The general consensus among several NBA executives is that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh will presumably re-sign with the Heat, says Sam Amico of FOX Sports Ohio. As for Carmelo Anthony, most executives reportedly believe that the seven-time All-Star will re-up with the Knicks (Twitter links).
Unfortunately, the Knicks reported today that an MRI revealed a small tear in Anthony’s right labrum; however, no surgery is needed and he’ll be re-evaluated in a month (Twitter links via the official Knicks PR account). Depending on how one looks at it, it may be considered a blessing that the star forward will not risk aggravating the injury by trying to play through pain had New York made the playoffs this year. Al Iannazzone of Newsday (via Twitter) notes that Anthony decided to continue playing on a torn labrum in his left shoulder at the end of last season.
Here’s more out of the Eastern Conference tonight:
- Thaddeus Young isn’t sure if his time with the 76ers is running out, but the veteran forward tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that he’ll remain with the team as long as they want him and he’s under contract. Young is still on the books for 2014/15; however, the Sixers could look to deal him this summer if they feel that he’ll eventually choose to turn down his $9.8MM player option for 2015/16, adds Pompey.
- Soon-to-be restricted free agents Patrick Patterson and Greivis Vasquez are “immensely open” to re-signing with the Raptors on long-term deals this summer, according to Shams Charania of RealGM. Charania also hears from DeMar DeRozan, who says he never thought about trying to push for an early escape from his four-year extension when the team was struggling early this season.
- Nets GM Billy King is exploring all of the team’s options in the NBDL right now, relays Tim Bontemps of the New York Post (via Twitter). King added that an announcement will be made as soon as a decision is reached.
- Toney Douglas considers himself to be in a more advantageous position heading into free agency this summer after making the most of his chance to revive his career with the Heat this season, writes Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel.
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Kentucky freshman James Young hasn’t made a decision on if he’s entering the NBA Draft yet, reports The Kentucky Advocate Messenger. Young’s godfather, Sean Mahone said, “I am not even certain what the deadline is for deciding. That shows how we are not fixated on the draft. That is just an innocent admission of where we are and what we have been thinking about. It’s just been chaos the last few weeks during this incredible run with a lot of late night worries and anxiety and then some great, great moments. That was our focus, not next year.”
More from around the league:
- The Heat were offered Evan Turner in a trade by the Sixers before the trade deadline with Udonis Haslem being the only significant piece they would have had to send in return, writes Dan Le Batard of The Miami Herald. The Heat didn’t make the trade, at least in part because they didn’t like how it would look to deal one of the club’s longest tenured players, reports Le Batard.
- According to Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun (Twitter link), whoever takes over as GM of the Pistons needs to clear out the logjam at power forward. Greg Monroe is looking for a big pay raise and Josh Smith doesn’t mesh well with Brandon Jennings and Monroe, opines Wolstat.
- The Cavaliers are going to have to figure out if Dion Waiters and Kyrie Irving can play together, writes Terry Pluto of The Plain Dealer. It’s not the players personalities that are the problem, but rather that their ball-dominant games are too alike, opines Pluto.
- The Lakers Pau Gasol is officially done for the season, reports Mike Trudell of Lakers.com (Twitter link). Team doctors had told Gasol that he was still a few weeks away from returning to action.
- Hofstra senior guard Zeke Upshaw has signed with agent Brian J. Bass, reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com (Twitter link).
Ray Allen appears unlikely to return to the Heat next season, writes Sam Amico of Fox Sports Ohio. League insiders nonetheless believe that if the Heat’s trio of stars return, there’s a strong chance the team will try to re-sign Allen, too, so it seems his future is contingent on what LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh decide to do. Indeed, those three will have much to say about what happens in free agency leaguewide, and Amico has more on the summer ahead and another member of the Heat as we highlight here:
- Several teams are expected to court Heat forward Shane Battier for an executive job or a gig related to player development, Amico hears. Battier recently reiterated his plans to retire at season’s end.
- The emergence of Brian Roberts has strengthened the belief around the league that the Pelicans will trade former lottery pick Austin Rivers this summer, according to Amico. Roberts is set to become a restricted free agent.
- Sources tell Amico they wouldn’t be surprised if several teams aside from the Knicks try to convince Steve Kerr to run their basketball operations. Kerr has expressed a desire to coach, but it looks like the leaguewide interest in him is as an executive, the role he held with the Suns from 2007 to 2010.
- Boris Diaw, Luol Deng, C.J. Miles, Marvin Williams, Luke Ridnour, Kris Humphries, Devin Harris and Jimmer Fredette are other free agents who appear unlikely to be back with their respective teams, Amico writes.
Last week, we learned that the Heat almost traded forward Udonis Haslem at the deadline this year. Aside from what he brings on the court, his locker room presence is perhaps even more valued, as Mario Chalmers explained to Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick. ”That’s a tough question,” the guard said when asked to quantify Haslem’s value to the team. “U.D., besides Dwyane [Wade] and [LeBron James] and [Chris Bosh], he is the heart and soul of this team. He is one of the captains, one of the leaders on this team. He sets a good example for everybody else. I don’t know. It wouldn’t have been a good thing.” More out of the Southeast..
- If LeBron opts out of his current contract, the most the Heat can pay him is about $20MM in 2014/15 thanks to the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Of course, James is worth much more than that in reality, and Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel speculates that he could demand that the Heat bridge that gap by diving even further into the luxury tax to sustain a solid supporting cast. Mario Chalmers’ free-agent contract, a mini-mid-level replacement for Shane Battier, another deal for Ray Allen, or even a pay bump for Chris Andersen could be on LeBron’s mind this summer.
- Second-year forward Kyle O’Quinn says the secret to his success has been the ability to have a short memory and put bad games behind him, writes Ken Hornack of FOX Sports Florida. The Magic can match offers for the restricted free agent O’Quinn after this season with a modest qualifying offer of $1.18MM. Beyond that, Orlando will likely have to give him a significant pay bump.
- Earlier today, Magic chairman Dan DeVos emphatically stated that the team is not for sale.
Grant Hill says he understands what Kyrie Irving is going through, telling Sean Deveney of The Sporting News that the criticism and speculation surrounding the Cavs former No. 1 pick is par for the course. “In the NBA, that’s the epitome of it, but also what makes it difficult. The sport we are in, you constantly have to meet and surpass expectations, because you are constantly being evaluated by people. If you don’t succeed, you get traded, you get fired, you get criticized. That is what we sign up for,” said Hill. “After 19 years, you realize that’s part of the job, you are going to be evaluated and you are going to be criticized — it is not all glamour.” More from the East:
- President Phil Jackson is looking to add one or more additions to the Knicks front office, and he’s targeting a young salary cap expert to assist him and GM Steve Mills, a source tells Marc Stein of ESPN.com. The only candidate for such a position within Jackson’s inner circle would be Steve Kerr, who only appears interested in a return to coaching.
- Stein says it’s possible that Kerr could wind up coaching and bringing along a front office executive of his own, with one potential name being David Griffin, the Cavs interim GM at the moment.
- J. Michael of CSNWashington.com thinks the latest defensive performance by Trevor Ariza against Carmelo Anthony is a reminder that the Wizards should do what it takes to retain the small forward when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. Ariza is shooting a career best from three this season, and has helped Washington reach the playoffs after a long drought.
- Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel thinks the Heat should pay whatever it takes in tax penalties to keep LeBron James. Since James’ salary is limited by the CBA to a value much below his practical worth for Miami, Winderman says exceeding the tax to provide him with a quality supporting cast is one way they can make up the virtual salary gap to him.
- Cody Taylor at Basketball Insiders looks at what it will take for the Magic to turnaround their franchise as they continue the rebuilding process.
- Ed Rendell of The Philadelphia Daily News thinks that the Sixers rebuilding strategy is brilliant, and sees it paying off with a competitive team next season.
The Hawks can go a long way toward the playoffs if they win at home tonight against the Cavs, while a loss puts Atlanta in trouble. The Southeast Division could have as many as four teams in the playoffs, with the Heat leading the way, as usual. Here’s the latest on the Heat and their division rivals:
- A source tells Bleacher Report’s Ethan Skolnick that the Heat fielded offers for Udonis Haslem before the deadline this year, and Mario Chalmers and others in the locker room are glad the team didn’t deal away Haslem and mess with its chemistry.
- Elton Brand still hasn’t made up his mind about returning for a 16th NBA season next year, tweets Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. The Hawks center will be a free agent at the end of the season.
- The players the Magic acquire in the offseason could determine whether the team continues its experiment with rookie Victor Oladipo at point guard, coach Jacque Vaughn told reporters, including Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel.
Heat team president Pat Riley thinks it would be difficult for Miami’s stars to abandon a run of success that “can go for 10 or 12 years,” as he says to Michael Wallace of ESPN.com, but Riley is nonetheless cognizant that nothing’s for certain.
“You always fear,” Riley said. “It’s not a real fear. I always have concern when players are in the situation they’re in. But we feel we have the best organization in the league for those players to stay, and to also attract others to want to come here. With our three guys, we hope that this turns into a generational team. And that it’s not just we’re at the end of this four-year run right now because players have some options this summer.”
With LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh less than three months away from the June 30th deadline for them to decide what to do with their early termination options, here’s more on the Heat and their Eastern Conference rivals:
- James is well aware of what Riley can do to keep the Heat in championship contention, as he tells Wallace for the same piece. “He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone. Not me, not Dwyane, not Chris. No one,” James said. “His résumé speaks for itself. His stature speaks for itself. So we’ll see what happens.”
- Knicks president Phil Jackson told reporters today that he and owner James Dolan agreed that Jackson could do away with the team’s ties to any agency if necessary, notes Chris Herring of The Wall Street Journal. The team’s seeming allegiance to the Creative Artists Agency “won’t hold weight with me,” Jackson said (Twitter links).
- Jackson said again that he has no intention of coaching and that he has yet to have a conversation with Carmelo Anthony about the future, as Fred Kerber of the New York Post and Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com pass along via Twitter.
- Kirk Hinrich says he enjoys playing in Chicago and would like to re-sign with the Bulls this summer, as K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune details.
The Cavs used the room exception to sign Scotty Hopson on Monday, but because the maximum 4.5% raise permitted via the exception is tied to what he actually makes, rather than the exception’s full value, Hopson isn’t a particularly intriguing trade chip. Mark Deeks of ShamSportsexplains the matter in his latest piece for the Score, noting that Hopson’s salary of about $1.37MM this season and $1.44MM next season is roughly equivalent to what a veteran of 10 seasons or more would make on a minimum-salary deal. Hopson is ineligible to be traded until July 10th, meaning he’s of no use for a draft-night trade.
More news from around the east:
- Since being picked up by the Bulls after Toronto waived him in December, D.J. Augustin has averaged 14.3 PPG on nearly 42 percent shooting, including 41 percent from 3-point range, in 30.4 minutes per contest. He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent after the season, but would love to return to Chicago, writes Cody Westerlund of CBSChicago.com.
- The Heat‘s “Big Three” of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh can all become free-agents after the season. There has been speculation that one or all three would consider leaving Miami, but before making any decision, the trio plan to sit down together to discuss their options, writes Darren Rovell of ESPN.com.
- Phil Jackson has been to only two of the eight games the Knicks have played since he took over their basketball department. Some say Jackson should be with the team as much as possible to get to know the players and staff and help them in any way he can as they try to make their playoff push, but Carmelo Anthony is not one of them, writes Al Iannazzone of Newsday. Anthony said, “He’s smart. He knows what he’s doing. He’s been in this situation before with fighting for spots and trying to win basketball games. So he knows what to expect, and now he’s on the outside looking in. I guess he’s giving us our space. We’re not really concerned about that.”
Chuck Myron contributed to this post.
Jonas Jerebko has seen an uptick in minutes under Pistons interim coach John Loyer, notes Brendan Savage of MLive, who suggests that the identity of the team’s coach for 2014/15 will weigh heavily as Jerebko decides whether to opt in. He has a $4.5MM player option for next season, but I’d be surprised if he turned that money down regardless of who’s coaching. Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:
- The recent poor play of the Hawks has put their chances of a playoff berth in jeopardy, but injuries have had much to do with that. GM Danny Ferry praised his roster and likes the way the team is positioned for future seasons, as he tells USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt.
- Thaddeus Young seemed to want out of Philadelphia at one point this season, but he sees the team’s decision to keep him and anoint him the leader of a young Sixers team as a sign of respect, observes Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News.
- Udonis Haslem, who has a player option for next season, has been caught off guard by his lack of minutes with the Heat this season, as he tells Shams Charania of RealGM.
LeBron James‘ $19MM salary makes him the ninth highest paid player in the NBA, but the Heat superstar is admittedly a bit jealous of players in other professional sports leagues who aren’t bound by a salary cap, revealed an Associated Press report (via USA Today). “The best players in each sport should be rewarded,” James said. “It would be nice to sign a 10-year contract for $300MM. I would do it. I would do it for sure… I wish we didn’t have a salary cap.” Here’s more from around the Southeast:
- Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer explores Chris Douglas-Roberts‘ role on the Bobcats and examines the steps he’s needed to take to make a comeback in the NBA after failing to secure a contract for the 2011/12 season.
- Josh McRoberts has become a key piece for the Bobcats, and his former Magic teammate Jameer Nelson told Charlotte coach Steve Clifford that he’d be wise to keep McRoberts around, reports John Denton of NBA.com. McRoberts is averaging 8.7 points, 4.9 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per contest this season.
- The Magic‘s decision to select Victor Oladipo second overall in last June’s draft looks like it’s going to pay off, opines Brian Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. Schmitz thinks Oladipo is the type of a player a franchise can be built around.
- The Wizards are looking to make the postseason for the first time since 2007/08, and offseason signee Al Harrington will provide a young Washington team with veteran leadership and playoff experience, writes Brandon Parker of the Washington Post. Harrington has appeared in six postseasons throughout his career.