From Chris Broussard, ESPN.com: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh are teaming up together on the Miami Heat, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. ESPN’s Shelley Smith also reported the pending move through independent sources. Whether LeBron James, the kingpin of this summer’s celebrated free-agent class, will join them remains to be seen. James will announce his decision at 9 p.m. ET Thursday during a one-hour special on ESPN. Wade and Bosh are expected to announce their decision on Wednesday afternoon, according to the source, and continue to lobby James, along with Heat president Pat Riley, to join them in Miami, despite the financial complexities involved for the Heat to make room for all three.
From ESPN.com: Kevin Durant says he’s reached a deal on a five-year contract extension with the Oklahoma City Thunder. On his Twitter page Wednesday, Durant said that “God Is Great, me and my family came a long way.” Durant’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, told ESPN.com’s J.A. Adande the deal will be worth about $86 million over five years. The specific amount will be determined when the salary cap numbers are finalized on July 8, when Durant can officially sign the contract. The deal does not contain an opt-out clause after the fourth season, which means Oklahoma City holds Durant’s rights through the 2015-16. The new contract kicks in starting with the 2011-12 campaign.
From Sekou Smith, Hangtime Blog: Every second we wait for a decision from LeBron James is a small victory for Kobe Bryant. Seriously. The longer James waits to make a decision on where he will play the next five or six seasons of his career, the more time we have to admire Bryant and not only what he and the Los Angeles Lakers have accomplished and what might be in store as they chase a championship three-peat next season.
From Dexter Fishmore, Silver Screen and Roll: Starting this Friday, you’ll once again get to watch grown men playing basketball with the word Lakers across the front of their jerseys. That’s when the Lakers – or “Lakers” – will begin a five-game summer league sked in Las Vegas. If you’d like a visual metaphor to help you anticipate the experience, imagine receiving a Tiffany’s jewelry box and opening it to find a chunk of cubic zirconium therein. You’re not getting a Tiffany’s rock. Not even close. Because of the packaging, though, your brain might fool itself for a second or two into thinking you’re about to enjoy some lavish gift. (Incidentally, this is totally my plan if I can ever find a girl to propose to and someone to lend me a Tiffany’s box.)
From Brian Kamenentzky, Land O’ Lakers: Halfway through the season, that so many fans would be worried about the state of contract negotiations with Derek Fisher would have seemed odd. He was struggling and at the center of multiple criticisms surrounding the team, from weakness at point guard to a lack of consistent outside shooting. Then the playoffs rolled around, and Fish, as he tends to do, stepped up, highlighted by a monster fourth quarter in Game 3 of the Finals in Boston. Suddenly, the notion of a Fisherless Lakers squad is enough to make people nervous.
From Mike Trudell, Basket Blog: On July 6, 1980, Pau Gasol was born in Barcelona, Spain. Thirty years later, he’s a two-time NBA champion. The Spaniard just completed quite a year, having played a critical role in his first NBA championship a few weeks before turning 29 when L.A. beat Orlando 4-1 in the 2009 Finals, and then offering his best season as a professional and ultimately winning his second straight title with a 4-3 defeat of Boston in the 2010 Finals.
From Ramona Shelbourne, ESPN Los Angeles: Derek Fisher speaks in paragraphs, not sound bites. Like his remarkable career, every answer is filled with an uncommon depth and thoughtfulness. But on this afternoon, I expected him to be talked out. Less than a week had passed since the Lakers had closed out the Boston Celtics in Game 7 of the NBA Finals to win their second straight title, and Fisher had spent most of that time on a dizzying coast-to-coast run of public appearances. After meeting with Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and coach Phil Jackson for an exit interview last Thursday, he flew to Las Vegas for three days of meetings with the NBA Players Association meetings, helping the union draft a new collective bargaining proposal.
From Kevin Ding, OC Register: The job, believe it or not, will be Steve Blake’s to lose. And Blake is no loser. He certainly has not won Derek Fisher’s five NBA titles, but Blake has similar solidity that makes him the Lakers’ ideal free-agent addition. The reason it’ll be his job to lose is simple: Even assuming that Fisher and the Lakers eventually find that number that results in his re-signing, the club will go into next season expecting Blake to be on the court more at lead guard than Fisher … the very same way Jordan Farmar was expected to be but wasn’t good enough to be. Blake, 30, is good enough, experienced enough and defensively tough enough to be a wizard when Farmar, Shannon Brown and Sasha Vujacic have only been the tin man, scarecrow and cowardly lion.
From Mark Medina, Los Angeles Times: A season after Ron Artest stormed cross court to get in Kobe Bryant’s face during the 2009 NBA playoffs, Bryant welcomed his arrival in L.A. with open arms. Four seasons after Raja Bell clotheslined him in a Lakers’ playoff game against the Phoenix Suns, Bryant apparently is doing the same thing. Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported that both the Lakers and Bell share a “strong mutual interest to reach agreement on a deal,” with Bryant being what Wojnarowski described as a “strong advocate” for a deal to happen. For those wondering how Bryant can go from enemy to friend in a heartbeat simply don’t understand that he views adversaries and teammates simply in the context of basketball. It’s fair to say Bryant doesn’t have many friends in the game within his inner circle, although he created bonds with several teammates in the 2008 Olympics.
It says on the ESPN website that Wade and Bosh are giving a press conference now. I can’t watch it here in Singapore, what are they saying?
Danny: It was an interview with Wilbon. There really wasn’t any real news in the press conference. Just why they chose Miami… it’s not about the money… Wade wanted to contend for another title… Bosh is going to miss Toronto… blah blah blah
Miami will be interesting to watch next season.
Phillip and Darius : What’s your take on the “1 hour special” Lebron has pulled together to announce his free agency? Is this something Jordan would have done in his time? Is it me or is this guy the ultimate non-Team player?
As I said in the previous thread, with Wade and Bosh, the Heat are definitely a playoff team, but it’s going to matter who their teammates are.
If you surround Wade and Bosh (two “A” players) with a bunch of C-/D players, they’re not going to win a 7 game playoff series where weaknesses get dissected and exploited.
The best example of that was that 1996 -1997 Rockets “super” team that had Clyde Drexler, Charles Barkley, and Hakeem. The only problem was, they had Matt Maloney as their point guard. So they got into a 7 game series, against the Jazz (which, on paper, weren’t as talented) and the Jazz basically made Maloney beat them, and he couldn’t.
I really don’t have an opinion on Lebron’s “selection special”. I do think this type of event will cause some fans to sour on him from a media/personality standpoint, but that comes with the territory when you’re as famous as James. The last truly deified athlete was Jordan (or maybe Brett Favre – but even he’s seen some backlash in recent years) and I don’t think the media will ever allow another athlete to be as teflon as his Airness. The media will build you up, but they’ll also eventually find the cracks in your armor and exploit those for ratings just like they exhaulted your greatness for ratings. It’s a profit business, you know. I try not to get too caught up in it because I’m a fan of the game and how the players play. I really try not to care as much about their “personality”. Not to say it doesn’t matter, but in my eyes it matters much less than how a player performs.
And on that note, I’m a fan of Lebron’s game and think he’s a special player. However, I think it’s time for him to round out his game and truly reach his potential or the basketball purists will start to turn on him like some fans already have. He needs to work on his flaws and become a better shooter and post player. He also needs to show that he can be as much a threat off the ball or in non isolation/P&R situations at teh top of the key. He’s already become an excellent defender, but there are still improvements to be made there as well. I’m not trying to trash Lebron here – he’s an excellent player whose physical gifts and natural basketball talent have him at the top of the league in terms of ability and statistical results. But, as a fan of the game, I think there is more for him to do. This isn’t a Kobe/Lebron thing either. I appreciate both for who they are as players and for what they’re able to accomplish while on the court. But, I do feel like Lebron can grow more and I wonder if he’ll end being like Shaq (not that Lebron is lazy – by all accounts he’s not) in that his natural gifts will carry him a very long way, but he could seriously be one of the best players ever if the (small) gaps in his game close and he becomes an even greater all around threat. But he’s still so young and there is time. I also think he can benefit from playing for a better coach that will challenge him more ala Phil did MJ and Kobe and Pop did Duncan.
On building a team around Wade and Bosh
Brought over from the last thread
I would have to see how Miami fills out their roster before I would say that they are contenders in the east with Bosh and Wade. Yes that is a very dynamic duo, but they really do not have any one else besides Beasley, Chalmers. They have a qualifying offer for Joel Anthony so they can retain him to play center.
Depending on Joel Anthony’s contract (if they keep him which I bet they do) they will have about 11-14M dollars to finish filling out the roster, plus minimum salary players. Thats not a lot of money, and there are some big holes to fill on that roster.
A wing player that can spread the floor would be the biggest hole in the starting line up. Mike Miller would be a great fit but takes about half of their remaining cap space. They also need a bench. They have Beasley (assuming he’s not involved in a sign and trade for Bosh) to provide some scoring off the bench, but thats about it. They definitely need a back up 4/5 to provide depth in the front court to compete with the front lines of Boston, LA, Orl. They also need a solid back up PG, and back up wings.
That’s a lot of holes to fill. It will be interesting to see what Riley can do to build a team around Wade/Bosh.
On Lebron: I don’t really care about Lebron’s 1 hour press conference, but I could see where some fans will sour on him because of it. it just makes it seem like the only thing bigger than Lebron’s physical talent is his ego (which is probably true).
“But he’s still so young and there is time. I also think he can benefit from playing for a better coach that will challenge him more ala Phil did MJ and Kobe and Pop did Duncan.”
I agree; I guess we’ll find out if he realizes that, too.
Darius and Exhelodrvr –
Is Riles (or his proxy) the coach who can do that for LBJ?
This LBJ/ESPN special seems beyond odd to me. I guess top athletes need to continually explore the upper limits of – not their talent! – but their immaturity & egomania. Whatever.
Darius and exhelo,
Do you guys think that B Scott qualifies as a “better coach” who will challenge Lebron?
I don’t think we know yet what his priority is.
Is it to reach his individual basketball potential,
Is it to win a significant number of titles, or
Is it to be King James and maximize his King James-ness.
I think RIley could push him to make those improvements if he were coaching. I don’t know how much impact he would have as GM/Team President. I suspect Scott wouldn’t have that same impact.
I think there is a lesser chance that it could also come from within, or from the drive/influence of his teammates (if he ended up with a superstar teammate who had a superstar work ethic).
#9 and #10.
I think Scott is a demanding coach that will ask a lot of Lebron. That said, at least some (and probably a lot) of Lebron’s development will come from the type’s of schemes he’s asked to play in and how much he’s asked to do that is outside of his current comfort zone. The beauty of the Triangle is that it puts wing players in a variety of positions on the court and if that player’s game can expand he ends up with an all around game that shows a wide range of skill. Kobe and MJ had to be excellent ball handlers, good enough three point shooters, strong mid range players, P&R ball handlers, strong movers off the ball, and post up players. This offense challenged them to develop more of their games while also identifying “sweet spots” where they could develop go to moves (MJ’s fade away; Kobe’s pull up from 18ft). To this point in his career, Lebron has mainly been asked to be a creator of offense in isolation or P&R and has worked mostly off the dribble. The screens he run off of are mostly just ways to get him free to make a catch, not screens that open him up to score on the move. Will Scott’s offense (if LBJ stays with the Cavs) be different? History says no. That doesn’t mean that Lebron won’t improve these other aspects of his game or that Scott wouldn’t challenge him to do so. But to me, he doesn’t get that nudge that a different scheme would potentially provide.
Wait, once Miami has reached the cap-limit, can’t they go over that using the MLE or Bi-Annual Exception?
Off-topic but Chicago fans must be irate right now. They gut their roster, send Hinrich and Seraphin off to Washington for nothing and they could end up with Boozer and JJ Redick. Their franchise has gotten so many gut punches from the Kobe rumors, Wallace’s contract, Gordon’s defection and so on. Schadenfreude ftw!!
@13- My understanding is that those exceptions can only be used if the team is over the cap as of July 1st, Like the Lakers or Celtics, if on July 1st they are under the cap they cannot, Heat, Knicks, Nets and so on can only go up to the cap limit or use the vet. min.
Maybe I am undervaluing Chris Bosh, maybe not, but to me, Miami is still a 1 man show. Bosh couldn’t get his team to the playoffs IN THE EAST last season – when eigth place was .500 ball (Chicago went 41-41). I know he got somewhat injured throughout the season, but he wasn’t good enough in a very weak conference with some (albeit not a ton of) talent around him, to even make the playoffs.
Will he be an upgrade for Miami over Jermaine Oneal – most definitely. But that is because J’Oneal is washed up. But I don’t think he is going to make Miami contenders with Wade the same way Shaq instantly did in 2005 and 2006. He isn’t in the same stratosphere of ability level.
Dwayne Wade, however, is a MONSTER. An absolute MONSTER. Every time I watch him play I drool a little bit. He is in my top five favorite players in the league. And I am sure Bosh will rejuvenate Wade for next season – and we might even see an MVP campaign out of Wade – and if they get lucky and find some cheap talent, that team could be a top four seed in the East.
But here is the problem. They have no bigs – none – to guard D. Howard out of Orlando. And they don’t even have a wing to guard Pierce in Boston. They really are going to be a dangerously undangerous team – with cap problems – unless they absolutely get another Monster.
If Lebron decides to go their tomorrow – they win the east next year – and its not close. But if not, they have two good guys, Michael Beasley, and a bunch of scrubs.
I also can’t say much about the Lebron press conference – Kobe did the same type of stuff in 2004, and MJ “retired” 3 times through press conferences. People are going to watch it, and he is going to piss off a lot of fans, but that is his perogative and bets are between Chicago or Cleveland.
My next question is this – the Lakers still need another big body (we can’t rely on Bynum to stay healthy) and another serviceable guard in their rotation. Who are they going to get? Cuz unless Lebron goes to Miami, its Boston/Orlando in the east followed closely by Miami/Atlanta, and in the west its Portland/OKC/LA/Houston next year. The west will still be scary, and we are going to have to man up and be ready to compete for that 3rd straight.
Anand – since they were under the cap this year, they get no MLE or Bi-annual this year, and once they are over the cap can only offer vet min contracts.
Darius and exhelo,
Thanks Cdog and Isolate. Well in that case Miami has some interesting times ahead. They should seriously look at Haywood and Miller for rounding out that starting line-up. TDA favourite Wright might also sign up as a do-it-all swingman. Maybe Dampier too after his inevitable buy-out. And they might still get eviscerated by the Celtics.
Sorry for the multipost guys, but this made me snort coffee up my nose: Stan Van Gundy on the Bosh’s decision : “All these guys would love to be The Man, but it’s not that easy as a lot of them have found.He (Bosh) has been following him (Wade) around for two weeks like his lap dog.”
the thing is lbj doesn’t have a lot of time left, not if he wants to accumulate rings. in fact, he probably can’t catch kobe or mj even if he starts winning championships starting next season — which is not a given at all.
Am I the only one that’s seriously impressed with how Durant has handled his negotiations?
Maybe I just fall for the strong silent type, but the way Durant did this just screams “this is where I want to be and this is my team”.
Lebron should “Witness” that and maybe take some notes.
@ 16. Press conferences like MJ’s and Kobe’s are not usually part of an hour long special to announce where the person is going to sign. A press conference often is to allow the media (not just ESPN ) to ask the individual questions about news that has already been made.
This seems more like Wayne’s World than the real world, with the the myriad ESPN personalities bowing dramatically and proclaiming “We’re not worthy! We’re not worthy!” for nearly 60 minutes before “The King” reveals the one nugget of information that anyone cares about.
Anand – ” … would love to be The Man, but it’s not that easy as a lot of them have found…”
I remember MJ saying something similar about Pippin while Jordan was away chasing his MLB fantasies.
The Dude Abides says
17. I wonder what Miami can offer their own unrestricted FAs like Haslem and Wright. If they go over the cap signing other FAs, are they constrained by the cap with those two?
20, 22. Yeah, SVG’s quotes were hilarious and also meaningful. He contrasted Kobe’s and KD’s behavior with Bosh’s and LeRegent’s.
There are appriximately 120 players that were in the NBA and became one or another sort of free agent. Only about 20 of them have agreed to a contract so far.
In addition to the remaining 100 unsigned veterans, there are approximately 200 players who were not in the NBA last year who are hoping to sign an NBA contract for next season.
Rather than hearing every possible detail about a few, who mostly have re-signed with their original teams, it is more interesting to me to hear about the struggles facing the other 300 for approximately 100 remaining slots.
In particular, I fear that the unfortunate hype surrounding Lebron will end up very badly for him in the long run.
A new post is up. It’s mail bag time.
Igor Avidon says
I’m tired of the LeBron circus like most others here, but we should consider the fact that LeBron is a world-wide brand already. He is more than just another human being now. He’s got marketing and PR people pushing his buttons. He does have an influence behind the scenes – but I’m not talking about his entourage, I’m talking about people who wear business suits and make athletes work for them. I’m almost 100% certain that this whole hoopla was designed by all the companies that invested heavily in the LBJ brand. Hate the circus, but don’t take away from what LeBron is – he is a special player that comes around once in a great while. If he was suiting up in our home colors, you’d be worshipping him the same way Cleveland natives do.
If Lebron goes to Miami, and the Lakers still win the championship next year, what will Simmons say about Kobe then? Can’t wait. Bron Bron ain’t winning a ring against Kobe. The Mamba will make sure of that.