Posted on: July 2, 2010 6:26 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 11:52 pm
The free-agent chase has taken a detour that could change everything. Dwyane Wade holding a second meeting with Bulls officials Friday night shook up a frenzied recruiting process that promises to reach a dizzying crescendo this weekend.
The South Florida Sun-Sentinel first reported the meeting , an unscheduled gathering between the Heat superstar and a team that had been all but discounted for his services. Fellow free agent Chris Bosh and Wade met separately with the Bulls in Chicago, and speculation immediately focused on the Bulls' apparent efforts to offer what previously only the Heat could: the opportunity for the superstar trinity of free agents -- LeBron James, Wade and Chris Bosh -- to play together.
In order to facilitate that, the Bulls would have to acquire Bosh in a sign-and-trade from Toronto, likely giving up Luol Deng or Joakim Noah in the process. Short of that, the Bulls are only one minor move -- dumping James Johnson and his $1.8 million contract on a team with cap space to absorb it -- from offering LeBron and Wade (or some other two-man combo) the chance to pair up in Chicago and chase down championships in the shadow of Michael Jordan.
The possibilities of a Wade-Bosh or LeBron-Bosh pairing with the Bulls has far-reaching implications -- not the least of which would be leaving the Heat, which once seemed poised to land all three, empty-handed. As Wade left the meeting Friday night, he told reporters there, "Things are getting very interesting."
And out of control, too.
One powerful agent, speaking to CBSSports.com on condition of anonymity Friday night, ridiculed the LeBron-Wade-Bosh recruiting mania as "a bunch of egomaniacs starved for attention who think the world revolves them. They can't get enough of themselves." The agent, who is involved in numerous free-agent and trade scenarios, said of a LeBron-Wade pairing, "I don't see that happening." The most likely outcome, the agent said, was for Bosh to land in Chicago by himself -- forming an impressive trio with Derrick Rose, Noah and Deng -- while Wade re-signed in Miami and James in Cleveland. Boring, but more realistic, the agent said.
The stunning turn of events came after Wade and Bosh met separately with the Knicks in Chicago. Wade met with Bulls officials at the United Center for the first time Thursday. Although Wade is a Chicago native, he has consistently said he wants to stay in Miami and attract two marquee free agents to play with him there. Heat officials, led by Pat Riley and his gleaming championship rings, met with James in Cleveland Friday.
As if this wasn't enough of a circus already, the Cavaliers have organized a rally for Saturday during which fans will line the streets outside James' marketing company's office building in a show of support for him to stay with the Cavs.
Posted on: July 2, 2010 4:59 pm
Edited on: July 2, 2010 11:30 pm
Amar'e Stoudemire will arrive in New York Saturday with "broad agreement" on the Knicks' five-year, nearly $100 million proposal, a person with knowledge of the deal said.
Stoudemire's agent, Happy Walters, broke off talks with the Suns Friday, almost certainly ending his eight-year tenure there. Stoudemire rejected a five-year offer from Phoenix that wasn't fully guaranteed in the final season with a clause that included playing-time incentives, according to the Arizona Republic .
After the Stoudemire talks broke down, the Suns agreed to terms with power forward Hakim Warrick on a four-year, $18 million deal. To consummate that contract on July 8, the Suns will have to renounce their rights to Stoudemire, meaning he couldn't be signed and traded at that point.
While a deal with the Knicks is preferable to the incentive-laden contract Phoenix was offering, there are concerns on both sides that will have to be addressed this weekend. Stoudemire, like other second-tier free agents, is worried about being the only superstar to come to New York, where fans have been speculating for two years that LeBron James would wind up in a Knicks jersey. Stoudemire was said to have spent Friday trying to recruit a fellow All-Star to join him, with the most likely targets being the Hawks' Joe Johnson and the Spurs' Tony Parker.
As for the Knicks, Stoudemire's knees and eye will be subject to thorough exams by the team's medical staff. Reports have indicated that Stoudemire's contract will not be insurable due to his injury history.
Warrick, who averaged 9.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 76 games last season with the Bulls and Bucks, was among the surprise deals of free agency thus far. "Mindboggling," one rival executive called it. "He played for $3 million last season and the Bucks couldn't wait to get rid of him."
Point guard Steve Blake agreed to a four-year, $16 million deal with the Lakers, insurance in case free agent Derek Fisher leaves, a person with knowledge of the agreement said. The Blake signing probably takes the Lakers out of th running for sharpshooter Mike Miller, but not entirely, the source said. When deals become official July 8, the Lakers would have the option to work out a sign-and-trade with the Clippers for Blake and still give their mid-level exception to Miller. That scenario, however, appears unlikely. Miller also has attracted significant interest from the Knicks and several other teams.
The Blazers, Knicks, Bulls and Clippers have expressed interest in Spurs free-agent guard Roger Mason, while the Jazz, Nuggets, Bobcats, Knicks and Heat are pursuing Suns free-agent forward Louis Amundson, sources say.
John Salmons' five-year, $40 million agreement to return to the Bucks was finalized Friday, pending the official paperwork after the moratorium on player movement is lifted on July 8, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to CBSSports.com.
Posted on: June 6, 2010 9:52 pm
LOS ANGELES – Carmelo Anthony has watched the free-agent hype envelop his friends, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, and can’t help wondering: What if? What if it were me?
“I know it’s overwhelming for those guys,” Melo said Sunday night at Staples Center, where he watched the first half of Game 2 in the NBA Finals from the tunnel leading to the Lakers’ locker room. “I’ve talked to Bron and I’ve talked to D-Wade more than I do with Bosh. I can hear it, that it’s overwhelming a little bit. I know I would be overwhelmed. But you’ve got to do what’s best for you and your family and hopefully win championships.”
In the coming weeks, while the free agents of 2010 are deciding their futures, Melo will be deciding his, too. Nuggets GM Mark Warkentien is expected to make a three-year extension offer to Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, in the hopes of preventing him from becoming an unrestricted free agent after next season. The decision is complicated: Take three years of security under the current collective bargaining agreement, or opt for the chance to be free next summer.
“When we talk, I’ve got to sit down with my team and talk, with all my representatives and figure out what’s the best situation – whether I take the extension now or wait until next year, depending on the collective bargaining agreement,” Anthony said. “So there’s a lot of things that go into that. It’s my decision at the end of the day. If the offer is on the table, I’ll have to look at it and see how I feel.”
Anthony, who trains in Santa Monica during the offseason, was supposed to attend Game 2 with James, who invited widespread scorn with a national TV interview that aired on CNN Friday during the Finals. James backed out of the plans to take care of other business, Anthony said.
But clearly, James somehow became cognizant of the further criticism he’d invite by sitting courtside at the very event he’s been accused of trying to upstage. While Bosh, one of the top free agents this summer, sat in the second row across from the Lakers’ bench, Anthony preferred to hang back in the tunnel to avoid attention.
“It’s fun,” Anthony said of the free-agent buzz. “It’s fun for me to watch and see what’s going on.”
But not necessarily to be a participant.
Posted on: May 21, 2010 11:38 pm
With speculation growing over where LeBron James and other marquee free agents will wind up July 1, the player who could represent the best consolation prize is about to move one step closer to coming off the market.
Representatives for three-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony and the Denver Nuggets have scheduled a face-to-face negotiating session with the hopes of agreeing on a three-year extension that would keep the coveted scorer from hitting the free-agent market in 2011, sources familiar with the situation told CBSSports.com. Since Anthony, who turns 26 later this month, isn’t a free agent this summer, he is free to discuss an extension with his team prior to the opening of the negotiating period July 1.
The Nuggets, fully aware that Anthony would be in high demand in 2011 among teams that strike out in their pursuit of James, Dwyane Wade and other marquee free agents this summer, are hopeful that this will be the first step toward “making Melo a Nugget for a long time,” one of the people familiar with the team’s strategy said.
Anthony’s agent, Leon Rose, declined comment recently when approached after a playoff game and asked about Anthony’s future. Rose, of course, has a full plate now that James’ season has ended and his long anticipated foray into unrestricted free agency is in full froth. With six weeks to go before James can terminate his contract and hit the market, speculation about where he will go has reached a fever pitch. But hardly anyone is paying attention to Anthony, who would be the ideal consolation prize for teams like the Knicks, Nets, Bulls, Heat, Clippers and Wizards if they fail to lure the free agents of their choice this summer.
Anthony signed his current agreement in 2006, the same summer when James, Wade and Chris Bosh all chose three-year extensions with an early termination option in the fourth year that would maximize their ability to hit the free-agent market in the prime of their careers. Anthony opted for a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year, thus choosing the additional money and security over flexibility. The Nuggets are hopeful that Anthony will follow the same strategy again, especially with the very real threat of a lockout in 2011 and ultimately a salary structure that is expected to be far less favorable to the players, sources say. Some circumstances have changed. Anthony’s current deal was negotiated by agent Bill Duffy, whereas his current agent, Rose, negotiated the shorter extensions for James, Wade and Bosh. Ultimately, though, it comes down to what the player wants.
Anthony will have to weigh those financial realities against the possibility that the Nuggets’ roster built around him and an aging Chauncey Billups has gone as far as it will go with the current core group. Also, sources say Anthony perpetually feels slighted among the league’s top talent and may want to seek a bigger stage to pursue his rightful place in the league’s pecking order.
For example, if James turns down the Knicks’ overtures this summer and stays in Cleveland or signs with the Bulls, imagine what a star Anthony would be in New York if he returned to his birthplace next summer with a chip on his shoulder. Not only would he have an opportunity to prove the doubters wrong about his own talent, but he also would be the perfect candidate to tap into Knicks fans’ anger over being jilted by James. During the Knicks’ most recent run of success in the 1990s, they were immensely popular in New York not only because they were successful, but because they never had the league’s best player. The underdog/villain role would suit Anthony’s personality perhaps better than any of the league’s current superstars.
While Anthony was born in New York, he grew up in the Washington, D.C., area, and the Wizards’ just became a far more attractive destination for free agents with the draft lottery triumph that will land them No. 1 pick John Wall. The point is, Anthony will have options galore if he decides to forgo an extension this summer and hit the market in 2011. And that’s something both sides in his imminent contract negotiation understand quite well.
Posted on: April 8, 2010 11:11 am
Edited on: April 8, 2010 7:59 pm
Chris Bosh is out for the rest of the regular season after undergoing surgery to repair a facial fracture suffered on the other end of an inadvertent elbow. No, you are not the only one wondering if the All-Star power forward has played his last game in Toronto.
First of all, the Raptors will have a tough time making the playoffs without Bosh, so the remaining four games could be all that's left of their season. Of more concern is the fact that team executives I've spoken with recently continue to believe that Bosh is the most likely of the highly regarded free agents to change teams this summer.
Like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, Bosh signed his most recent extension with the intention of testing the unrestricted free agent market this summer; each has a player option for the 2010-11 season. All three turned have turned down extension offers since last summer, with Bosh the most recent prospective free agent to say no. The Raptors relayed an extension offer in January, and Bosh's position was that he wanted to play out the season and deal with the contract afterward.
Injury aside, Toronto's inability to make significant improvement this season despite the addition of free agent Hedo Turkoglu has frustrated Bosh to the point where people close to him believe he is the most motivated of the Big Three to seek a new address this summer. In all likelihood, the Raptors would try to accommodate his wishes via a sign-and-trade so they can avoid losing him and getting nothing in return.
It has been long speculated that Bosh, a Texas native, would seek a return to his home state. Conveniently, there are three teams located there, all of which might be enticed to explore a sign-and-trade. The Rockets are in desperate need of star power, the Spurs are aging, and the Mavericks are always game for splashy, big-ticket moves.
One thing's for sure: It's gotten a lot easier over the past 48 hours to imagine Bosh wearing another uniform next season.
As for the Raptors' battle for the eighth playoff spot in the East with Chicago, the Bulls got another break Thursday night -- also at the hands of the Cavs. LeBron James was inactive for Cleveland's game in Chicago, giving the Bulls a chance to move ahead of Toronto with four games to play for each team. The Raptors hold the tiebreaker and have the easier schedule: at Atlanta, at Detroit, and home to New York in addition to hosting the Bulls on Sunday. Chicago is at New Jersey Friday night and finishes the season against two playoff teams: home to Boston and at Charlotte.
Posted on: August 7, 2009 3:17 pm
LeBron James is often criticized for sitting on the fence when it comes to his intentions for 2010, when he currently has the ability to opt out of his contract and test the unrestricted free agent market. But there was no mistaking LBJ's position on Friday, when he said unequivocally that he will not sign an extension with Cleveland this summer in order to preserve that flexibility.
"I signed a contract in 2006 with an option," James said at an event in his native Akron, Ohio. "It would make no sense for me to sign that contract if I didn't keep my options open. I'll let you fill in the blanks."
So there you go. No filling in necessary.
No extension. The drama lives for another year. The LeBron-o-thon continues.
I can't blame LeBron, nor can I say I'm surprised. He will still have the ability to sign an extension with the Cavs after the 2009-10 season -- and before July 1, 2010 -- that would lock him in under the current salary scale and rules before the CBA takes an expected turn in favor of the owners in 2011. His best option financially, under the current collective bargaining agreement, is to re-sign with Cleveland or participate in a sign and trade because either scenario would get him a sixth year and bigger annual raises after the first year.
But given that we've already crunched the numbers and determined that LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh -- who have identical contracts -- would be leaving between $2.7 million and $5.2 million on the table over the next four years by foregoing an extension, LeBron's own words tell you everything you need to know about his intentions.
His words don't reveal whether he's staying or going. But they do tell you without a sliver of doubt that waiting to see how close he is to a championship in Cleveland is far more important to him than a few million dollars.
Cavs fans, I'm sorry to inform you that your King is going to hold court with your collective hearts for another year. That means another year of rampant speculation, attempted mind-reading, and hype.
Oh, and guess who visits Madison Square Garden in the first week of the 2009-10 regular season? His Highness faces the Knicks on Nov. 6.
Posted on: July 11, 2009 6:28 pm
LAS VEGAS -- The Toronto Raptors are on the verge of signing Pacers restricted free agent Jarrett Jack to an offer sheet, CBSSports.com has learned.
Terms of the deal aren't yet apparent, but Jack, 25, would be a younger, faster replacement for Anthony Parker, who has agreed to a two-year deal with Cleveland. As a versatile combo guard, Jack would back up point guard Jose Calderon and also see time at the scoring guard spot. Once Jack signs the offer sheet, the Pacers have seven days to match.
Posted on: July 8, 2009 11:32 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2009 8:13 am
UPDATES THROUGHOUT with further details:
Shawn Marion is headed from Toronto to Dallas in a complicated, four-team sign-and-trade that also sends Jerry Stackhouse temporarily to Memphis and delivers a sizeable trade exception to Orlando, pending league approval on Thursday, four sources confirmed to CBSSports.com.