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NBA roundup: Josh Smith trade rumors resurface; Rodney Stuckey signs with Indiana; James Jones joins LeBron James in Cleveland 07.17.14 at 10:51 am ET
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Josh Smith‘€™s tenure in the Motor City might only last one season.

The versatile forward has been at the center of recent trade talks that could ship the former Hawk to the Kings, according to ESPN.com.

Talks between both parties started last month before tailing off due to a lack of progress and the start of the league’€™s free agency window. Sacramento, which reportedly offered Jason Thompson and either Derrick Williams or Jason Terry in the original deal for Smith, reportedly is looking for a third team to complete the deal.

If the trade is completed, Smith will join an impressive Kings frontcourt that already includes DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay. Another potential factor in the deal could be Smith’€™s close relationship with Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo, who has also been linked to trade rumors with the Kings.

— It didn’€™t take long for the Pacers to find a replacement for Lance Stephenson.

Just a day after Stephenson agreed to a three-year, $27 million deal with the Hornets, Indiana signed guard Rodney Stuckey to a one-year deal, according to The Associated Press.

Stuckey, who played for the Pistons for the last seven years, was made expendable after Detroit added Jodie Meeks and D.J. Augustin to its backcourt this offseason. Last season, Stuckey averaged 13.9 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

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Read More: James Jones, Josh Smith, LeBron James, Rodney Stuckey
NBA roundup: Bulls cut Carlos Boozer; Erik Spoelstra, Heat ‘don’t have any regrets’ over LeBron James’ decision 07.16.14 at 11:14 am ET
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The Bulls used the amnesty clause Tuesday to cut forward Carlos Boozer after four seasons with the team.

Chicago also waived forward Lou Amundson and guards Ronnie Brewer and Mike James as the Bulls try to clear salary-cap space for the signing of Pau Gasol and 2011 draft pick Nikola Mirotic.

Boozer went to Chicago in a sign-and-trade deal with the Jazz in July 2010. He averaged 15.5 points and nine rebounds in 280 games with the Bulls.

Boozer had one year left on a five-year deal worth around $75 million. The amnesty clause allows the Bulls to release a player during the current labor deal and have 100 percent of his salary taken off the cap. Boozer is still owed the money, however.

“Carlos epitomized professionalism in everything he did for the Bulls both on the court, and in the community, during his time here in Chicago,” general manager Gar Forman said in a release. “Over the last four seasons, Carlos’ productivity helped elevate our team to another level. I have nothing but respect for Carlos, and certainly wish him the best as he moves forward.”

— Heat coach Erik Spoelstra spoke Tuesday for the first time since LeBron James decided to leave Miami to rejoin the Cavaliers. Although he said he was surprised by James’ decision, Spoelstra showed no animosity toward the superstar.

“He seemed at peace with the decision,” Spoelstra told reporters after the Heat’s summer league game in Las Vegas. “We don’t have any regrets. He shouldn’t have any regrets. It was a historic four-year run.”

Spoelstra won two titles with James during a four-year run that included four-straight NBA Finals appearances.

— At least the Heat will have two-thirds of their “Big Three” back next season.

Less than a week after James’ decision and Chris Bosh returned to Miami, Dwyane Wade signed a two-year deal with the Heat on Tuesday designed to give Wade and the team some flexibility in the coming years.  Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Carlos Boozer, Dwyane Wade, Erik Spoelstra, LeBron James
LeBron James announces return to Cavaliers in Sports Illustrated piece 07.11.14 at 12:41 pm ET
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The wait is over.

After weeks of drama and speculation, LeBron James, arguably the biggest free agent of the millennium, penned an essay for Sports Illustrated on Friday announcing that he is returning to the Cavaliers just four years after breaking the city’s heart and bolting for Miami.

“Before anyone ever cared where I would play basketball, I was a kid from Northeast Ohio. It’€™s where I walked. It’€™s where I ran. It’€™s where I cried. It’€™s where I bled. It holds a special place in my heart,” James wrote through SI’s Lee Jenkins. “People there have seen me grow up. I sometimes feel like I’€™m their son. Their passion can be overwhelming. But it drives me. I want to give them hope when I can. I want to inspire them when I can. My relationship with Northeast Ohio is bigger than basketball. I didn’€™t realize that four years ago. I do now.”

James added: “I always believed that I’€™d return to Cleveland and finish my career there. I just didn’€™t know when.”

An Akron, Ohio, native, James spent the first seven years of his career with the Cavs before leaving for the Heat in a highly scrutinized announcement on national television in 2010. James, along with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, won two championships with Miami and led the Heat to four straight NBA Finals appearances.

James had been labeled a villain to the Cavaliers and their fans following the ESPN event known as The Decision. Fans burned his jersey in the streets, he was booed as a visiting player in Cleveland and owner Dan Gilbert reviled James in an open letter that stayed on the team’s website for four years before being removed last week.

Now Miami understands Cleveland’s pain. Heat owner Micky Arison expressed his disappointment on Twitter shortly after the announcement.

Gilbert, on the other hand, is feeling much differently than he did four years ago.

James opted out of his contract with the Heat about two weeks after they lost to the Spurs in five games in the championship round.

What followed was a nearly three-week frenzy involving media reports and meetings between Rich Paul, James’ agent, and prospective teams.

Paul spoke to the Cavaliers, Rockets, Lakers, Mavericks and Suns. On Wednesday, James and Paul met with Heat president Pat Riley in Las Vegas.

“I looked at other teams, but I wasn’€™t going to leave Miami for anywhere except Cleveland,” James wrote. “The more time passed, the more it felt right. This is what makes me happy.”

The Cavs made a three-team deal involving the Nets and Celtics on Wednesday to create enough cap space to bring in James on a maximum salary contract. Now he’ll be playing alongside All-Star Kyrie Irving and the last two No. 1 overall picks — Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett.

James acknowledged the ultimate goal of bringing a championship to Cleveland. Although the signing makes the Cavs an immediate favorite in the lowly Eastern Conference, James said Cleveland isn’t a championship team yet.

“We’re not ready right now,” he said. “No way.”

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Undecided LeBron James reportedly still takes issue with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert’s letter at 9:26 am ET
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LeBron James still is contemplating whether to return to Miami or Cleveland. And there appears to be a longstanding reason why.

According to ESPN.com, one of the biggest reasons James has taken so long to decide where he’ll play next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert wrote about James after he left town in 2010.

The letter, which called James a “coward” and mocked him in various ways, remained on the Cavs’ website for four years before being removed earlier this week.

“If it wasn’t for that letter, this would’ve been done a while ago,” a source told ESPN.

James flew back from Las Vegas to Miami with Dwyane Wade Thursday night. James is said to be planning to fly from Miami to Brazil for Sunday’s World Cup final. Yahoo! Sports reported that the Heat and Cavs expect his decision before he leaves the country.

The Knicks and President Phil Jackson are in a similar wait-and-see mode on Carmelo Anthony‘s decision.

“But I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday,” Jackson told reporters at the Knicks’ summer league practice Thursday. “But no, we’re waiting.”

Jackson said he’s still hopeful the star free agent will be back next season, but hasn’t spoken to Anthony since their meeting last week.

“I felt really good about my conversation with Carmelo. We really struck a chord,” Jackson said. “The two of us, I think feel really passionately about what we’re trying to get accomplished. It’s his ability to stay, be patient, lead and watch us develop a winner.”

The Knicks offered Anthony a maximum level contract worth nearly $130 million over five years. Jackson said he has made about five contract proposals to Anthony.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James,
Reports: Cavaliers make play for Kevin Love, Ray Allen, Mike Miller 07.09.14 at 1:09 pm ET
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The Cavaliers, who on Wednesday reportedly agreed to a three-way trade involving the Celtics and Nets that will allow them to shed almost $22 million and clear room for a max contract offer to LeBron James, are said to be interested in two of James’ close friends: Ray Allen and Mike Miller.

Allen, who is believed to be seeking a max contract of $20.7 million, played in Miami the last two years after leaving the Celtics as a free agent. He turns 39 on July 20.

Miller played alongside James in Miami for three years but was waived before last season and ended up with the Grizzlies.

There also was a report from a aports radio host in Cleveland that the Cavaliers made an offer to the Timberwolves for Kevin Love in a deal that would include No. 1 overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins. However, other media outlets questioned the accuracy of that report.

Read More: Kevin Love, LeBron James, Mike Miller, Ray Allen
NBA free agency roundup: LeBron James reportedly set to meet with Heat boss Pat Riley; La Marcus Aldridge plans to sign extension with Blazers in 2015 at 9:50 am ET
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Heat free agent LeBron James is scheduled to have his much-anticipated meeting with team president Pat Riley on Wednesday in Las Vegas, according to multiple reports.

James reportedly is already in Las Vegas for his annual Nike basketball camp that begins Wednesday. James’ agent, Rich Paul, also is expected to attend the meeting. Paul already has met with the Cavaliers, Suns, Rockets, Mavericks and Lakers regarding his client.

Yahoo! Sports reported that James and fellow Heat free agent Dwyane Wade had dinner with friends Monday night at LAVO in Las Vegas.

— One player who has no interest in joining a new team is LaMarcus Aldridge. The Blazers big man told the Oregonian that he plans on signing a contract extension with Portland next summer. He said he’s postponing the extension for a year because he can sign for more years and more money in 2015.

“I’m happy to stay, happy to be here, happy with the direction the team has gone the last year or two,” Aldridge said. “This has no impact on my interest in staying in Portland. I just want to get a five-year deal. I feel like that’s the best decision on my part.”

The three-time All-Star said it was “financially smarter” to wait until next year. Aldridge is entering the final year of a five-year, $65 million deal. If he took the three-year extension, he could sign for $55 million. He could sign a five-year, $108 million maximum deal next summer.

— Thunder coach Scott Brooks met with free agent Paul Gasol in Southern California on Sunday, but the team considers it a “long shot” to acquire the 34-year-old Spaniard, according to ESPN.com.

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Read More: LaMarcus Aldridge, LeBron James,
NBA free agency roundup: Heat to meet with LeBron James after agreeing to deals with Danny Granger, Josh McRoberts 07.08.14 at 9:43 am ET
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Tuesday marked the four-year anniversary of The Decision, the day LeBron James announced he was “taking my talents to South Beach” to join the Heat.

Now Miami is desperately trying to hang on to the superstar that has led the team to four straight NBA Finals.

James, currently a free agent, is set to meet with Heat president Pat Riley “in the next two or three days,” according to The Associated Press. But luring him back in may not be quite as easy. James is reportedly giving serious thought to returning to Cleveland, where his career began in 2003, which could alter the decisions made by fellow Miami free agents Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh.

According to ESPN, Bosh is “seriously considering” the Rockets’ maximum contract offer of four years, $88 million. Bosh reportedly planned to wait on James’ decision before making his choice, but apparently the longevity of the process is giving him some doubts.

The Heat, however, are doing whatever they can to remain competitive, and give James more talent to potentially play with next season. The team announced Monday that it intends to sign free agents Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts when deals can be formalized later this week.

McRoberts’ agent, Mike Conley Sr., said the sides agreed to a four-year deal that starts around $5.3 million next season. Yahoo! Sports reported that Granger agreed to a two-year deal worth about $2 million annually.

— If any free agent is enjoying their time on the market, it’s Nets forward Paul Pierce. On Monday, the former Celtic tried his own luck at the World Series of Poker Main Event in Las Vegas.

Pierce told pokernews.com on Monday that poker provides “mental welfare” and teaches him patience on the court.

“In poker, you have to have lots of patience,” he said. “On the court, you have to make the right decisions at the right time.”

— Former Suns forward Channing Frye reportedly agreed to a four-year, $32 million deal with the Magic on Monday. Frye, 31, opted out of the $6.8 million left on the final year of his contract with Phoenix to become an unrestricted free agent.

Read More: LeBron James, Paul Pierce,
Monday’s Morning Mashup: LeBron James reportedly considers return to Cavaliers 07.07.14 at 7:55 am ET
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Welcome to Monday’s Morning Mashup. For the latest news, start at our WEEI.com home page or click here for the top stories from our news wire.

MONDAY’S BROADCAST HIGHLIGHTS:
MLB: White Sox at Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. (NESN; WEEI-FM)
MLB: Yankees at Indians, 7 p.m. (ESPN)
NBA summer league, Pacers vs. Celtics, 3 p.m. (CSNNE, NBA TV)
NBA summer league: Rockets vs. Magic, 5 p.m. (NBA TV)
NBA summer league: Thunder vs. Nets, 7 p.m. (NBA TV)
Cycling: Tour de France, 8 a.m. (NBCSN)

AROUND THE WEB:

— Four years after he left his hometown team and was viewed as a traitor in Cleveland, LeBron James reportedly is considering a return to the Cavaliers.

According to an ESPN report, James’ agent, Rich Paul, met last week with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert — who famously lashed out at James after the superstar decided to take his talents to South Beach in 2010 — and the team is hoping to meet with James this week.

The Cavaliers signed guard Kyrie Irving to a five-year contract extension last week and can entice James with first-overall draft pick Andrew Wiggins as well. Cleveland also could have three first-round draft picks in 2015.

Earlier reports indicated James will not accept less than a max contract that pays him $20.7 million. The Cavaliers currently could not afford that deal, but they could waive and trade players to clear up cap space.

Before Cavs fans get too excited, it should be noted that James’ agent reportedly also talked with representatives of the Lakers, Mavericks and Rockets, and James is expected to meet with Heat president Pat Riley in the next few days.

MASHUP POLL: Where will LeBron James end up signing this offseason?

  • Heat (51%, 211 Votes)
  • Cavaliers (30%, 123 Votes)
  • Lakers (6%, 26 Votes)
  • Somewhere else (5%, 19 Votes)
  • Rockets (3%, 13 Votes)
  • Clippers (3%, 11 Votes)
  • Suns (1%, 6 Votes)
  • Mavericks (0%, 2 Votes)

Total Voters: 411

Loading ... Loading ...

Meanwhile, the Rockets are said to be intensifying their efforts to land Chris Bosh, should Miami’s Big Three go their separate ways.

“They appreciate what they’ve done in Miami those four years together, and they want to make sure they have a chance to have that same success the next four [years],” Henry Thomas, agent for Bosh and Dwyane Wade, told ESPN.com on Sunday. “With Dwyane, he’s been there his entire career, so he’s in a unique situation. Chris has made it known how he’s felt about being in Miami these four years.”

— Hornets rookie P.J. Hairston punched a high school player during a pickup game at a YMCA in Durham, N.C., another black eye for the former North Carolina star who spent last season in the NBA D-League after having eligibility issues with the Tar Heels.

Hairston’s agent, Juan Morrow, insisted that the player was being overly aggressive with the 6-foot-6, 230-pound Hairston and threw the first punch, “and P.J. swung back.”

However, the player — North Durham High School rising senior Kentrell Barkley — told a different story.

“We were playing open gym and I was running up the court and he hit me in the forehead with his fist,” the 6-foot-5, 195-pound Barkley told ESPN.com’s Jeff Goodman. “I walked up to him and asked him what happened and then he hit me again in the neck.”

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Read More: jeff samardzija, LeBron James, P.J. Hairston,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs reportedly meet with LeBron James’ agent; Mavericks, Dirk Nowitzki reach agreement 07.04.14 at 9:46 am ET
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LeBron James may be missing Cleveland after all.

According to The Associated Press, James’ agent, Rich Paul, met with Cavaliers officials this week to discuss the free agent’s possible return to the team that drafted him in 2003.

James reportedly was not at the meeting as he continued his family vacation. It is unknown whether or not Cavs owner Dan Gilbert was present.

James recently opted out of the final two years of his contract with Miami after leading the Heat to four straight NBA Finals. James spent seven seasons in Cleveland before leaving for Miami in 2010.

— The Mavericks, on the other hand, likely will have their franchise player locked up for at least three more seasons.

Dallas reportedly agreed to a three-year, $30 million contract with Dirk Nowitzki that can’t be made official until the signing period begins next Thursday.

Nowitzki’s new contract is a significant pay cut compared to the four-year, $80 million deal he just completed, which likely was done in hopes of getting more pieces around the German forward.

Nowitzki put off finalizing the deal until after the Mavericks met with Carmelo Anthony on Wednesday.

— The Knicks apparently haven’t given up on retaining Carmelo Anthony.

The team reportedly traveled to Los Angeles on Thursday night to meet with the free agent and offered him the maximum contract allowable. The meeting included team president Phil Jackson and general manager Steve Mills.

Anthony was in Los Angeles Thursday to meet with the Lakers, and has already met with Chicago, Houston and Dallas. The Knicks, however, can offer him the largest contract at nearly $130 million over five years.

— The Kings have reportedly agreed to a three-year, $16 million contract with point guard Darren Collison.

Collison opted out of the final year of his contract with the Clippers that would have paid him $1.9 million next season. He may start for Sacramento next season if the Kings lose Isaiah Thomas to free agency.

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James,
NBA free agency roundup: Cavs give Kyrie Irving new deal; LeBron James reportedly seeking max salary 07.01.14 at 9:35 am ET
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The Cavaliers were the first team to make a splash at the start of free agency, but they did so by securing one of their own.

Cleveland agreed to terms on a five-year contract extension with Kyrie Irving just a couple of hours after the free agent market opened. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert announced the agreement via Twitter early Tuesday morning. Gilbert didn’t provide the terms of the deal, but multiple outlets have reported that Irving was given a maximum deal worth $90 million.

— Another player seeking max money is also the most prominent name on the market ‘€” LeBron James.

According to an ESPN.com report, James wants no less than the maximum salary number for next season, which is projected to be about $20.7 million.

James took a pay cut to team up with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami in 2010, but now that burden may fall on his teammates to keep the band together.

— The Bulls are expected to make a pitch to Carmelo Anthony. The selling point: the talented roster that is expected to have Derrick Rose back next season.

“What we’re selling is our team,” coach Tom Thibodeau said Monday. “I’m sure free agents are aware of our team, the guys that we do have and our players will be available to talk. We think we have a lot to offer. We have great depth. We have great tradition. And we’re positioned well to go forward. So we think we do have a lot to sell.”

— Two mainstays who won’t be returning to their longtime teams are Jameer Nelson and Chauncey Billups.

The Magic waived Nelson on Monday, sparing them the $8 million they would’ve owed the point guard next season.

“I appreciate the opportunity the Orlando Magic has afforded me and my family over the past 10 years,” Nelson, Orlando’s longest-tenured player, said in a statement. “All good things must come to an end, however, and it’s time to move on. I look forward to continuing my career as an NBA player and will never take for granted my time in Orlando.”

The Pistons announced Monday that they won’t pick up the team option on Billups. Coach Stan Van Gundy said the decision was a hard one and noted Billups “will always be a valued member of the Detroit Pistons family.”

Read More: Carmelo Anthony, Chauncey Billups, Jameer Nelson, Kyrie Irving