While the players union and NBA owners reconvened for talks on Thursday afternoon, the buzz in the basketball world was generated by something else: LeBron James' Twitter feed.
LeBron has never shied away from using the social media platform to stir up some discussion and his tweets on Thursday were no exception.
JCrossover4 is the Twitter handle of Jamal Crawford, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent once the lockout ends. Crawford, 31, just finished his 11th season in the NBA, scored 14.2 points off the bench for the Atlanta Hawks and posted a 14.2 player efficiency rating (PER).
Crawford and LeBron have spent some time together this offseason, playing in various charity exhibitions around the country. Crawford recently played with LeBron at the South Florida All-Star Classic earlier this month.
It's interesting that LeBron singled out Crawford because his value would be redundant on the Heat. Why do they need another ball-dominant wing scorer next to LeBron and Dwyane Wade? Beats me.
But LeBron wasn't finished. Within a few more minutes, he fired off another tweet, this time calling on Steve Nash's services.
Here's the kicker: Nash isn't a free agent. He's under contract with the Phoenix Suns for 2011-12 at $11.7 million, which will be his final year before free agency. If the Heat were interested, they'd have to trade for him and match his contract with something similar. The only contracts on the Heat's books that are remotely close to Nash? LeBron, Wade and Chris Bosh, who will each make around $16 million next season. Player acquisitions are a complicated animal in the NBA.
The Heat may need an upgrade at point guard, but it's the longest of longshots that Nash would be that guy. Mario Chalmers, the Heat's point guard who earned a starting gig in Game 6 of the Finals, will be a restricted free agent. Then there's also Norris Cole, the Heat's first-round draft pick, who is a point guard from Cleveland State. Of course, any player in their right mind would want Nash on their team, but they usually don't vocalize it on Twitter, knowing he's not on the market.
Also, we don't know what the new CBA will bring once the lockout is settled. Perhaps the Heat will target Crawford if there's a mid-level exception in place, but the organization would be far better off pursuing a center. Zydrunas Ilgauskas announced his retirement recently and Erick Dampier will be a free agent.
Really, the tweets were mostly bizarre considering the timing of the lockout. But it did get people talking. One of them was Portland Trail Blazers big man LaMarcus Aldridge, who is hosting a charity game in Portland in early November:
Oklahoma City Thunder guard James Harden also chimed in:
In any normal offseason, Harden's sentiment would be shared by the league office. But James can talk about other teams' players and free agents without being fined or punished by the league for tampering. Why?
Because the lockout is still going on.