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LEBRON'S FIRST CLIENT: TED GINN

LeBron James thinks he can help friend Ted Ginn become a bigger star.

Further broadening his business portfolio, the All-Star forward for the Cavaliers has signed Ginn, the former Ohio State speedster now a rookie wide receiver for the Dolphins, to a marketing contract.

Ginn is the first athlete signed by LRMR Marketing, James' budding sports marketing company.

"To do this, not so much for money but to maybe get on a Sprite commercial with LeBron or anything, that'd be fun," Ginn said.

Ginn, who signed a five-year contract worth more than $13-million last week, said knowing James for years made the decision an easy one.

"A lot of football guys don't get a lot of marketing their first couple years coming out," he said. "You've got to do big things to do that. He's been a good friend to me for the last four or five years, so the best thing for me is get involved with someone I know."

James formed the marketing firm two years ago with childhood friends Richard Paul, Maverick Carter and Randy Mims. The company takes its name from the initials of the foursome's first names.

The group's goal was to heighten James' profile through endorsement deals and business deals. The 22-year-old star, who led Cleveland to its first NBA Finals last season, is one of the world's most recognized athletes.

While not on as grand of a scale, LRMR is hoping to enhance Ginn's image with business ventures.

Maverick Carter, LRMR's CEO, said the first step will be acquiring a shoe and apparel deal for Ginn, who skipped his senior season with the Buckeyes to turn pro. LRMR plans to sign other pro athletes, Carter added.

CLIPPERS: Forward Elton Brand ruptured his left Achilles' tendon and will undergo surgery

HORNETS: Free agent guard Jannero Pargo agreed to a two-year contract with the team as a backup guard. The deal is reportedly worth nearly $4-million with a player option in the second year.

MAVERICKS: The team agreed to a two-year, $4-million deal with guard-forward Eddie Jones.

TIMBERWOLVES: The team finalized its buyout of Troy Hudson's contract. It will pay the guard just under $6-million this season and just more than $6.3-million next season

WARRIORS: Center Kosta Perovic, the 38th pick in the 2006 draft, and forward Austin Croshere were signed.

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