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Bulls' first meeting could be with Chris Bosh
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff

Chris Bosh

 

Associated Press file

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Published: 6/27/2010 11:59 PM

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The Bulls' first meeting during the NBA's free-agent negotiating period may be with Toronto's Chris Bosh.

Teams can start making direct contact with free agents beginning at 12:01 a.m. Eastern time Thursday. It's not clear where or when a meeting with Bosh would take place, but the Bulls would like to sit down with the all-star power forward quickly.

The Bulls are hoping to get a free-agent commitment before they meet with LeBron James in northeastern Ohio later this week. Bosh is their first target, with Atlanta shooting guard Joe Johnson a likely second choice.

According to multiple reports, James plans to host six teams for recruiting pitches, beginning with the Nets and Knicks on Thursday. Cleveland, Miami and the Los Angeles Clippers are the other teams expected to meet with James. The Bulls are hoping to be the last team to make a presentation to the two-time MVP.

One issue is the Bulls probably won't have enough cap room to offer two maximum-salary contracts. So they'll either have to convince someone to take less money or make another trade. The Bulls conceivably could send a player or two back in a sign-and-trade deal to land one of the free agents.

The New York Times on Sunday quoted an anonymous NBA executive predicting James and Bosh will both sign with the Bulls. Those predictions should be taken with a grain of salt because a New York radio reporter claimed later in the day another unnamed executive thinks Bosh is ticketed for Miami.

ESPN.com reported the Knicks plan to meet with Johnson shortly after the free-agent negotiating period begins. It's possible New York is Johnson's backup plan if the Bulls are able to land James and Bosh and can't pull off a deal to create extra cap room.