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Nets Upbeat After Their Free Agent Sojourn to Cleveland and Chicago

It was a busy day, a jaunt from New Jersey to Ohio to Illinois and back aboard a Gulfstream V, seeing LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, even trying to squeeze in a meeting with David Lee.

At the end, the six Nets officials--two Russian businessmen, a hip-hop icon, the winningest coach in NBA history, the president whose looking for one last legacy and a marketing maven--seemed very satisfied, particularly about their chances of securing LeBron James signature July 8.  And while they said little on the record, others in the organization were not so reserved. After talking to their bosses, they used phrases like "definitely in the game", "tremendous touching on spectacular", "a grand slam", "front runner" and "it went extremely well".  Of course, the Knicks feel good about their chances, too, and James still has to meet with four other teams, including the Cavaliers. But none of them have Jay-Z, who spent 20 minutes alone with James after the others left. 

James didn't comment, but Chris Bosh, the Nets last meeting of the day, complimented the group, tweeting, "New Jersey meeting was very good as well. These guys really know how to sell a franchise."  Wade also told writers he was "impressed" with the Nets' presentation.

And there was another bummer for the Knicks Thursday: someone leaked the PowerPoint presentation they developed for James.

What's next? James reportedly told the Nets to be prepared to offer two max contracts--which would require freeing up $3.7 million more in cap space.  Word is that at least part of them can be accomplished through a trade of Kris Humphries. Also, expect meetings this weekend with Amare Stoudemire and Carlos Boozer, then LeBron's decision Monday.