Heat forward Josh Richardson is confident that Miami can put a contending team around LeBron James if he decides to come there in free agency, relays Manny Navarro of The Miami Herald. Richardson, who is working out in Santa Barbara, California, and trying to add bulk to his 205-pound body, believes James could be the “transformational player” that team president Pat Riley has talked about acquiring.
“I think we have great pieces to offer to play around him,” Richardson said. “We play with a lot of intensity. We’ve got a lot of dog in us. You need that in the trenches. That’s all I can really say about it.”
The dilemma for Richardson is that trading him might be James’ only path back to Miami. The Heat have 11 players under contract next season totaling about $120MM, putting them close to the projected $123MM tax line. Their only realistic hope to acquire James through a trade, and Richardson would be among their most desirable assets in any deal.
There’s more today from Miami:
- Richardson, who has quickly developed a reputation as one of the league’s best defenders, was angry about being overlooked for this year’s All-Defensive team. He thought he earned the recognition after recording a career-best 121 steals during the season. “I still think I’m one of the best defenders in the NBA, but I can’t sit around and sulk about it,” Richardson said. “I’m not too bent out of shape about it anymore. But it’s definitely one of my goals to make those teams.”
- Dwyane Wade, who is one of James’ closest friends and a former teammate in both Miami and Cleveland, said he can’t provide any insight into the thought process of the Cavaliers star. “Let’s let the record show … I don’t have any inside information whatsoever about his decision!” Wade tweeted this week.
- Shooting specialist Wayne Ellington, who set an NBA record for most 3-pointers by a reserve in a single season, may be too expensive for the Heat to re-sign given their cap situation. Frank Urbina of HoopsHype looks at potential destinations for Ellington, naming the Hornets, Pistons and Warriors as possibilities if he leaves Miami.