Wednesday, June 2, 2010

LeBron says Cavs have edge in free agency

CLEVELAND – One month from the start of the NBA's free agency frenzy, LeBron James has handicapped his field of suitors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the pack.

In his first interview since the Cavs' season ended with a shocking, second-round loss to Boston, James told CNN's Larry King that Cleveland has "an edge" to re-sign him when the greatest collection of free agents in league history hits the open market on July 1.

King, who interviewed James at the two-time MVP's home near Akron on Tuesday, asked the superstar if Cleveland has "an edge going in?"

"Absolutely," James said in a portion of the interview released by the network. "Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it's comfortable. So I've got a lot of memories here. And so it does have an edge."

The interview will air Friday on CNN's "Larry King Live," capping the program's 25th anniversary celebration on the network.

Other than his postgame interview, James has not talked to the media since the Cavs were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, who then knocked off Orlando and will meet the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals starting Thursday.

The 25-year-old James heads a star-studded free agency summer class featuring Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Carlos Boozer and others. James has not given any hints about his plans, saying only that he and his "team" of advisers will weigh all the options.

The New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls and New Jersey Nets are among a group of teams expected to make a strong push for James.

James has spent all seven seasons as a pro with the Cavs, who offered him a contract extension last year and can give him $30 million more than any other team in a maximum-length deal. Cleveland recently fired coach Mike Brown, who led the team to 143 wins the past two seasons but couldn't get them to the finals either year.

James has kept a low profile since Cleveland's season ended. He has not commented on Brown's firing and he did not speak to reporters when he helped judge an amateur slam dunk contest during a public appearance on Saturday. — AP

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