Tag:LeBron James
Posted on: July 16, 2010 9:56 pm
Edited on: July 16, 2010 10:38 pm
 

Summer League Buzz

LAS VEGAS -- If members of LeBron James' entourage get hired by the Miami Heat, the NBA wouldn't rule out opening an investigation into possible salary-cap circumvention, a high-ranking official familiar with the league's thinking told CBSSports.com Friday.

While league officials are not actively pursuing any tampering charges related to James' decision to sign with the Heat -- and, in fact, have received no complaints that would trigger such a probe -- it wouldn't be surprising to see an investigation related to any jobs given to people in James' circle of advisers. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the league would not need a team to lodge a complaint to launch such an investigation.

In a detailed account of the Heat's nearly two-year effort to recruit James to join Dwyane Wade in Miami, Yahoo! Sports on Friday quoted an NBA front office executive who said he wants the league to examine whether Heat president Pat Riley promised jobs or other benefits to members of James' camp as part of his recruiting pitch.

 “You can’t promise jobs or preferential services outside of a contract or a job for a friend," the team executive told Yahoo! Sports. "If that’s part of the deal, it’s a violation.”

The penalties for such side deals designed to circumvent salary-cap rules are severe. In 2000, the Minnesota Timberwolves were fined $3.5 million and lost three draft picks after disclosure of a written deal with free agent Joe Smith. The arrangement called for Smith to play under three consecutive one-year contracts, after which it was agreed that the team would use his Bird rights to sign him to a multi-year deal to make up for the money he'd left on the table. Owner Glen Taylor and then-GM Kevin McHale agreed to leaves of absence in order to get back two other draft picks that had been taken away as part of the penalty. In addition to forfeiture of draft picks, league rules call for a maximum fine of $5 million, voiding the contract of the player in question, and up to a one-year suspension of any team officials involved.

One impediment to prosecuting such a case against the Heat -- if and when members of James' camp are hired for any jobs -- is that it will be difficult to prove it is any different from what the Cavs did to appease James when he played for them. One member of James' circle of friends, Randy Mims, was employed by the Cavs as a "player liaison." The hiring was never investigated, and the Cavs were never subject to any punishment for the arrangement.

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While the Hawks have ruled out paying luxury tax to sign Shaquille O'Neal -- or any other free agent, for that matter -- the organization hasn't shut the door completely on bringing Shaq to Atlanta, a person familiar with the team's thinking told CBSSports.com. If O'Neal were to lower his asking price from the mid-level exception -- starting at about $5.8 million -- to the bi-annual exception of about $1.9 million, the Hawks would be interested in exploring such a signing. Atlanta would be able to pay O'Neal the bi-annual exception -- or a portion of its mid-level -- and avoid paying luxury tax. But the current ownership group has never paid luxury tax and doesn't plan to begin paying it now. Also, the Hawks haven't discussed -- nor are they interested in -- a sign-and-trade arrangement with the Cavs that would cost them a piece of their young core, sources say.

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The Raptors continue to explore several potential trade scenarios involving point guard Jose Calderon, who was going to be dealt to the Bobcats earlier this week before Charlotte owner Michael Jordan backed out of the deal. Interest from potential trade partners has been lukewarm, according to a person with knowledge of the talks. ... Wizards assistant GM Tommy Sheppard and Kings assistant GM Jason Levien will interview for the Hornets' GM opening, two people with knowledge of the situation confirmed to CBSSports.com. Hornets president Hugh Weber already has spoken with Spurs executive Dell Demps and plans to speak with former Trail Blazers execs Kevin Pritchard and Tom Penn, as well as former Suns exec David Griffin, sources said. Weber, according to one of the sources, is hoping to have the process wrapped up quickly, perhaps as soon as Sunday. ... Demps has spoken with Suns officials about that team's opening for a personnel man to work under incoming team president Lon Babby, a former player agent.



Posted on: July 13, 2010 2:47 pm
Edited on: July 13, 2010 5:24 pm
 

Heat add 'Big Z' to supporting cast

The Heat took another important step toward assembling a supporting cast for their Big Three, agreeing to terms with former Cavaliers center Zydrunas Ilgauskas Tuesday, a person with knowledge of the decision confirmed to CBSSports.com.

Miami has used the cap space created by Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh accepting less than maximum salaries in the first year of their contracts, plus the salary dump of Michael Beasley, to add shooter Mike Miller, Juwan Howard and Ilgauskas while retaining forward Udonis Haslem. Miami officials met with Lakers point guard Derek Fisher, but the five-time champion elected to return to L.A.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer first reported Miami's agreement with Ilgauskas, a longtime teammate and friend of James. The Cavs had a standing offer on the table for Ilgauskas, who decided to join James in Miami for the chance to win the first championship of his 12-year career.

The Heat have several more roster spots to fill and are able to offer mostly the veteran's minimum. Miller fit into Beasley's $5 million slot, and the money for Haslem and Ilgauskas resulted from Wade accepting a first-year salary of $14.2 million -- about $2.4 million less than the max -- according to sources. James and Bosh took first-year salaries of $14.5 million.




Posted on: July 9, 2010 6:52 pm
 

Bosh sign-and-trade done


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
 

Free-Agent Buzz: Felton to Knicks (UPDATE)

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.

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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
 

LeBron chooses Heat (UPDATE)

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
 

LeBron's South Beach celebration in place?

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 2:38 am
 

Reports: LeBron 'leaning toward' Miami

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.

Ya think?




Posted on: July 8, 2010 12:17 am
Edited on: July 8, 2010 12:50 am
 

Free-Agent Buzz (UPDATE)


In anticipation of LeBron James' free-agent decision, stock in Madison Square Garden Inc. jumped 6.4 percent to $21.57 per share on five times the normal trading volume Wednesday. If only James could capture some of that value as part of signing with the Knicks.

Well, despite a Forbes Magazine report last month that James could pull off such a coup, he can't. Please return to your regularly scheduled free-agent absurdity.

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The Warriors and Knicks are in advanced talks about a sign-and-trade arrangement that would send free-agent power forward David Lee to the Bay Area for Anthony Randolph and Ronny Turiaf, two people involved in the talks confirmed to CBSSports.com. The trade is being set up as a contingency plan for the Knicks if James chooses to sign with another team Thursday. If James chooses to sign with the Knicks, they will have to renounced his rights -- and thus the rights to sign and trade him under the Larry Bird exception -- in order to clear the necessary salary cap space. Lee's agent, Mark Bartelstein, also is believed to have maintained contact with the Nets, who are in danger of getting shut out in the free-agent chase. But the Golden State scenario for Lee has legs, to an extent.

"It's got legs," one of the people involved in the talks said. "But it needs arms, a torso and a head."

The Knicks, who like other teams in the hunt for James have no clue what he's going to announce Thursday, are exploring other scenarios in which they re-sign Lee -- although Lee is believed to be ready to move on. If James says no to the Knicks, and team president Donnie Walsh orchestrates the Lee trade, then Randolph and Turiaf will go down in ignominy as the players the Knicks got instead of LeBron. If nothing else, that would take some pressure off Amar'e Stoudemire, who will be introduced Thursday in a news conference at MSG.

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After Ray Allen agreed to a two-year, $20 million deal to return to the Celtics Wednesday, with a player's option on the second year, Boston continued to explore acquiring a big man to fortify the frontcourt while center Kendrick Perkins is out with a knee injury suffered in the NBA Finals. A person familiar with the Celtics' plans said they were in discussions with free agent Jermaine O'Neal, who also was talking with the Nuggets and Mavericks.











 
 
 
 
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