Updated: July 2, 2010, 7:55 PM ET

LeBron Meets With Clippers, Heat

Knicks' Billion-Dollar Pitch

By Henry Abbott

Experts seem to be fuzzy on one of the most important issues of free agency: Can a player earn more, on and off the court, if he plays in a top market like New York?

Michael Jordan earned the most of any player ever, and he was in neither New York nor Los Angeles. On the other hand, the NBA has seen a string of role players -- from Charles Oakley to Derek Fisher -- become national household names after connecting with the extraordinary number of wealthy fans of those big-city teams.

Advertising on a local TV broadcast costs a lot more in New York than in, say, Cleveland, because that audience is bigger and more valuable. Wouldn't the same principle apply?

Not really, according to Michael Jordan's agent, David Falk, who spoke to WFAN the other day (via Sports Radio Interviews). "As big as New York is," he explains, "this is not '96 anymore. Twitter, Facebook and all of the social media, I think you can be on Neptune and be a brand if your name was LeBron James. … New York offers New York. I think it is a really nice place, but I don't think the marketing advantages like you had 10 or 15 years ago area as relevant as today."

So which is it? Can LeBron James earn more in New York, compared to Chicago, Cleveland, Miami and the like? Aren't there armies of marketing geeks out there somewhere who can look into this?

Indeed there are.

Forbes reports the Knicks hired the consultants at Interbrand -- "the world's largest branding consultancy" -- to answer the question in a presentation the team made to James in Ohio on Thursday.

Read the rest of the story on TrueHoop.

Dirk's in Dallas; Mavs poised to deal

By Marc Stein

Free-agent forward Dirk Nowitzki arrived in Dallas after all Thursday night, after changing his travel itinerary for the third time in a 48-hour span.

As the Dallas Mavericks announced earlier Thursday, Nowitzki did detour to New York after leaving his native Germany, which allowed him to pay a quick visit to the offseason home of former teammate and close friend Steve Nash.

But Nowitzki's longtime adviser and personal coach Holger Geschwindner insisted that the trip changes stemmed solely from a "tight" schedule to plan the trip, as opposed to claims that Nowitzki preferred to avoid the hoopla of a fan rally at the airport that had been arranged for him.

"We came in today like we always planned and this was the only schedule that worked," Geschwindner told ESPN.com after he and Nowitzki landed at D/FW Airport after 10 p.m. local time. "We flew into New York because we have to go back through New York for a [sponsor commitment] in Hamburg when we go back to Germany."

Read the full story.


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