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LeBron announcement gets national audience

Two-time MVP LeBron James, right, chatting with business partner Rich Paul, has been courted by six teams this summer.

Associated Press

Two-time MVP LeBron James, right, chatting with business partner Rich Paul, has been courted by six teams this summer.

AKRON, Ohio — LeBron James' dramatic and historic free agency will have a fitting conclusion: on TV.

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ESPN reported Tuesday night that James will announce his plans during a one-hour special on its network at 9 p.m. Thursday. ESPN's Chris Broussard said James' "representatives" contacted the network and asked for the unusual arrangement.

It is not known which team James will join or where the announcement will take place.

The two-time MVP and marquee name in a stellar free agent class featuring Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh recently met with six teams: the Cavaliers, Heat, Bulls, Clippers, Knicks and Nets.

James' publicist Keith Estabrook and ESPN spokesman Josh Krulewitz declined comment.

Broussard reported that James' group requested they be allowed to sell sponsorship for the special with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

James' agent Leon Rose and business manager Maverick Carter did not return phone calls and e-mails seeking comment.

Earlier, all his fans got was a tweet out of James.

James opened a Twitter account and posted his first message on the social networking site. Although he provided no information about his plans, he offered something as the NBA awaits the decision on where he'll play next.

"Hello World, the Real King James is in the Building," said the tweet from KingJames, which by 11 p.m. had more than 187,000 followers.

The Nets, one of James' pursuers, might have a backup plan if he rejects their offer: Mark Bartelstein, the agent for Knicks forward David Lee, said New Jersey has talked with him several times since free agency began Thursday. The Nets might also go after Jazz forward Carlos Boozer.

Magic finally gets Duhon

ORLANDO — The Magic tried to sign Chris Duhon in free agency two years ago only to watch him go to New York.

It finally got its man.

Duhon reached an agreement with the Magic for a $15 million, four-year deal, his agent said. Teams can't officially sign free agents until Thursday.

Agent Kevin Bradbury said that the chance to play for a championship contender was enough to sway Duhon to Orlando this time. Duhon fills a much-needed role behind starter Jameer Nelson and could step into the starting spot should an injury occur.

"The last time Chris was a free agent, the Magic obviously pursued him hard," Bradbury said. "Chris didn't forget that, and he has a lot of respect for that team. The Magic called right away."

Duhon spent the past two seasons starting for the Knicks, never really living up to expectations and falling out of favor with coach Mike D'Antoni. He averaged 7.4 points and 5.6 assists last season.

Duhon's first four seasons came with the Bulls, who drafted him in 2004. The Magic tried to sign Duhon in 2008 before he went to New York.

Waiting on Wade

DAVIE — Dwyane Wade walked down the stairs, trying to remain stoic as he approached the crush of 150 people chanting his name.

He failed miserably.

"We want Wade! We want Wade! We want Wade!"

As soon as Wade heard those sounds and saw the group of Heat employees waving signs and wearing jerseys bearing his name, he lifted his arms skyward and didn't even bother trying to contain his smile.

"I see I can't get rid of you all," Wade said.

They hope that's a permanent arrangement.

Still deliberating on whether to return to the Heat or sign with another team — his hometown Bulls seem to be front-runners if the 2006 NBA finals MVP decides to seek employment elsewhere — Wade offered no insight on the process and declined to take any questions.

CLIPPERS HIRE COACH: The Clippers reached an agreement in principle with Vinny Del Negro to become coach. The team said in an e-mail that more details would be announced today.

Del Negro was fired by the Bulls in May after going 82-82 in two seasons and making two postseason appearances.

Mike Dunleavy quit as Clippers coach midway through last season, and his assistant, Kim Hughes, finished the season as interim coach.

PISTONS: First-round draft pick Greg Monroe signed. Terms were not disclosed. The 6-foot-11 center/forward averaged 16.1 points, 9.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 34 games as a sophomore for Georgetown last season.

LeBron announcement gets national audience 07/06/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, July 7, 2010 12:06am]
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