|Magic GM Smith: ‘Surprised’ if LeBron leaves Cleveland||07.08.10 at 2:19 pm ET|
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?
|LeBron Watch, 2 p.m.: Heat look to add Miller to new ‘Big Three’||07.08.10 at 2:19 pm ET|
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.
|Celtics sign O’Neal for two years||07.08.10 at 1:53 pm ET|
Scratch another item off Danny Ainge‘s to-do list. Multiple outlets are reporting, and WEEI.com has confirmed, that the Celtics have signed free agent center Jermaine O’Neal for two years at the full mid-level exception.
O’Neal’s addition shores up the center spot, which is in flux following Kendrick Perkins‘ knee surgery and the expected retirement of Rasheed Wallace. By using the full MLE, the Celtics now are shopping for players with the the veteran minimum contract and the allure of playing on a championship contender.
The length of O’Neal’s deal also completes the framework of the Celtics’ window of opportunity with their veteran group. O’Neal’s deal will expire at the same time as Kevin Garnett‘s and Ray Allen‘s. (Allen has a player option for the second year).
As noted earlier today, Ainge still has Wallace’s contract to dangle in trade talks, should Wallace follow through on his intention to retire. Ainge can also re-sign his own team’s own free agents, with Tony Allen figuring to be the next Celtics target.
Here’s the Celtics’ updated roster as of this afternoon:
PG: Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, Oliver Lafayette (non-guaranteed contract)
SG: Ray Allen
SF: Paul Pierce, Luke Harangody (second-round draft pick)
PF: Kevin Garnett, Glen Davis, Tony Gaffney (non-guaranteed)
C: Kendrick Perkins, Jermaine O’Neal, Semih Erden, Rasheed Wallace
|Haywood to re-sign with Mavs for $55 million||07.08.10 at 1:46 pm ET|
Yahoo! Sports’ Marc J. Spears initially reported the signing. Haywood, who averaged 8.1 points and 7.4 rebounds last season for the Mavs in only 28 games, spent his first 8½ seasons with the Wizards. With a number of teams (including the Celtics) looking for help at the center position, it’s not surprising that Dallas locked him up long-term.
|Report: Jermaine O’Neal will sign with C’s||07.08.10 at 1:28 pm ET|
The 6-foot-11 O’Neal is a 13-year veteran who played the last two years in Miami. He averaged 13.6 points and 6.9 rebounds in 70 games last season after three injury-plagued seasons prior. The 31-year-old also reportedly had been considering offers from the Nuggets and Mavericks.
|LeBron Watch, 1 p.m.: James reportedly prepares for South Beach celebration||07.08.10 at 1:04 pm ET|
Wherever LeBron James decided to play next season, he’ll be in Florida this upcoming weekend for a celebration on his announcement, according to a magazine report.
Two sources confirmed to UsMagazine.com that James has rented six cabanas at the W Hotel South Beach for the weekend, which could be telling after reports that he’s leaning toward playing for the Heat.
|Nets reach agreement with Outlaw||07.08.10 at 12:32 pm ET|
The Nets and forward Travis Outlaw have reached an agreement on a five-year, $35 million contract, writes Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports. The contract is fully guaranteed and Outlaw is expected to officially sign next week.
The 25-year-old played last season with the Clippers after being dealt from the Trail Blazers as part of the trade that sent Marcus Camby to Portland.
In seven NBA seasons, Outlaw has averaged 9.5 points and 3.4 rebounds after being drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2003.
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