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LeBron James tells Larry King that Cavs have an 'edge' in negotiations

One month from the start of the NBA's free agency frenzy, LeBron James has handicapped his field of suitors. The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the pack.

One month from the start of the NBA's free agency frenzy, LeBron James has handicapped his field of suitors.

The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the pack.

In his first interview since the Cavs' season ended with a shocking, second-round loss to Boston, James told CNN's Larry King that Cleveland has "an edge" to re-sign him when the greatest collection of free agents in league history hits the open market on July 1.

King, who interviewed James at the two-time MVP's home near Akron yesterday, asked the superstar if Cleveland has "an edge going in?"

"Absolutely," James said in a portion of the interview released by the network. "Because, you know, this city, these fans, I mean, have given me a lot in these seven years. And, you know, for me, it's comfortable. So I've got a lot of memories here. And so it does have an edge."

The interview will air Friday on CNN's "Larry King Live," capping the program's 25th anniversary celebration on the network.

Other than his postgame interview, James has not talked to the media since the Cavs were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs by the Boston Celtics, who then knocked off Orlando and will meet the Los Angeles Lakers in the finals starting tomorrow night.

James has spent all seven seasons as a pro with the Cavs, who offered him a contract extension last year and can give him $30 million more than any other team in a maximum-length deal. Cleveland recently fired coach Mike Brown, who led the team to 143 wins the past two seasons but couldn't get them to the finals either year.


* The trial pitting Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade against two former business partners who wanted $25 million after a restaurant deal went sour has come to a quick end, with the sides announcing a confidential settlement.

Miami-Dade County circuit judge Peter Adrien also said the sides worked out deals on other cases, which could include another trial that was scheduled in Miami brought by some of the ex-restaurant partners alleging Wade walked away from an agreement to license his name to for charter schools, and an antitrust suit over potential sales of memorabilia.

Before leaving the courtroom, Wade said he has not put together his "wish list" for the offseason, nor has he asked any other potential free agents about their plans.

Wade told the Chicago Tribune last week that he planned to talk with free agents LeBron James and Joe Johnson before making a decision on where he would sign.

ESPN The Magazine, citing a source, reported that Chris Bosh also would be part of those talks. Also, Amare Stoudemire, who is expected to opt out of the final year with Phoenix, told AOL Fanhouse that he planned to be part of those talks, too.

But Henry Thomas, who represents Wade and Bosh, says conversations among players are not the same as a "summit." Thomas said, "Dwyane never made reference to a summit."

* A judge set a court date for former NBA star Antoine Walker to face felony bad check charges for failing to repay almost $1 million in gambling debts to three Las Vegas casinos.

Walker's lawyer, Jonathan Powell, referred to Walker's Chapter 7 liquidation filing May 18 in Miami, and told Las Vegas Justice of the Peace Melanie Andress-Tobiasson that Walker will appear for arraignment June 14. Walker's bankruptcy claims $12.7 million in liabilities and $4.3 million in assets, including the 2006 NBA championship ring he won with the Miami Heat. In Nevada, Walker faces three criminal bad check charges that prosecutor Bernie Zadrowski said could get him probation or up to 12 years in prison if convicted.