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Ainge: ‘We think we’re going to be better’

07.08.10 at 8:29 pm ET
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ORLANDO –Some highlights of Danny Ainge’s 10-minute sit down with the media on Thursday. Ainge was literally sitting down, as he occupied the last chair on the Celtics bench throughout the team’s summer league loss to the Pacers and spoke to the media at halftime of the contest.

Contract status of Jermaine O’Neal

“I’m going to do all that once it’s done. I’m not going to comment on anybody until it’s done. I can’t tell you ‘€¦ I’m supposed to wait until the contracts are done. The moratorium today is the first day we can talk, but not until the contracts are done.”

Is there mutual interest?

“We intend to sign him. And I’ll talk about it when we do.”

How about the Ray Allen and Paul Pierce deals?

“I can talk about it when it’s done, which is probably tomorrow.”

Assuming these deals will be done, are you happy with the offseason to this point?

“I think the priorities to start the offseason were obviously Paul and Ray and then to strengthen our center position in lieu of Perk’s injury. Those were our priorities right there. So hopefully by tomorrow we’ll have those three things taken care of and then we can continue to work on it.”

Status of Kendrick Perkins

“Perk is scheduled to have surgery on Monday (pushed back). I guess the philosophy is to get more range of motion and the swelling and strengthening. Just rehabbing before the surgery.”

Is it just the ACL for Perkins?

“I know there were injuries to the MCL and the PCL, but I don’t know to what extent they need to be surgically repaired. Those might heal on their own, as sprains or strains. But I do know that the ACL needs to be repaired.”

Any Rasheed Wallace updates?

“No, none.”

Is there still an interest in re-signing Tony Allen and Nate Robinson?

“We like Nate and Tony and I’m sure that they are still looking at the market too. The market is pretty crazy right now so we’ll be patient and look at other options as well in case they go in another direction. But we do have interest in both of them. Always have.”

Can this team compete in what will surely be a much different Eastern Conference?

“Absolutely, yeah. We’re the Eastern Conference champions and we think we’re going to be better.”

After the first call to David Lee, was there any more contact during the free agency process?

“Yeah, yeah. We couldn’t compete [financially].”

LeBron Watch, 6 p.m.: Decision still unknown

07.08.10 at 6:28 pm ET
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While all the fuss Thursday has centered on LeBron James apparent decision to join the Heat, ESPN’s Ric Bucher recently posted on his Twitter account that the consensus among GMs, agents and league officials is that he will not be going to Miami.

James was, however, spotted Thursday at his basketball camp at Cleveland State University, watching high school stars play in front of college coaches. Those in attendance included Mike Krzyzewski, Roy Williams and Bob Huggins, to name a few. From there he is headed to the Boys & Girls Club in Greenwich, Conn., where his hour-long special will air.

If he were to re-sign with the Cavaliers, rumors abound that it would be a three-year contract. And because of the firestorm James’ decision could have on the people of Ohio, there is reportedly going to be increased police activity in downtown Cleveland.

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

LeBron Watch, 5 p.m.: Cuban believes LeBron staying in Cleveland

07.08.10 at 5:02 pm ET
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Mark Cuban, the omnipresent and free-speaking owner of the Dallas Mavericks, took to his blog Thursday afternoon to give his take on where LeBron James will end up.

Saying he believes King James will end up re-signing with Cleveland, Cuban explained, “The sports world is full of uncertainties. When in doubt, go for the love.”

James, who joined the Twitter world Tuesday afternoon, already has over 300,000 followers and gave his fans an update Thursday morning, encouraging them to send questions regarding where he will end up.

Read More: LeBron James, Mark Cuban, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

LeBron Watch, 4 p.m.: Heat reportedly eye Beasley trade

07.08.10 at 4:25 pm ET
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In order to free up space to sign LeBron James to a max contract of nearly $130 million, the Heat reportedly have been in discussions about a four-way deal with the Raptors, Bobcats and Rockets.

According to ESPN.com, the complicated deal would have Michael Beasley and his $5 million leaving South Beach. Although the Heat could give near-max contracts to James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, getting rid of Beasley would go a long way toward helping reshape their roster.

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, Michael Beasley, NBA Rumor Mill

LeBron Watch, 3 p.m.: Boozer, Stoudemire hold out hope

07.08.10 at 3:34 pm ET
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Carlos Boozer, who agreed to a five-year, $76 million contract with the Bulls, is attempting to woo LeBron James via text messages. Boozer said he sent LeBron a message Wednesday night and hopes to get the superstar forward to join him in Chicago.

The Knicks are hoping that their recent signee, Amar’e Stoudemire, will be enough to get King James to choose New York. General manager Donnie Walsh spoke about the possibility of signing James at Stoudemire’s introductory press conference Thursday.

Said Walsh: “I was pleased with the meeting we had in Cleveland. I thought we were able to present our franchise the way we wanted to. I did think New York was the perfect place for LeBron.”

Meanwhile, Magic GM Otis Smith, at a press conference in Orlando to introduce Chris Duhon, told WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane that he still believes James will stay in Cleveland.

Read More: Carlos Boozer, LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

Magic GM Smith: ‘Surprised’ if LeBron leaves Cleveland

07.08.10 at 2:19 pm ET
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ORLANDO, Fla. — I just spoke to Orlando Magic general manager Otis Smith after a press conference announcing the signing of Chris Duhon. Smith was impressed by the Celtics‘ ability to keep the core together and add Jermaine O’Neal.

“They did a great job,” Smith said. “To sign Paul [Pierce] and Ray [Allen] and add a piece like Jermaine O’Neal? They are going to be tough again next year.”

Smith, who wouldn’t comment on the status of free agent J.J. Redick, was asked about LeBron James. If James signs with the Heat, would it signal a shift of power in the Eastern Conference?

“I still think you have to put teams together,” Smith said. “That’s it. If all three of those guys go to Miami, that’s a very good team. But three guys don’t give you anything, you need a team. It gives them a chance to win a title, but doesn’t guarantee anything.”

Does Smith think James will end up in Miami?

“I would be surprised.”

Does he think he’ll end up in Cleveland?

“Uh-huh. Yup.”

Read More: LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,

LeBron Watch, 2 p.m.: Heat look to add Miller to new ‘Big Three’

07.08.10 at 2:19 pm ET
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As news circulates that LeBron James is heading to South Beach to join friends Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh as a member of the Heat, Miami is looking to make more moves to fill out its roster.

FoxSports.com writer Jeff Goodman is reporting that free agent Mike Miller has been offered a five-year deal worth somewhere between $27 million and $30 million, with a deadline of Thursday night for him to accept the offer.

Meanwhile, the Knicks and Cavaliers are holding out hope that LeBron will have a change of heart. WEEI.com’s Kirk Minihane reports that one source claims the Knicks still are confident he will choose the Big Apple.

The Cavaliers are doing their best to make their team more appealing, with rumors circulating that they are pursuing a trade with the Timberwolves involving point guard Jonny Flynn.

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,
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