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LeBron James: Chicago, Don't Stoop To New York's Level

BOSTON - MAY 13:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers stands by in the fourth quarter against the Boston Celtics during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals of the 2010 NBA playoffs at TD Garden on May 13, 2010 in Boston, Massachusetts. The Celtics defeated the Cavaliers 94-85.  NOTE TO USER: User Expressly Acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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Brian ChappattaCorrespondent IIMay 25, 2010

Chicago Bulls fans have no reason to feel entitled to LeBron James. 

And yet the talk of Chicago is why James' best opportunity to "win right now" is in a Bulls uniform, paired with Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah. Even President Barack Obama has made a pitch to the NBA superstar, saying he would be a great fit on the Bulls.

What is this, the 2016 Olympics? Websites are dedicated to the cause, celebrities are getting in on the action, and in the process, teams are shunning other superstars like Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson, who actually could be better fits in certain cities.

New York has sacrificed performance on the court for the past few years just to position themselves for LeBron. The Knicks think they are the only destination fit for the king. Now the Bulls are thinking the same thing. And that mentality has to change.

It's rare enough for star players to swap teams in bulk. What the Celtics did in acquiring Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen was an exception, and one of the biggest deals in the history of the league. Pau Gasol going to the Lakers was a boneheaded move by the Grizzlies.

That's not to say James is staying in Cleveland. The Cavaliers can offer him $30 million more than any other team, but, if the rumors are true, James is more concerned with winning than the money. That may or may not be the case (LeBron has indicated he wants to be a billionaire), but it makes sense that becoming an NBA champion would make him worth even more than he already is.

But Bulls fans need to calm down. Chicago is a great sports town, and particularly a fantastic basketball town. That does not mean James would be a fool to not come to the Windy City.

In fact, it's more important that the Bulls don't distance themselves from other potential free agents. Again, Chicago should not think it is entitled to anyone in this year's free agent class, but to pick up Bosh—the best fit for this squad—would make the Bulls a legitimate contender in the Eastern Conference.

It'e no secret the Bulls have failed in the past in getting free agents to Chicago—hence why they got Ron Mercer and not Tracy McGrady. Of course, not getting a single big name would be disappointing, especially considering the attractiveness of having a franchise point guard in place, and the amount of cap room freed up by the front office.

The lure of a coaching vacancy is no longer unique to Chicago, as the Cavaliers fired Mike Brown. There's talk now of Phil Jackson coming back to the Bulls in pursuit of more NBA Championships behind the star power of James and Rose.

Yet this is all speculation. The Bulls are a franchise on the rise, regardless of James' free agency decision. Don't be surprised if the Bulls get him; don't be surprised if they don't. But what has been the most surprising so far is the New York state-of-mind running rampant through Chicago since Boston knocked the king out of the playoffs.

The Bulls have set themselves up perfectly for this summer, but it does not mean things will go perfectly. And if they don't, no one should be pouting like a spoiled child over why LeBron was foolish not to play in the Windy City. 

Because that is a bunch of hot air.

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