season as the Bulls’ coach, made an impact.

Everything about James certainly has made an impact on Thibodeau. In March, Thibodeau was asked to compare James to another player he has seen. His response was telling.

‘‘Nobody,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘Because when you’re combining the speed, the power, the skill, the passing, the vision — I mean, I can’t recall anyone that I’ve coached against that’s like that. There’s nothing he doesn’t do. And he keeps getting better. He’s an all-time great.’’

Acquiring Kevin Love in a trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves would come with some serious questions for the Bulls. Even Anthony has some weaknesses, especially on
defense — something Thibodeau eats, sleeps and stresses to his team.

But James playing alongside Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah? That would make the Bulls the team to beat in the Eastern Conference.

For now, though, it’s just a dream.

Email: jcowley@suntimes.com

Twitter: @suntimes_hoops



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