*The date has been circled on calendars around the NBA for years. July 1, 2010: The day LeBron James becomes a free agent.

The day the league might begin to change forever.

“I think the landscape could really shift,” former Phoenix general manager Steve Kerr said.

Shopping season starts at 12:01 a.m. EDT Thursday with James as the biggest prize, a two-time MVP just reaching his prime and one of the most sought-after players ever to hit the free agent market in any sport.

There’s so much more.

Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, James’ classmates from the 2003 draft – and future teammates in Miami if they choose. Perennial All-Stars such as Dirk Nowitzki, Amare Stoudemire and Joe Johnson.

NBA champions and Olympic gold medalists, now in search of something else for their collections: a maximum-salary contract. And teams are positioned at the starting line, just waiting for the race to start.

“We’ve never had anything like this in my time that I can remember,” New Jersey Nets president Rod Thorn said. “There have been big-time free agents before, but never this many teams that are trying to woo them. So it’s unprecedented.”

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