Posted on: July 9, 2010 6:52 pm
The Raptors and Heat have agreed to the framework of a sign-and-trade arrangement that will complete Chris Bosh's departure for Miami to join Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, a person with knowledge of the deal confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday.
"It's pretty much done," the person said.
Toronto will get multiple draft picks, including a 2011 first-round pick that was previously traded to the Heat, and a trade exception -- but no players. Bosh, who along with Wade committed to joining the Heat on Wednesday, will get a six-year deal as opposed to the five-year contract he would have been eligible for through a straight signing.
Agent Henry Thomas, who represents both Wade and Bosh, said there has been steady progress in contract talks with Miami for both players.
Posted on: July 9, 2010 5:45 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2010 6:56 pm
Shut out in their pursuit of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade, the Knicks are close to landing a more traditional point guard to run Mike D'Antoni's offense. Free-agent Raymond Felton is close to a multi-year agreement to join Amar'e Stoudemire in New York.
With cap space to burn after James turned down the Knicks for a chance to join Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami, the Knicks have quickly turned to Plan B. First, they got Anthony Randolph, Kelenna Azubuike and Ronny Turiaf from Golden State in a sign-and-trade that sent David Lee to the Warriors. Team president Donnie Walsh's next target was a point guard or point-forward capable of inititiating D'Antoni's up-tempo, pick-and-roll offense. Felton, 26, the fifth pick in the 2005 draft, is the best available option and a good fit for D'Antoni's system. Though Felton averaged career lows in scoring average (12.1) and assists (5.6) last season, he shot a career-high 39 percent from 3-point range.
With Felton and Randolph, the 14th pick in 2008, the Knicks are on the verge of acquiring two recent lottery picks in the less than 24 hours since James turned them down. The team had been holding out hope that it could outbid the Heat and Bulls for sharpshooter Mike Miller, but Knicks president Donnie Walsh said on a conference call with reporters Friday that Miller was signing with the Heat, who offered a five-year, approximately $30 million deal.
Free-agent Kyle Korver has agreed to a three-year, $15 million deal with the Bulls, a person with knowledge of the agreement confirmed to CBSSports.com Friday. ... Agent Henry Thomas reports steady progress on contracts for Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, with all signs pointing to Bosh going to Miami in a sign-and-trade that would land him the same six-year, $126 million deal that Wade will get to stay with the Heat. Max deals starting at $16.57 million for all three of the Miami free agents would become available if the Heat are able to pull off a sign-and-trade for LeBron James, who committed to Miami Thursday night. The maneuver, along with the trade of Michael Beasley to Minnesota, also would open up space for Miami to retain free-agent Udonis Haslem. ... Our Facts & Rumors blog has the goods on Tyrus Thomas agreeing to a five-year, $40 million deal to stay in Charlotte with the Bobcats.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 9:28 pm
Edited on: July 9, 2010 10:01 am
In the end, the King took the easy way out.
LeBron James, in the most overhyped free-agent decision in sports history, announced Thursday night that he’s joining the All-Star duo of Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. It’s the new Big Three. The Dream Team. The Trio of Tyranny.
Or the Axis of Evil, depending on your perspective.
James joining Wade and Bosh creates a vortex of power in Miami that could reshape the NBA landscape for the better part of a decade.
"This morning I woke up and had a great conversation with my mom," James said. "And once I had that conversation, I think I was set. The last time I changed my mind was probably in my dreams. And when I woke up this morning, I knew I had made the right decision."
LeBron’s announcement, the culmination of an unprecedented tsunami of hype and ego, came nearly a half-hour into the choreographed TV show fit for a King. He chose the Heat, and an alliance with the two other top players from the most anticipated free-agent history, over his hometown Cavaliers – who drafted him out of St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School down the road in Akron in 2003 -- as well as the Knicks, Bulls, Nets and Clippers.
"I don’t have any doubts on it at all," James said.
It was a rare chance for a player in the prime of his NBA career to team up with high-profile contemporaries and chase down championships – and for James, that cupboard is bare after seven years with the Cavs. It was also a chance for James to prove his stated loyalty to his hometown, the heartbreak capital of sports, and remain committed to bringing Cleveland its first pro sports championship since 1964.
But James, 25, passed on that chance, dealing a crushing blow to Cleveland and embracing instead the get-mine culture that will once again be associated with the NBA.
"It’s about joinig forces with the other two guys that I feel like I respect their games the most," James said.
He also passed up on the international stage – and another All-Star, Amar’e Stoudemire – offered by New York; the chance to follow in the footsteps of Michael Jordan in Chicago; and the allure of his friend Jay-Z’s Nets team, which in two years will move to Brooklyn. The Nets fell out of favor in the LeBron chase, and most league executives never believed the Clippers had a chance.
While James may have given himself the optimal chance to chase championships, there are a couple of issues to consider. First, there will be little flexibility for Heat president Pat Riley to surround his trio of superstars with a championship-caliber supporting cast. Second, and more important, James’ legacy could be damaged by failing to win a championship with the team that drafted him. No matter how many titles he wins, he may be remembered for this unabashed ring-grab.
"It's not a super team yet," James said. "We don't even have enough players to fill the roster. ... A team, or a championship team is not built on just three guys."
James did not divulge any contract terms, saying his agent, Leon Rose, was working on the details. He did predict that all three superstars will be willing to accept less money than they could've gotten in other situations.
As expected since James’ plans for an elaborate TV announcement earlier in the week, it was over the top. James even starred in some of the commercials, with his voice featured in the first one of the night. James announced the decision in an interview with announcer Jim Gray at the Boys & Girls Club of Greeenwich, Conn.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 3:28 pm
Chatter about LeBron James choosing the Heat and teaming up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh grew considerably in NBA front-office circles Thursday, and they're buying it from Las Vegas to Wall Street to the South Beach party scene.
US Weekly reported that James has secured six cabanas at the W Hotel in Miami, evidently to celebrate his decision to join the Heat. The party will have to wait until after James attends buddy Carmelo Anthony's wedding to LaLa Vasquez Saturday in New York.
Anthony, by the way, texted Thursday that he doesn't know what James is going to do. But bookmakers and investors do. According to the World Sports Exchange , Miami is a more than 70 percent favorite to land James, while Cleveland is second with a 25 percent percent chance. Shares of Madison Square Garden Inc., parent company of the Knicks, were down more than 5 percent on the NASDAQ on more than six times the normal trading volume.
At MSG itself, there was a palpable feeling of resignation about the outcome of LeSweepstakes as the Knicks introduced their first (and perhaps only) marquee free-agent signing: Amar'e Stoudemire. Coach Mike D'Antoni and president Donnie Walsh said they didn't even plan to watch James' televised announcement.
Much respect to them for that.
Similarly, other teams believed to be out of the running for James are refusing to have a "pity party" Thursday night, according to one executive who believes his team is out of it. Trades and signings across the league have been on hold until James unveils his decision, so those executives will immediately begin consummating those deals after James graces us with his decision.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 2:32 pm
Edited on: July 8, 2010 2:56 pm
The Heat and Raptors have expanded discussions of the sign-and-trade sending Chris Bosh to Miami to include two more teams, Charlotte and Houston, two people with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com Thursday.
The trade, which is still exploratory and not close to completion, would send Bosh to Miami, Michael Beasley to Charlotte and Tyson Chandler to Houston, the sources said. Toronto, already settled on taking back the 2011 first-round pick previously traded to the Heat, is trying to extract a player from the Rockets in addition to the trade exception it would get from Miami.
"It has legs, but I don't know where it goes," one of the people familiar with the discussions said.
A third person with knowledge of the talks said it's possible that the field could shrink to three teams, with Houston dropping out of the mix.
With the Heat planning to add sharpshooter Mike Miller to their potential Dream Team of Bosh, Dwyane Wade and LeBron James, Miami would slide Miller's salary -- in the $5 million range -- into Beasley's space under the cap. By that math, the Heat would only have room for three full-max players if each one agreed to take abotuu $1 million less than the $16.57 million available under the collective bargaining agreement.
Posted on: July 8, 2010 2:38 am
About 12 hours after Chris Bosh joined Dwyane Wade in committing to the Heat, two reports emerged Thursday morning saying LeBron James was leaning toward joining them.
Newsday first reported via Knicks beat writer Alan Hahn's Twitter account that James "has decided to join Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami." The Long Island newspaper followed up with a published report saying that James "is expected to choose the Heat," citing multiple NBA sources.
ESPN's Chris Broussard, who first definitively reported Bosh's decision to team up with Wade on Wednesday, followed up about an hour later on Twitter, saying that James "will join Wade and Bosh in Miami, barring a late change of heart."
James' agent, Leon Rose, did not return a call from CBSSports.com early Thursday. A high-ranking member of the Cavaliers organization was unaware of James having made a decision.
On ESPN News, a sister station of the NBA rights-holding network that will air the announcement of James' decision at 9 p.m. ET Thursday, Broussard said James "still has time to change his mind" and called it "a fluid situation."
Even with the higher than expected $58.044 million salary cap announced Wednesday by the NBA for the 2010-11 season, the Heat don't have the space to fit two max contracts starting at $16.57 million next season under their $31.4 million in cap space after accounting for Wade's deal starting at the same amount. With only Michael Beasley and Mario Chalmers under contract heading into the signing period that began at 12:01 a.m. ET Thursday, that leaves only three options for Miami to form its Dream Team: 1) Send Beasley to Toronto in a sign-and-trade arrangement for Bosh, which sources have indicated is highly unlikely; 2) trade Beasley to another team with cap space, such as Sacramento, Minnesota or Washington; or 3) persuade its new Big Three to accept less than maximum salaries -- a shade less than $16 million in the first year of the deals would work -- for the right to play together.
The $1.944 million increase in the league salary cap above the most recent estimate of $56.1 million given by the league in April meant that the superstar triumvirate wouldn't have to leave as much money on the table as previously thought to fit into the Heat's space. Plus, Florida's lack of a state income tax would mitigate any losses the three superstars would incur.
It's a fluid situation, indeed. The buzz among NBA front office executives Wednesday pointed toward the Knicks making a late push to persuade James to join Amar'e Stoudemire in New York. Another executive within the league -- who has ties to all three of the top free agents -- said the most likely scenario was for James to announce Thursday that he's returning to the Cavaliers. Front office sources with teams in pursuit of James still were in the dark Wednesday about what team James would choose.
"Everyone is on the LeBron yo-yo a little bit," one front office executive said.
Posted on: July 7, 2010 10:05 pm
The Raptors and Heat are "progressing" toward a sign-and-trade arrangement to facilitate Chris Bosh's desire to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, a person with knowledge of the talks told CBSSports.com Wednesday night.
The most likely scenario, according to the source, would send draft picks and massive trade exception to Toronto -- but not Michael Beasley. The former No. 2 pick, whom the Heat want to trade to create more cap space for a third max signing as they try to lure LeBron James, has been included in some of the potential deals discussed. But Toronto has been decidedly cold on the notion of taking Beasley in a trade for Bosh.
"It's not likely," the person with knowledge of the discussions said.
The Raptors would get back the 2011 first-round pick they previously traded to Miami, plus additional future picks and a trade exception they would then use to acquire a player without sending back comparable salary. The Heat only have one other player on their roster to trade, point guard Mario Chalmers.
Sending Bosh to the Heat in a sign-and-trade would allow the Raptors to get back some assets rather than lose him and get nothing in return. For Bosh, such an arrangement is worth an additional $30 million if he signs for the max -- although both Bosh and Wade said Wednesday they're not opposed to taking less money if it meant fitting James into the Heat's cap space, which now stands at $31.4 million after the NBA announced a higher-than-expected 2010-11 cap of $58.044 million on Wednesday.
If the Heat and Raptors can't agree on a sign-and-trade, Bosh would be faced with accepting a contract from the Heat of only five years in length (as opposed to six) with 2.5 percent smaller annual raises.
Posted on: July 7, 2010 8:08 pm
Edited on: July 7, 2010 9:07 pm
The NBA salary cap for the 2010-11 season was set Wednesday at $58.044 million, $2 million more than the league's most recent projection and $8 million more than the worst-case scenario that the league laid out last summer. In fact, the salary cap rose from last season's figure of $57.7 million on what sources told CBSSports.com were the highest revenues in NBA history.
The surprising news means that teams with cap space who are trying to sign free agents when the moratorium on player movement is lifted at 12:01 a.m. Thursday will have $1.944 million more space -- good news for the Heat, Bulls, Knicks, Nets and Clippers in particular. It's especially good news for the Heat, who are trying to fit three max contracts into their cap space after Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh agreed to team up with the Heat next season.
The number-crunching couldn't have come out better for teams with cap space trying to make room for multiple max players. Due to a nuance in how maximum salaries are calculated, the most Miami, for example, can pay Wade remains a 5 percent raise over last season's salary -- $16.57 million. Had revenues -- and thus the cap -- increased more, a player like Wade would've been eligible to make 30 percent of the cap. But the cap went up just enough to give Miami $1.944 million more to spend without increasing the max they'd have to pay Wade. Despite all that good news, the Heat still don't have, by my calculations, enough space to fit Wade, Bosh and LeBron James under their revised cap number of $31.4 million without trading another player. But they're almost $2 million closer to making it happen.
The luxury tax line, above which teams have to pay $1 in tax for each dollar in payroll, was set at $70.307 million -- also up from the 2009-10 season, when it was $69.92 million.
The mid-level exception, which is tied directly to average player salaries, will go down from $5.85 million to $5.765 million -- an important distinction for the upcoming collective bargaining negotiation. In revealing during All-Star weekend in Dallas that the NBA was projected to lose $400 million this past season, Commissioner David Stern blamed escalating player salaries for the losses. But as reflected in the decline in the mid-level exception, player compensation and benefits actually declined during the 2009-10 season.
The cap, tax and mid-level figures are derived from revenues generated during the previous season. The cap is calculated at 51 percent of league-wide revenue, or BRI (basketball-related income).
In April, Stern said the latest end-of-season revenue figures projected to a 2010-11 cap of $56.1 million. The previous summer, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams warning that it was projecting a decline in revenues of between 2.5 percent and 5 percent, which would've resulted in the cap calling as low as $50.4 million to $53.6 million.
At that time, Stern said teams were doing "better than we projected" in terms of generating revenue. If that was the case, then teams did wildly better than expected once all the numbers were added up. According to an estimate of league revenue based on the $58.044 cap, the NBA brought in more than $3.4 billion during the 2009-10 season, which was adversely affected by a two-year recession that Stern blamed for the cap decreasing after the 2008-09 season.
Although the NBA had a higher cap in 2008-09 -- $58.6 million -- revenues from the prior season did not surpass the league-record posted in 2009-10 due to complexities in how the figures are calculated.
The figures are important not only for teams trying to sign free agents this week, but also in the context of the looming labor crisis facing the league. Stern, who has stated that player salaries are too high, is going to have a hard time making that case after teams produced record revenues coming out of the worst recession since the Great Depression while player salaries declined.