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D-Day for Steve Francis

In looking for news regarding Steve Francis this morning, I noticed an interesting pattern.  See if you can pick up on it.

For over a week, Francis has been considering offers from four different NBA teams: the LA Clippers, Miami Heat, Houston Rockets and Dallas Mavericks.  Here are some sample headlines from newspapers around the country this morning, reputedly the day that Francis, a three time all star, will make his decision.

Miami Herald: Heat Among Suitors for Navarro, Francis

South Florida Sun Sentinel: Free agent Francis considering Heat

Fort Worth Star Telegram: Francis is Available, but Unlikely for Mavs

Houston Chronicle: Francis close to decision

Meanwhile, in the collected LA area newspapers (the LA Times, OC Register, LB Press Telegram, LA Daily News and Riverside Press-Enterprise) there was one 57 word blurb by LAT columnist Jerry Crowe, lodged between blurbs about Chris Mihm and Karch Kiraly.

Sam Cassell is old and broken down, Shaun Livingston is young and on the mend and free agent Steve Francis is said to value potential playing time over all other factors in his search for a new team, so what better fit than the Clippers?...  If it's minutes he wants, it's minutes he'll get with the Clippers...

It's better than nuthin, I suppose.  The headline on this column?  Beckham buzz could be short-lived:  a particularly painful and ominous title, given that I predicted that the Beckham Galaxy could soon eclipse the Clips in the zero sum ink game back in January.

Oh well, what are you going to do?  I guess I should be grateful.  The lack of interest in the Clippers shown by the dead tree guys leaves lots of sunlight so my little sapling can grow.

Back to Francis: to summarize the news being reported in other cities, agent Jeff Fried has collected all the offers from the various suitors and presented it to Stevie for a decision.  Some reports say he's narrowed the choice to two; most leave the group at four.  Miami is definitely in the mix, and Dallas appears to be least likely, but no one has given any ranking beyond that.  He 'slept on it' last night, and supposedly could make his decision today.  

One thing I have neglected to mention previously - Houston has already used about $3M of their MLE on Luis Scola, so they can only offer the rest, about $2.3M, for next season.  Does that give the Heat and Clippers an additional advantage over the Rockets?  Who knows?  I can't believe the Rockets are in the mix at all given their logjam at point guard.  If he signs with the Rockets, it's entirely about being in the city where he makes his home.

It's not clear whether the Heat prefer Francis to Juan Carlos Navarro, the Spaniard whose rights belong to the Wizards.  The Heat are exploring a trade for Navarro, while also pursuing Francis.