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How Big Will Jay-Z Play in Free Agency?

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Getty Images

Everywhere Mikhail Prokhorov went his first day in New York, there was Jay-Z: having lunch with the new owner at the rapper's 40-40 Club, by his side at the Draft Lottery, having breakfast with Mayor Bloomberg. The unspoken but heavily implied message: the rapper and the Russian will combine to recruit LeBron James (even if Jay-Z will be on a European tour starting July 2.)

Jay-Z told Prokhorov of his desire to play a "more active role" with the team, but Prokhorov seemed to suggest Jay-Z is likely to be more cheerleader than recruiter, telling reporters: "I think it’s more than enough that he is very passionate with the team. I think it’s management job to look for free agents, and with agents, it’s a professional job. But of course Jay-Z’s passion is additional advertisement for the team."  Prokhorov essentially left Jay-Z's role up to management ...and he may have just been steering well clear of tampering concerns.

Sonny Vaccaro is the sneaker guru who's known James since high school--as has Jay-Z.  He thinks the Nets investor will play a big role in swaying LeBron. "I don't think the Nets would be involved without Jay-Z," Vaccaro told The Post. "LeBron and Jay-Z is something that is inseparable and you almost have to include that in the equation."