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Yesterday, LeBron‘s city of choice was Cleveland. The day before, it was Chicago. The day before that, was it was New Jersey.
Today, however, according to Newsday‘s Alan Hahn, LeBron has agreed to join Dwyane Wade in Chris Bosh in Miami. “The Big Three is here,” he tweeted.
ESPN’s Chris Broussard confimed Hahn’s claim by tweeting early Thursday: “Sources with knowledge of the situation indeed saying LeBron will join Wade and Bosh in Miami, barring a late change of heart.
Even with the new salary cap for next season — $58 million — LeBron and the other two stars would have to take a paycut, which has rarely happened in pro sports. And then the Heat would only have four guys on the books, with Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers potentially on their way out if the team engages in a sign-and-trade to give the big three more money. Even still, the Heat wouldn’t be able to offer all three max contracts. Per Chad Ford:
If the Heat can’t clear the cap space, each player could sign for slightly less than the max and likely lose roughly $7 million on a five-year contract. That number could be adjusted based on the league’s final cap numbers.
Alternately, the Heat can work with the Raptors and/or the Cavs to do sign-and-trades for Bosh or James. Raptors GM Bryan Colangelo has indicated that he’s willing to talk sign-and-trade with the Heat but so far has balked at the idea of taking Beasley in any such deal. Cavs owner Daniel Gilbert has been steadfast that the Cavs won’t participate in a sign-and-trade for James.
If the Heat cannot work out a sign-and-trade with the Raptors or Cavs, James and Bosh could each leave an additional $30 million on the table thanks to collective bargaining rules that allow their home teams to offer higher raises and a sixth year on their contracts.
Of course, if LeBron does move to South Beach, the biggest winner would be Stephen A. Smith.
Day 2 of the free agent madness resulted in more teams being “cautiously optimistic” and LeBron being “noncomittmal.” Bore me.
Luckily, we had Pat Riley, who led the Miami Heat brass through a three-hour presentation to The King at the IMG building in Cleveland. It was the longest meeting of all so far, and this was after Riley chatted up LeBron’s agent, Leon Rose, the night before.
The highlight of the three-hour snoozefest was not their talk of a possible superteam with Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade. Nor was it about the max contract they could potentially offer The Chosen One. No, no. The highlight of the meeting was when Riley flashed LeBron with his bling, his seven NBA championship rings.
According to the Plain Dealer’s Branson Wright:
LeBron James got a close look at what has eluded him during his seven years in the NBA. And Miami Heat President Pat Riley, who met with James and his group on Friday, easily obliged.
“These people [James and his group] need to see who we are,” said Riley at his hotel, shortly after his session with James. “They need to see me, Andy [Elisburg], Zo [Alonzo Mourning], Spo [coach Erik Spoelstra], Mickey [Arison] and Nick [Arison] — and the rings.”
That could be a tough act for the Cavs to follow tomorrow. Ruh roh. [Plain Dealer]
Pat Riley doesn’t waste time.
The Heat’s president was gathered at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel lounge with his colleagues — managing general party Micky Arison and senior VP of basketball operations Andy Elisburg — late Thursday, a day before they were supposed to meet with LeBron. When LeBron’s agent Leon Rose walked in, they parties spoke for nearly 45 minutes about LeBron. Though the specifics of their discussion was unclear, it did last until 12:20 a.m. After Riley’s late-night chat with Rose, reporters flagged him down, but he would only comment on the Cavs’ new coach Byron Scott. “He’s a good choice,” Riley said. “He’ll do a wonderful job.”
The Heat, who already met with Chris Bosh and Amar’e Stoudemire, are scheduled to chat with LeBron this afternoon. Stay tuned, and there is still optimism in Miami of a possible troika with LeBron, Bosh and Wade. The fact that Riley didn’t offer anything to Stoudemire when they met in L.A. on Thursday may be an indication that Bosh (and the dynastic trio) are priority. [Plain Dealer, Miami Herald]
An hour after tweeting “I hear bosh-miami is done ..bosh-wade shared agent avoids tampering…its why beasley, chalmers, anthony still here…raptors get them,” the Miami Herald‘s Dan LeBatard explained himself to Dan Patrick.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh both want to be in Miami, he said. Now they’re trying to convince LeBron to join them. ‘Bron and Wade are friends off the court, and, despite what critics have said about the two possibly teaming up in Miami, LeBatard thinks their relationship could work on the court, as well. Plus, if LeBron goes to Miami, Pat Riley could return to the bench.
Another rumor about a proposed summit with LeBron and Dwyane Wade and has been shot down. ESPN reported that Wade, James and Chris Bosh held a mini-summit in Miami this past weekend to discuss their free agency plans, but according to Wade’s representatives, no such meeting ever happened.
In fact, as Wade’s agent Henry Thomas told The Miami Herald on Tuesday, Wade wasn’t even in Miami this past weekend. He was in Chicago. LeBron was reportedly in New York over the weekend, where a witness for the Post spotted him at a Serafina on the Upper East Side, a frequent dining spot of Yankees third-baseman Alex Rodriguez. Bosh was in Miami and told The Herald that the Heat are in “top contention” to sign him.
While the players are believed to have discussed amongst themselves the possibility of playing together in Miami, the ESPN report said trio actually met up in Miami and that the Heat were favored to land James, but also that The King left the meeting ”noncommittal.”
Stephen A. Smith reported Monday that James and Bosh join Wade in Miami, but LeBron plans to meet with six teams at his home in Akron, Ohio, when free agency begins on Thursday. Bosh said he will take multiple free-agent visits and will not make a decision until they have been completed.
Wade is expected to re-sign but reportedly will visit New York and New Jersey anyway. [Miami Herald]
… and he won’t be going alone. Smith divulged his free agency secrets to Dan Patrick this morning.
“I got a call last night from a source, and I double-checked it with another, and they told me essentially that LeBron James and Chris Bosh are going to tag team and go together to join Dwyane Wade in Miami,” Smith told Patrick on Monday.
“Obviously, there are numerous reports out there. Whoever is wrong can have egg on their face. As far as I’m concerned, I already have. Because I thought in my heart of hearts that eventually, he would go to the New York Knicks. But around 10 o’clock last night or so, I heard the news. I stayed up for a few more hours and made a few phone calls, and I felt comfortable enough to go with what I reported.”
The Heat are $27.5 million below the projected salary cap of $56.1 million for next season, meaning they could re-sign Dwyane Wade and also get a pair of max free agents. And that pair, said Smith, will be LeBron and Chris Bosh.
“I believe it’s highly likely,” he told Patrick. “I would never say anything is a done deal with LeBron James until it’s signed. Because a year and a half ago, when I reported that he was definitively going to New York, I was told that from a very reliable source. Anybody who has watched me cover the NBA over the years, you can figure out who that person is. But I was told that he was going to New York City and that he wanted to be a New York Knick.”
Of course, by that commented, he essentially negated his entire claim. Luckily, he continues with:
“… last night, I heard emphatically that this is the direction that LeBron James has leaned toward and that Dwyane Wade has done a very good job of convincing them not just about Pat Riley and not just about the fact that there are no state taxes in Florida, but that he’s there in a tandem. That’s what it’s going to take — a tandem or a three-headed monster — to win multiple championships. And LeBron James is all in.”
Former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller had a completely different take on the LeBron-Miami theory: “I just don’t think that’s a great fit because you’re going to have to have personalities that are going to be able to mesh,” Miller told Patrick. “Just because you put the super powers together doesn’t equate to winning basketball and winning championships. They both ball dominate and they both make plays for their teams. There’s just not enough basketball to go around. If I’m looking at all the teams that want LeBron James it is going back to the Chicago Bulls. I just think that would be the best fit.”
With the free agency period just weeks away, Dwyane Wade made it very clear he wants to stay in Miami. And, unlike LeBron, he’s looking for a star to join him, not another franchise to fit his needs.
“It’s going to be fit with me first,” Wade told ESPN.com‘s J.A. Adande. “I’ve made that very clear. Do I want to leave? Nope. Mmm-hmm. I want to be in Miami. That’s where it starts.”
Wade got the NBA world buzzing a few weeks ago when he proposed a Free Agent Summit, but this time he said he won’t recruit on Miami’s behalf. “Not now, anyway,” he said. “I don’t look at it as recruiting. I’ll gauge and see if guys want to be [in Miami], who wants to be with me.
“It’s about who can come to Miami, it’s about who do you trust, who can fit the organization, who best fits you as a player, things of that nature.”
With Wade eager to stay in Miami, the Heat have some major advantages heading into the summer: They can offer him a bigger contract than any other team can offer, and they have the cap space to bring on another max free agent. Two of whom Wade met up with in L.A. this past week. He had dinner with Toronto’s Chris Bosh –”Me and Chris have been friends since we came into the NBA. We signed with the same agent. … no worries, it’s just friends eating dinner.” — and spoke with Atlanta’s Joe Johnson at a Brand Jordan event.
As for LeBron, Wade said he has no idea where he’ll go.
“I don’t know about anyone else,” Wade said. “[LeBron] is his own man. He’s going to decide for himself. Everyone has their thoughts of what’s going to happen. No one knows. I don’t even think LeBron knows.” [ESPN.com]
Charles Oakley issued a warning to his friend, LeBron: Stay away from New York. Stay far, far away.
In an interview with a Miami radio station on Friday, the ex-Knick said “I can’t tell him to go to New York. New York treated me bad. … When I go to the Knicks’ games, do you know that they have somebody that follows me around to see what I say to the press?”
Oakley, who spent 10 seasons with the Knicks, said The Chosen One should, instead, look south. “I said maybe Chicago or Miami . I think him and [Dwyane] Wade would be great together,” Oakley said.
But the New York bashing didn’t stop there for Oakley. He didn’t hesitate to take a shot at former teammate Patrick Ewing.
“Patrick was our leader as far as press and people who are watching TV … Patrick could have been more vocal for the team, but he wasn’t. I think that hurt us a little bit.” [WQAM]