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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 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 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’ 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,
LeBron Watch, 1 p.m.: James reportedly prepares for South Beach celebration at 1:04 pm ET
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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.

Meanwhile, Cavaliers beat writer Brian Windhorst tweeted that Cleveland is in trade talks for Timberwolves point guard Jonny Flynn, who is represented by the same agent as James.

Read More: Jonny Flynn, LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,
LeBron Watch, noon: Cleveland is ‘cautiously optimistic’ at 12:04 pm ET
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Jeff Goodman of FoxSports.com joined Eric Frede and Mike Giardi on the Dale & Holley show Thursday morning to talk about the upcoming LeBron James announcement. Goodman said he hears strong indications that James is heading to Miami but no one can know for sure. Stationed in Cleveland, Goodman gauges the city as being “cautiously optimistic” and having hopes that its hometown star will stick around.

Meanwhile, in Greenwich, Conn., the site where James will make his announcement Thursday night, Jeff Valin of the Hartford Courant writes that everything is normal 11 hours before the event. The Greenwich Boys & Girls Club shut out the media, forcing it to wait outside the building. Fifteen-year-old Knicks fan Mike Correa of Stamford appears to be the first fan to have arrived, hoping to get a chance to see one of his favorite players.

Outside James’ house in Ohio, the Bath Township police department is tightening up security, reports Michael Sangiacomo of the Plain Dealer.

Police Chief Michael McNeeley is hoping to avoid a large gathering outside of James’ home.

“Whether we get loads of happy fans or unhappy fans showing up outside his home, we will be prepared to keep the traffic moving,” he said.

Read More: LeBron James, NBA Rumor Mill 2010,
Mannix on D&C: LeBron still wouldn’t make Miami the favorite at 10:33 am ET
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Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated joined guest hosts Bob Ryan and Bob Neumeier on the Dennis & Callahan show Thursday morning to weigh in on the LeBron James situation and offer his opinion on the validity of reports that James is headed to Miami.

Following are some highlights. To hear the interview, visit the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

On  Miami’€™s position to compete in the Eastern Conference if LeBron joins Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh:

I think next season it would be extremely difficult. Now, I’€™m convinced that Michael Beasley is going to stay on the roster because they can’€™t give him away for a ham sandwich. They’€™re trying to pass him off on every team in the league, which is a little mind-boggling considering that two years ago this guy was the No. 2 pick in the draft. We were arguing about being possibly the No. 1 pick with Derrick Rose. Their willingness to just give him away is a little baffling.

But you make the point, even if those three guys sign, you’€™re left with Mario Chalmers suddenly becomes the Rajon Rondo of the Miami Heat, where he sort of he’€™s sort of an unknown commodity and he has to play exceptionally well for them to succeed. But the other problem is they don’€™t have a Kendrick Perkins equivalent. There’€™s no center down there. There’€™s nobody down there. They’€™re going to have to sign a Mikki Moore to play center for that position. They’€™re going to have fill up the rest of the roster with veteran minimum salary players.

I think come next year, if maybe Beasley proves himself he can be a trade shipment and you can use that whole mid-level exception to use on one guy and maybe spread it out over two guys,  I think that next year they’€™re in a better position. But I’€™m not convinced guys that even if those three guys come together ‘€” and I’€™m sure they’€™re going to win 65 to 70 regular season games ‘€” I’€™m not convinced they’€™re getting out of the Eastern Conference. I mean, if Boston can get their act together and Kendrick Perkins can come back in the second half of the season and give them something close to what he gave them last year, I think they’€™re still going to be considered the favorite. I just think they still have enough left in the tank to make one more run and chemistry-wise and talent-wise, I think even though they have all the stock power down there in Miami, I don’€™t believe they have enough to get past the Celtics or even maybe Chicago in the conference finals. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: LeBron James, Miami Heat, Mike Miller,
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