|NBA roundup: Boozer to Bulls, Durant re-signs with OKC||07.08.10 at 9:18 am ET|
“The Decision” that everyone is waiting for Thursday night on ESPN could be an hour-long waste of time if reports that LeBron James wants to team up with stars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami are true. Chris Broussard of ESPN wrote early Thursday morning that unless there is a change of heart by James, he’ll leave Cleveland and try to be a part of a dynasty with the Heat.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Marc Spears of Yahoo! Sports, one executive whose franchise was among the initial suitors for James said Wednesday morning that the Akron product was only seriously considering Miami and Cleveland.
Meanwhile, while the LeBron hoopla builds to a crescendo, other notable free agents are making their move. K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune reports that Jazz power forward Carlos Boozer will sign a five-year, $76 million contract with the Bulls.
After various reports had New York big man David Lee heading to Phoenix to replace Amar’e Stoudemire, it looks like the double-double machine could be heading farther west to California. Marcus Thompson II of the Contra Costa Times is reporting that the Warriors and Knicks are close on a deal which would send Lee in a sign-and-trade to Golden State for forward Anthony Randolph.
Already under contract, Kevin Durant decided to extend his stay with the Thunder in a relatively quiet manner when he announced the deal Thursday via Twitter. Sean Sweeney of Dime Magazine writes that Durant signed a five-year, $85 million extension while showing humility amid the LeBron chaos.
The Celtics, meanwhile, have been busy this offseason as they look to bring back most of last year’s team for another run. After reaching an agreement with Paul Pierce and reportedly agreeing to terms with Ray Allen last Wednesday night, Boston reportedly is going after Jermaine O’Neal to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins at center. According to Wojnarowski and Spears of Yahoo! Sports, the Celtics have offered O’Neal near the midlevel exception of $5.8 million over two years. O’Neal is expected to make a decision by Thursday night.
Another O’Neal whom the Celtics have targeted to replace Perkins has been Shaq, who has shown interest in both Boston and Atlanta. Now, Chris Tomasson of AOL FanHouse is reporting that O’Neal’s first choice to try to win his fifth championship is the Spurs. No matter where Shaq lands, Tomasson writes that sources have said that he won’t return to Cleveland for next season.
|Report: Jermaine O’Neal leaning toward C’s||at 7:16 am ET|
According to Yahoo! Sports, center Jermaine O’Neal is poised to accept a two-year offer to join the Celtics. The 6-foot-11 O’Neal is believed to have been offered the $5.8 million mid-level exception.
A 13-year veteran, the 31-year-old O’Neal 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. He also reportedly has been considering offers from the Nuggets and Mavericks.
|LeBron Watch: Report indicates Miami is the choice||at 6:26 am ET|
According to reports from Newsday and ESPN, LeBron James has decided to sign with the Miami Heat, joining Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh there. James will announce his decision Thursday night at 9 p.m. in an ESPN special.
Shortly after midnight, Newsday‘s Alan Hahn tweeted that “multiple sources” indicated James had decided to pass on the Knicks and go to Miami.
The ESPN report by Chris Broussard followed about an hour later. It notes that James’ friend Chris Paul has urged the superstar to stay in Cleveland and play for new coach Byron Scott, who previously coached Paul in New Orleans, and that James could reconsider his choice. Other family and friends apparently also have reservations about how James would be perceived joining a power-packed team and if that would take away from his brand.
A report at Yahoo! Sports indicates that James’ representatives began calling free agents Wednesday to assess their interest in joining the new “Big Three” in Miami. The Heat have only two players under contract: forward Michael Beasley and point guard Mario Chalmers.
However, the Yahoo! report noted that James reserves the right to change his mind and sign with his hometown Cavaliers, who can pay him a six-year, $125 million contract, more than $30 million more than what he could get from the Heat.
“LeBron always waits until the last minute to make a decision,” Yahoo! quotes Chris Dennis, who used to run James’ foundation. “He always does.”
|Latest big man linked to C’s: Jermaine O’Neal||07.07.10 at 4:56 pm ET|
Free agent center Jermaine O’Neal is the latest big man to be linked to the Celtics. He told ESPN’s Marc Stein that he was considering the Celtics along with the Mavericks and Nuggets.
O’Neal joins Brad Miller, Shaquille O’Neal, Brendan Haywood and Kwame Brown in the race for the Celtics’ mid-level exception and a chance to replace the injured Kendrick Perkins. Brown is obviously the least accomplished of that group.
The Celtics made O’Neal look terrible in the playoffs, but he’s younger than Miller and Shaq and, playoffs aide, O’Neal had a good season with Miami in 2009-10. He appeared in 70 games for the first time since 2003-04 and he shot over 50 percent for the first time in his career en route to averaging 13 points and seven rebounds a game.
It’s expected that the free agent logjam will open up once LeBron James make his decision Thursday. O’Neal was not expected to re-sign with the Heat, an expectation that became reality once Chris Bosh announced he was going to Miami with Dwyane Wade.
|Report: Bosh to join Wade with Heat||at 8:00 am ET|
According to an ESPN report, Dwyane Wade will re-sign with the Heat and be joined by Raptors free agent Chris Bosh. The players are expected to announce their decision Wednesday, one day before LeBron James declares his choice in an ESPN special Thursday night.
|LeBron to announce decision in Thursday TV special||at 6:47 am ET|
LeBron James will announce his plans for the future during a one-hour special on ESPN Thursday night at 9. ESPN reported that James’ representatives contacted the network and suggested the idea. James’ group reportedly plans to sell sponsorship and donate the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
James did not speak to reporters when he made an appearance at his elite basketball camp Tuesday in his hometown of Akron, Ohio.
Which team will LeBron James play for next season?
- Cavaliers (49%, 174 Votes)
- Knicks (19%, 66 Votes)
- Heat (13%, 45 Votes)
- Bulls (9%, 32 Votes)
- Nets (5%, 17 Votes)
- Other (4%, 14 Votes)
- Clippers (1%, 5 Votes)
Total Voters: 353
|Report: Celtics to meet with Kwame Brown||07.06.10 at 3:43 pm ET|
The Boston Herald reported Tuesday that the Danny Ainge and Doc Rivers have scheduled a meeting with Kwame Brown for Wednesday in Orlando.
“We’re checking out a lot of possibilities — it’s still very early in the process,” Ainge told the Herald.
Brown spent the last two seasons with the Pistons, averaging 3.3 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.8 minutes per game in 2009-10. The top overall pick of the 2001 NBA draft has never lived up to that selection, playing for four NBA teams (Wizards, Lakers, Grizzlies, Pistons) and averaging 6.7 points and 5.4 rebounds in his nine-year career.
Ainge also told the Herald that he has not set up a meeting with Shaquille O’Neal.