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Reinsdorf will take part in key meeting with James
By Mike McGraw | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 6/29/2010 11:59 PM

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Bulls chairman Jerry Reinsdorf is planning to attend the team's upcoming meeting with LeBron James, king of the 2010 free agents.

Whether or not Bulls players Derrick Rose or Joakim Noah make the trip to Ohio to meet with James is still being determined.

The last time the Bulls chased a big-name free agent, Detroit's Ben Wallace in 2006, Reinsdorf stayed home and moved in later as a deal-closer. Bulls vice president of basketball operations John Paxson and former coach Scott Skiles handled the recruiting duties with Wallace.

The Bulls did sign Wallace to a four-year deal that summer, but the addition did not work out beyond the first season. Wallace was traded less than halfway through his contract.

This time, Paxson, general manager Gar Forman and new coach Tom Thibodeau are expected to help make the Bulls' pitch to James.

After months of speculation and anticipation, the NBA's free-agent negotiating period finally begins Wednesday at 11:01 p.m. Central time. James plans to host meetings with the Knicks, Nets, Clippers, Heat, Cavs and Bulls in the next few days, although no exact timetable has been announced.

The Bulls are hoping to be the last team to make a presentation to James. In the meantime, they are interested in visiting with Chris Bosh, Joe Johnson and Carlos Boozer, with the goal of getting a commitment before the meeting with James. If James decides to go elsewhere, the Bulls will try to pair Johnson with one of the power forwards.

Rumor mill: Tuesday featured another stream of questionable rumors. It started with a story on that told of a free-agent summit in Miami last weekend between James, Bosh and Dwyane Wade. The three allegedly discussed playing together for the Heat, but did not make any firm plans.

A few hours after that story was posted, The Miami Herald wrote that Wade spent the weekend in Chicago, according to one of his representatives. Meanwhile, James was spotted at a New York nightclub last weekend, so the summit story may not add up.

Bulls odds: The Bulls still believe they have a good chance of signing James, mostly because of a roster that already includes Rose, Noah, Luol Deng and Taj Gibson. James grew up rooting for the Bulls and is said to be intrigued by the idea of following in Michael Jordan's footsteps.

Meanwhile, Brian Windhorst of the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that a source close to James told him the Cavaliers are still the frontrunner. The newspaper's LeBron-O-Meter moved from "Oh-Oh" to the more middle-of-the road "Keep 'Em Guessing." The editors did not select "Looking Good" or "Staying!"

Cavs coach: In other news, the Cavaliers are reportedly close to hiring Lakers assistant Brian Shaw to be their next head coach. The deal could be announced before Thursday.