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Posted on: July 7, 2010 9:34 am
Edited on: July 7, 2010 9:44 am
 

Reports: Bosh to Miami

The next significant piece may be falling into place, and it's good news for Miami.

Our own Ken Berger reported last night that an executive close to the talks between the Big 3 free agents (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh) has indicated that Chris Bosh will be joining Dwyane Wade in Miami in a sign-and-trade. That's followed by a report from ESPN's Chris Broussard this morning indicating sources have confirmed Wade and Bosh announcing their decision to join the Heat Wednesday afternoon.

This will send tremors throughout the NBA as without Bosh, LeBron James will likely be rejoining a Cavaliers team that has won 60 games the past two seasons but has failed to win a championship and now returns with no significant changes to their roster outside of a new head coach in Byron Scott.

But more importantly, it signals Miami as a rising contender to the Eastern title. Miami will have enough room to sign auxiliary free agents to put support around the superstar duo. But the question will be how much. Miami will need to arrange for a sign-and-trade agreement that sends either Mario Chalmers or Michael Beasley out if they want to be able to have the flexibility to really improve the roster around this new monster combo to the point of contention. And as Ken Berger tells us this morning, that's not necessarily a done deal.

While the Raptors are prepared to move forward with sign-and-trade scenarios sending Bosh to Miami, the duo's agent Henry Thomas had yet to sign off on any finalized trade agreement as of Wednesday morning, two sources involved in the process told CBSSports.com's Ken Berger .

So now we wait to see how the rest of the pieces unfold. Will this deal get done, with Miami having one of the most formidable combinations in the league... and not much else? How will they put a contending support core around the two? What will James do, faced now with no significant superstar additions if he doesn't leave Cleveland? What else does Pat Riley have up his sleeve? Where does Chicago turn if they miss out on all three of the top free agents in this class, after working so hard to clear space, despite having the best collection of talent? The big questions are starting to be answered, which means the rest could be coming in a flood over the next few weeks.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 7, 2010 2:58 am
 

LeBron James follows the trend of control

Mr. Young brought you the news that LeBron James is hosting a little dog and pony show to announce his decision on Thursday. James, Bosh, and Wade will share a conference call Wednesday to discuss their plans and possibly coordinate the checkmate moves. The storm clouds are gathering, as one might say.

But let's take a moment and recognize the apex of a movement in cultural interactions between celebrities and their fans. As is often the case, trends in sports and sports personalities reflect the ongoing evolution of our cultural landscape, and King James, he is reflectin'.

Over the weekend, Joe Johnson's agent, Arn Tellem announced without announcing on the Huffington Post that Joe Johnson would be accepting the max offer from the Hawks to return to Atlanta. Tellem was able to give what the Johnson camp wants to expound as his motivations and intentions regarding the decision to re-sign with the Hawks. He painted the picture that Johnson wants painted, and that's the lead story. By controlling the story, shaping it and putting it in a public forum, Tellem took the power away from the small army of reporters that broke news of the extension offer throughout the week prior.

This follows a year where we saw the best and worst of social media interactions with athletes. Some NBA players stuck their foot in their mouth, Michael Beasley famously posted images of himself with marijuana on a nearby table (later confirmed to not be his house). But on the flip side, the Oklahoma City Thunder embraced Twitter and saw their public image soar, particularly Kevin Durant. Dwyane Wade reached out and communicated, as did Chris Paul. By reaching out and communicating up front with their fans, these players made themselves even bigger and did so on their own terms without the risks involved in third party conversations and interviews.

Which brings us to LeBron James' actions throughout the week. First his website appeared revamped, with talk of "finding out first." Rumors of James intending to announce his free agency decision via the website were later debunked . Then the Twitter account opened. Don't think there's been a radical shift in policy with James? Consider that the reporter who's followed him his entire career is completely baffled by the opening of James' Twitter account. That, along with the announcement of the live announcement represent a drastic change in the perception of James by those that have been with him the longest. The stakes have changed. And the playing field has changed alongside with it.

The key to this is the ability to control the message. Instead of having every angle, feeling, and angle about his business decisions laid out by reporters around the media sphere and the world wide web (it's an information superhighway, you know), James has the opportunity to lay out his decision in the most dramatic way possible, while raising money for charity. He raises his profile, puts himself on the map in a way never before seen. He'll never be Jordan, but he can market himself bigger. What's striking is that by doing so, he's somehow moved the importance of this operation from what his decision is to the announcement itself.

It doesn't matter where James goes. It's how he announces it. The man is having an hour on the most powerful sports television entity in the world, selling his own advertising, and donating it to charity, only furthering his image. There will be backlash, because that's what happens when you market yourself. It's self-aggrandizement, but you should also recognize that it's proof of the power of controlling your own message, of honing and delivering it on your own terms. More so than going to New York or Chicago or staying home and being the hero, it's the process of his declaration that gives this moment its weight. It's false dramatics, but then, this is sport. We turn athletes into Warriors and games into legends. We're not above this behavior, James is simply harnessing its full power.

LeBron James is on the verge of a decision which will impact the next half-decade in the NBA. He could win multiple titles or walk away empty handed. He could destroy Cleveland or save it. He could resurrect New York, rise in Jordan's shadow, claim Brooklyn as his kingdom, or bring the party to South Beach. But in reality, regardless of his decision, he's making history. He's bringing the power of individual control to a new level, and capitalizing on the full weight of his business potential. For years, he's discussed wanting to be a global icon. It turns out that where he plays may not be the key to accomplishing that. Instead, his method for revealing his decision could be the launching pad towards finally reaching that particular atmosphere.

-Matt Moore
Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:02 pm
 

ESPN: LeBron will announce decision Thursday

Per independent sources, ESPN's Chris Broussard reports that LeBron James will be announcing his free agency decision live on ESPN Thursday at 9 p.m. ET.

That's right, NBA free agency has officially jumped the shark. Hopefully to complete the effect, LeBron will lay out four hats, start to pick up the Chicago one in the middle, only to have a Cleveland cap underneath. Then he'll proudly put it on, hug his mother and this whole "recruitment" will have gone full circle.

But as high school-ish as this all sounds, what's cool is that LeBron's people reportedly requested the option to sell sponsorship for the one-hour special, with proceeds going to the Boys and Girls Club of America. I can dig that. As childish and self-centered this whole free agency thing can be, that's a pretty selfless, quality gesture. And good PR as well, mind you.

Obviously everyone is probably thinking what I'm thinking right now: So does ESPN already know? According to the report, no they do not. And supposedly won't until LeBron announces it live on TV.

Brian Windhorst also tossed out that ESPN was in talks with LeBron about filming his free agency "tour" but those talks ended after the Cavs bowed out in the playoffs to the Celtics. So LeBron was already planning out this televised special while he was playing in some of the most important games of his life? I think you can draw your own conclusions there.

So I guess we can all stop worrying about this Thursday night. Until then, speculate like you've never speculated before. Because even as draining and mind-numbing as this is, it's kind of fun, isn't it?

-Royce Young


Posted on: July 6, 2010 9:32 pm
Edited on: July 6, 2010 9:35 pm
 

Berger Says: The Chris Bosh stalemate


All's quiet on the free agency front. Too quiet. As we wait for the next bombshell, we decided to check in with Ken Berger and ask him for the latest on Chris Bosh's situation and how it affects the rest of the dominoes:


Matt Moore: Chris Bosh has all of a sudden moved into a catalyst-type position, if the reports of the sign-and-trade Cleveland option is true. Let's start there. What exactly would the Raptors be looking for in a package back, cap space and picks, or veteran assets?


Ken Berger: First, yes, the Raptors have told Bosh and his agent, Henry Thomas, that they're willing to explore a sign-and-trade with Cleveland. It's the most advantageous circumstance for everybody involved: LeBron stays and gets his max deal, Bosh leaves and gets his max deal, the Cavs become even more of a championship contender, and the Raptors get quality assets in return -- some combination of Anderson Varejao/J.J. Hickson, Anthony Parker/Jamario Moon, plus Delonte West (who'd be waived by Toronto with $4 million in savings because only $500,000 of his salary for next season is guaranteed) and possibly draft picks. (The Cavs don't have any extra ones, but have their own picks to offer). The problem is, Bosh doesn't want to go. He much prefers Miami, Chicago or the Nets. Thus, stalemate.

MM: We've been hearing strong indications the whole way through of Bosh to Miami. How many times has Bosh actually met with Pat Riley and Co., that you know of, and are you hearing the same?

KB: Once that I know of, and it's still in play. Miami also has explored Amar'e Stoudemire (committed to the Knicks) and Carlos Boozer (whom the Jazz are claiming they want to re-sign) as a running mate for Dwyane Wade. If Bosh wants to go to Miami on his own (without a sign-and-trade), it's more than doable; the Heat have the cap room. Problem is, Bosh would wind up with less money than Wade because of the 8 percent raises and five years he'd get vs. 10.5 percent raises and six years from Toronto. If Bosh is OK with that, Miami makes the most sense. If he wants to push for the sign-and-trade, the obstacle will be the Raptors; Miami doesn't have nearly the assets to trade that Cleveland does. One thing to consider: since Bosh would be going to a team with cap space, Toronto would get a massive trade exception, which will be very useful at the trade deadline when teams that are falling out of the playoff race are desperate to get out from under contracts. Bosh-to-Miami might not get the Raptors an immediate replacement -- a tough sell in the short term -- but with a little patience, they might do better in a few months. Is that a risk they're willing to take?

MM: Is New Jersey still in this thing at all?


KB: Although the Nets are on Bosh's preferred list if LeBron goes with him, those discussions aren't gaining any traction because the Cleveland scenario clearly takes precedence for the Raptors. Even the Rockets, in Bosh's home state of Texas, have some attractive pieces to offer (free-agent Luis Scola, Shane Battier, Trevor Ariza). So the Nets are in a little bit of a danger zone. Do they try to push things forward by making a play for Boozer, thus making themselves more attractive to Wade or LeBron (as the Knicks tried with Stoudemire?) Another option is David Lee, who wants to stay in the New York area and clearly isn't going back to the Knicks. Lee, probably attainable at $11-$12 million a year, is a better deal than all the other power forward on the market.

MM: How does Amar'e agreeing to a deal with New York affect Bosh? Does it raise or lower his value?


KB: Bosh's value is pretty much set; $125 million if Toronto pays him, $96 million is somebody else does. What Stoudemire going to the Knicks did was remove one possible destination and force LeBron and Wade to accelerate their decisions. The last thing either one wants is to return to his existing team with no superstar coming with him; although the Cavs believe they have the best to offer LeBron, having won 60-plus games two years in a row. With Stoudemire off the board, Bosh has the ability to lure LeBron or Wade with him. But if he wants to get all the money possible, he has to work with the Raptors. And to this point, he hasn't.

MM:  Are all the free agents basically waiting on each other, or do you expect one to kick-start the rest of the dominoes?


KB: One team executive told me Tuesday that the market has come to a "screeching halt" while teams and free agents wait for LeBron, Wade and Bosh to make a decision. To a degree, their decisions are intertwined. But at some point, each player is going to have to do what's best for him. When one of them shows his cards and commits to either staying put or leaving, the rest of it will come together in a flurry of activity that will be the opposite of the paralysis we're currently witnessing.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 6:03 pm
 

Is Gerald Henderson making the jump?

Gerald Henderson was drafted out of Duke with a lot of promise. Then he fell into the endless pit that all rookies fall into under Larry Brown. It's like the gigantic sand monster in Return of the Jedi . But the Duke prospect has an opportunity this season, even with Stephen Jackson in front of him, to make an impact. And the work he's putting in in Summer League may help get him there.

Henderson dropped 21 points today after leveling 20 yesterday. He had the whole range of his offense going, and added 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Henderson could help the Bobcats out dramatically if he can come in and provide backcourt depth this season, allowing them to focus on a replacement point guard with Reymond Felton likely departing and Tyrus Thomas a restricted free agent.

Henderson was also crazy efficient, scoring those 21 points on just 11 shots, getting 11 shots from the line. Henderson has to come out guns blazing through training camp if he's going to work his way into LB's rotation. Orlando Summer League has at least been a good start for the sophomore.

-Matt Moore

Posted on: July 6, 2010 5:34 pm
 

The Bosh Conundrum

Deciphering the riddle of Chris Bosh with what we know so far ...
So if Chris Bosh wants the extra year, and wants to play with LeBron, then he might be able to go to Cleveland, New Jersey, or Chicago.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and Wade wants to go to Miami, he can go to Miami, but can't get the extra year.

If he wants to play for the Knicks, well, tough.

If he wants to play with Dwyane Wade and get the extra year, he'll have to convince Wade to go to Chicago, New Jersey, or conceptually, Cleveland.

If he wants to play for the Clippers, he's obviously incurred brain damage.

Does that wrap things up?

Bosh no longer has one decision to make, he has several. He has the options in front of him, and now has to choose which road. Does he take the money, and the security? Or the best chance to win a championship? Does he take the weather? Or the fame? In one sense, Bosh has become the catalyst in all this. He commits to a sign-and-trade with Cleveland, that may be enough to pull LeBron back. He doesn't, and he's left waiting, staring at James in a game of chicken they both lose in. On the other, the onus may now be on Bosh. If he wants to get the perfect situation (a move to Chicago that gets him the extra money, and the city he wants, and a superstar contending core), he'll have to talk either Wade or James into leaving home. That doesn't seem like something Bosh has much interest in, but then again, trying to figure out Bosh's priorities at this point is as much a Nintendo Duck Hunt as it is with the other two.

There's a weird standoff taking place. For as much as the three have talked and discussed playing together, every indication is that each wants what he wants and wants the others to want what he wants as well. How's that for a tongue twister? James wants to stay home and not stab the state of Ohio in the heart, while contending for a championship and getting his extra money. Wade wants to stay home where he's made himself part of the community through charity and business, and most importantly, wants to contend for a championship again.

Bosh? No one knows what his angle is. But whatever he decides may end up deciding the future of the league for the next half decade.

No pressure, Chris.
Posted on: July 6, 2010 11:37 am
Edited on: July 6, 2010 11:39 am
 

Report: Cavs have trade for Bosh in place


Chris Broussard of ESPN is reporting that the Raptors have agreed to a sign-and-trade of Chris Bosh if Bosh agrees to such a deal.

Whoa boy.

So right off the bat, there are conflicting reports . Secondly, again, Bosh has not agreed to such a deal, and Broussard reports that he is cold to the idea of being by the Lake instead prefers Chicago (yes, I know, also by a lake, go with me), New Jersey, or Miami. Miami is out, according to Broussard because they lack the pieces the Raptors would want in a sign-and-trade. Both Chicago and New Jersey have players the Raps would be interested in, but not moreso than what the Cavs have to toss in.

So what's the big deal? Isn't Bosh an unrestricted free agent, able to sign anywhere?

That's true, but the Raptors can let Bosh have his cake and eat it too. He can sign for more money and more years with Toronto, then be sent to where he wants to play, with who he wants to play with.

The tightly held puzzle of free agency is starting to loosen.

If Broussard's on the money, and the Raps can't figure out a deal of high enough value with Chicago or New Jersey, then Bosh will have to decide between the extra money and security, or his own autonomy and a bigger market. It's a tough decision, but consider that once again, LeBron James has the impetus to control the situation here. If LeBron signs with Cleveland outright, he could force Bosh's decision, especially if Wade is still on the fence.

Meanwhile, the report has significant implications for both Miami and Chicago. The time may have come to divert attention from James and to Wade, in an effort to get him off the fence and in their respective uniforms first. With Amar'e in New York, off the market, and Joe Johnson locked up in Atlanta, both Chicago and Miami will have to make significant moves to avoid being left out in the cold if they feel like talks with the Raptors are stagnant. Bosh may be reticent to go to Cleveland but he's now looking at extra money and a direct courtship from LeBron James. That's enough to open some eyes to the beauty of Cleveland.

Things are starting to shake loose. We'll keep you updated on where the next piece falls.

Posted on: July 6, 2010 10:47 am
 

Your Morning Shootaround 7.6.10

What's going on in the NBA world...

Dwyane Wade cancelled his press conference for this morning in Miami. No reason was given. Let's not try and get ahead of ourselves, but whichever way you lean in the whole thing, it's curious.

Mikhail Prokhorov told advisers he thinks Chris Bosh will join Dwyane Wade in Miami. He's still hopeful to land LeBron James. Most interesting to me from the notes was Prokhorov's statement about Bosh and Wade's agent Henry Thomas not being aware of the global business implications. If this was leaked intentionally, that provides a whole new context to these statements.

The Magic signed Chris Duhon to a four year deal , which should help with almost none of their needs.

LeBron James is giving indications he plans on announcing his decision on his next team via his own website . Which will, inevitably, crash when he does announce it. I like this plan, already.

Allen Iverson wants to return to the NBA. This should end well. And by "well," I mean "in a turnover."

The Cavs and Suns have started talks about a Leandro Barbosa for Delonte West and Jamario Moon swap.

We'll have more on these stories and more throughout the day.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com