In somewhat differing but complementary views of backroom manuevering before "The Decision" Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! and Brian Windhorst of the Plain Dealer before him suggest that the Nets never really had a chance with LeBron James.
Windhorst says the Nets "were never in his top two", implying that whatever consideration New Jersey got was a favor to Jay-Z. Woj paints a more complex picture, saying the Nets "intrigued" James because of Mikhail Prokhorov's status as a "global tycoon", someone who could look him straight in the eye on first meeting. But they never matched the possibilities of South Beach and the blandishments of Pat Riley.
Woj also writes of how Jay-Z tried to persuade James that he believed in the Nets, that he "kept reminding LeBron that he cared too much about his own brand to ever associate it with something unworthy. The Nets were going to be a force."
Where the two accounts agree is that James' Olympic experience laid the groundwork for the "Three Kings" power play.
- Inside look at LeBron's free-agent coup - Adrian Wojnarowski - Yahoo! Sports
Inside 'The Decision': Miami's coup was a 'surprise' built on long-coveted goal of James, Wade and Bosh - Brian Windhorst - Cleveland Plain-Dealer