Chad Ford of ESPN.com doubts the Heat‘s three stars will all be back in Miami next season, but he thinks the odds are in favor of the Heat retaining LeBron James. It’s Chris Bosh who’s most likely to leave, as Ford surmises from conversations with teams and agents. The ESPN.com scribe figures lots of teams will offer Bosh the maximum salary and give him the sort of primary role he hasn’t had with Miami. Ford passed along plenty of rumors in his chat this afternoon, including his bombshell on Kyrie Irving‘s private conversations about his desire to leave Cleveland, as we covered earlier. Here’s more:
- The Raptors are “actively shopping” Kyle Lowry, Ford writes. An opposing GM who spoke to Ford’s ESPN.com colleague Chris Broussard said he thinks Toronto will hold on to the point guard through the deadline, so perhaps the Raptors are talking to lots of teams but still demanding a high return for the soon-to-be free agent.
- Ford also suggests the Raptors would prefer to position themselves for the No. 1 overall pick rather than a high playoff seed, though it would seem Toronto’s chances of winning the draft lottery are quite slim, as our reverse standings indicate.
- Arron Afflalo might be one of the most valuable trade assets on the market, according to Ford, who suggests the Magic could also extract a worthwhile return for Jameer Nelson.