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Six Suitors For LeBron: Where Do The Bulls Stand?

In the Tribune, KC Johnson runs down six teams that will be vying for LeBron James’ services starting Thursday. Perhaps most surprising on the list is the Nets; LeBron’s good, but they’re starting from a 12-win base. Here’s Johnson’s take on the Bulls’ chances:

James filed paperwork to switch his jersey number from 23 to 6 next season, which means he’s coming here for sure, right? More seriously, James grew up a fan of the Bulls and Michael Jordan — whose No. 23 is retired — has talked openly of his love for the city and has gushed about the team’s young core after both regular-season and playoff games. He even complimented rookie Taj Gibson.

With a 21-year-old All-Star guard in Derrick Rose and a no-nonsense winner in Joakim Noah, the Bulls are coming off back-to-back playoff appearances. Barring another trade, the Bulls also have roughly $14 million to offer another significant free agent.

Historically, the Bulls haven’t fared well in free agency, although a surreptitious trip to Newport Beach, Calif., in July 2004 by Paxson and team Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf impressed Kobe Bryant.