Morning shootaround — July 5



VIDEO: GameTime reports on Carmelo Anthony’s visit with the Lakers

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Bosh as Miami’s “go-to” free agent | Bulls closer to Mirotic arrival | Lakers face empty summer, long season | Blazers’ market woes show in Hawes signing

No. 1: Bosh as Miami’s “go-to” free agent — The pecking order to 2014 free agency seemed clear from the start: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony and everybody else. Even James as the marketplace’s big kahuna deserved an asterisk, given the conventional wisdom that he simply was stepping back temporarily to a) allow Miami president Pat Riley some financial elbow room to maneuver for help, and b) hold the Heat’s feet to the fire a little in rounding up that help.
The thinking then, anyway, was that once Anthony made his decision – or gave an indication of his leanings, which in this case suggest the New York scoring star might stay with the Knicks for a five-year, $129 milllion maximum offer – other dominos would fall. Only now it’s looking as if Chris Bosh, Miami’s “third” among three Super Friends over the past four seasons, not only might be one of those tiles but that he might be leapfrogging James in his impact on this summer’s market.
There might be unexpected uncertainty around James – might he actually sign elsewhere? – but there’s no doubting the interest in Bosh, for the same sort of maximum money The King would get, from multiple teams. Ken Berger of CBSSports.com touched on that and the ways Bosh might wind up better off if the doesn’t re-sign with the Heat:

Perhaps the biggest sign pointing to Anthony re-signing with the Knicks is the growing interest from one of his suitors, the Rockets, in Heat free agent Chris Bosh. Bosh possibly going to the Rockets (or to the Lakers or Mavs) proves why the notion of Bosh taking a $10 million pay cut to stay in Miami was never realistic. With the Bulls, Rockets, Mavs, Lakers, Cavs, Suns and potentially others chasing James, Anthony or both, there are more teams than there are LeBrons and Melos (only one of each). Once James and Anthony have made a decision, the teams that lost out will be lining up to create a market for Bosh.
Thus, with James waiting for Heat president Pat Riley to revamp the roster and with Dwyane Wade leaving $42 million on the table at age 32, Bosh is the member of the Big Three most likely to break away. Multiple league sources say there will be a close-to-max market for Bosh if Anthony and James stay with their respective teams. One of those people, an executive with a rival team, said the growing belief around the league is that Bosh would prefer a four-year max deal with another team to a discounted longer deal with Miami.

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No. 2: Bulls closer to Mirotic arrival – Chicago ranks fifth among the five primary suitors for Anthony in terms of the money it can pay him. If the Bulls keep their core intact to stay attractive enough to Carmelo as a title contender, they’ll be limited in cap space and need him to leave more than $60 million on the table for what wouldn’t be a sure thing in the ring department. That reality was starting to sink in for the team’s fans as it learned more about Nikola Mirotic, the Euro-stashed “stretch four,” along with available Lakers forward Pau Gasol from Chicago Tribune beat writer K.C. Johnson:

Per league rules, the Bulls can contribute up to $600,000 of Mirotic’s buyout without that amount going on their books. Exceeding that would be considered a signing bonus and would take away valuable salary-cap space.
That’s space the Bulls most want to use to sign Anthony. But in the wake of reports that the Knicks and Lakers have offered the All-Star forward a maximum contract, the Bulls started their contingency plans by traveling to Los Angeles on Thursday to meet with Pau Gasol and other free agents.
The Bulls face strong competition for Gasol, who has drawn interest from the Knicks, Thunder, Spurs and Heat. The Lakers, who paid him $19.3 million last season, also want him back at a reduced salary.
The Bulls could outbid all of those suitors except perhaps the Lakers. They left their meeting with the impression Gasol’s decision wasn’t imminent.
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Mirotic, who reportedly had issues with his Real Madrid coach that could have hastened his decision to try the NBA, fits the Bulls’ desire to add shooting around Derrick Rose. That process began with the draft-day acquisition of Doug McDermott.

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No. 3: Lakers face empty summer, long season — It’s going to take some getting-used-to, this sense of the NBA getting bigger and better with two of its most storied franchises (ever notice how you only read “storied” in sportswriting?) stuck in extended pit stops. Boston’s basketball version of the Big Dig continues at about the same pace as the tedious highway project there, while the Los Angeles Lakers have almost swapped identities with the old L.A. Clippers in terms of any “wow!” factors. Longtime L.A.-based NBA scribe Mark Heisler, in a piece for Forbes’ Web site, held a magnifying glass up to the Lakers and their currently squished hopes in free agency. He drops a “storied” in there, too:

Just asking: If they wanted to pursue James and Anthony, why, oh, why did they give Kobe Bryant that $48.5 million extension, cluttering up next season’s salary cap with $23.5 million of it?
With Steve Nash waived and “stretched” so his cap charge goes down to $3.2 million, that would have left four more players under contract (Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly, rookies Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson) with enough for a maximum offer ($22.4 million in first-year salary for Melo, $20 million for Bron) and $10-12 million to give six more players… after renouncing Pau Gasol.
Thus the Lakers were asking Anthony–and will ask James–to play with the 36-year-old Bryant; two rookies; one second-year second-round pick and eight guys off the waiver wire.
Hopefully, no one laughs in their face but for a storied franchise in what was once the NBA’s destination of choice, that’s not a serious offer.
In fact when the team gave Bryant that extension–at the prompting of Jeanie Buss, the popular member of the family, before Kobe returned from injury and lasted six games–the word around the organization was: We did this knowing that James and Anthony aren’t likely to be on the market and if they are, we’re not likely to have a shot at them.
It’s now clear that the Buss kids weren’t capable of thinking Bryant’s extension through. Many misadventures later, with Kobe as frantic as they are, they’re desperate for a big score, even with James and Anthony the only stars on the market and little chance that either of them would leave.

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No. 4: Blazers’ market woes show in Hawes signing — Maybe fans in downtrodden NBA markets such as Cleveland, Milwaukee, Minnesota and Orlando can take a little solace in this: You don’t have to be frigid or years away from a .500 record to be considered “unglamorous” as a destination for NBA players. Portland – a terrific Northwest city that offers a swell blend of cosmopolitan and outdoorsy living – feels dissed too, and the Trail Blazers were a fun-to-watch playoff team two months ago.
Apparently, though, Spencer Hawes had a bigger stage in mind when he chose the Clippers over the Blazers for the same mid-level exception payout (which frankly would spend bigger in Oregon than in the L.A. market). That’s how Portland ended up instead with Chris Kaman rather than Hawes, as Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com tells it. And come to think of it, we don’t hear Portland as a destination for Kevin Love, despite the fact that the Timberwolves antsy-to-leave All-Star grew up in the area:

All Portland could offer Hawes was the midlevel exception, which is what he accepted from the Clippers. In fact, according to league sources, Portland offered Hawes the same exact contract — length and terms – that the Clippers will pay out.
At the end of the day, after stops in Sacramento, Philadelphia and Cleveland, the lure of playing in an area he knows all too well being a Seattle native wasn’t enough to prevent Hawes from seeking out a team on the upswing in a major market such as Los Angeles.
The Trail Blazers quickly executed Plan B to perfection, but what’s concerning is the stigma that seems to remain that big-time free agents won’t come to Portland. And no disrespect to Hawes, but he’s nowhere close to being a “big-time” free agent. The Trail Blazers met with Channing Frye this week in Portland, we’re told. He resides in the city during the offseason. One can conclude that he was out of their price range.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Assuming Melo can’t be got, Houston would love to lure Bosh. He’d fit, first of all, and he’d be the adult among their three stars. … Here are some fallback positions for the Mavericks and the Lakers, too, along with the Rockets and the Bulls. … Derrick Rose wouldn’t have pursued a career in sales. Can’t we just leave it at that? Some people’s work personalities are best suited to quiet cubicles. … Mike Budenholzer‘s cachet as coach and the presence of former teammates Kyle Korver and now Thabo Sefolosha might steer forward Luol Deng to Atlanta . … Remember Bobby Simmons, the NBA’s Most Improved Award winner in 2005? He was honored again in June.

23 Comments

  1. Keeper says:

    Would NY have the cap space to sign a contract of Dwyane Wade’s caliber? .. If so, I believe that would be a great fit for him and for the Knicks. As a duo, I think Melo n Wade have much more balance then Wade and Lebron. Wade can dominate the ball, while Melo can thrive off his leadership and lessen the responsibilities. With a strong supporting cast they would be instant contenders. A shot blocking center like Larry Sanders would fit perfectly. And if they can get Brandon Knight along with it.

    Chris Bosh should definitely give PHX some careful thought. A stretch-4 like bosh would compliment that team heavily with a backcourt of Dragic and Bledsoe.

    Luol Deng should consider Dallas. A front 4 of ellis, deng, dirk, and chandler would be a force.

  2. William Mejia says:

    Miami Heat Big 3 COMING BACK WITH A VENGENCE FOR THE TITLE LETS GO MIAMI!

  3. No Regrets says:

    Bosh is giving up – relatively- the most and he’s the one most easily replaceable. Makes sense that he could leave.
    He hasn’t been consistent in his 3p shooting, good at inside defence or rebounding. I don’t even think it’s his fault, if anyone’s, it’s coach Spo’s.
    On the other hand, there’s a number of teams that could use him a lot better, for what he can do, and pay him better too.
    We;ll see what happens . .

  4. Anthony says:

    Putting things into perspective here. Lebron James UNOFFICIALLY demanding a max contract deal does not hurt the Heat nor would it hurt any team ever to pay in retrospect, the greatest player on the court today a max contract. Mind everyone, a contract he has never held ever, NEVER being the most paid player ever.

    So once put into that perspective, again, unofficially demanding of course, is not so far fetched or unreasonable. Nor does it mean he’s greedy or the like, he’s sacrificed a-lot.

    Dwayne Wade (My favorite NBA player of ALL time) should make the biggest sacrifice and take the least amount of money given this situation. Not because he cant perform at the highest level, that’s ridiculous to say. Dwayne should take that cut cause he has not played a full NBA season consistently in some time. A-lot of question marks surround his over-all contributions for the upcoming season or two. (Which in my opinion, questioning the contributions of a clear future hall of famer is ridiculous.) However, in fairness, If Wade decides to max out his contract, that’s his right and go for it. I’ll still watch the Heat as I always had even though he must know, not sacrificing the most would more than likely mean he’ll no longer have Bosh or Lebron as team mates.

    With all that said, this is all smoke and mirror for the most part. Before any real decision is made for their families (talking big three here) they’ll meet up again and clarify and go over each individual decision one has made. Again, just a few days ago. It was ridiculous to consider that they weren’t working together for a common goal. I still believe it is ridiculous and nothing is happening except exploration of all options for each individual player.

  5. JustAnotherSpectator says:

    It takes someone to be a complete moron to state such ignorant remark. “bosh is not max deal worthy nor hall of fame worthy” Well. Maybe, maybe not? I’m not a Miami nor a Bosh fan but you need to give the guy some credits. He’s been working hard for the last couple of years, he plays good basketball and doesn’t flop like the other two “great” floppers he’s with just to get some points or be in favourable position. It’s just unnoticeable since everyone’s focus is on LeBron. Also, haven’t you watched the Game6 of 2013 NBA Finals? If it weren’t for Bosh’s rebound, Ray wouldn’t get the chance to shoot a three and tie the game, while your so called king kept on taking brick shots minutes before the game ends….

    • sin says:

      You may also recall, the king that you speak of is the reason Miami was back in the game to tie the game up. Don’t be biased because you don’t like the guy, give credit where it is due. Don’t be oblivious to greatness when you see it

  6. NoMilitaryCoup says:

    bosh is not max deal worthy nor hall of fame worthy

  7. Kevin says:

    I’m not completely sure I’m buying into the rumors that Lebron is demanding a max deal, but if he is then I think Bosh should pursue one as well. Sure the big three would get broken up in Miami, but if winning championships isn’t going to be the main objective then nobody should be leaving money on the table.

    • dwayne says:

      I 100% agree.. Wtf man! I thought the big 3 and it is def not that now cam togerher to win Chips….Why are they holding
      Riles back from moves… N what n the hell did they discuss over dinner..because if it isnt about Chips, than you all should of
      kept the money…just saying

  8. HeatFanFromNewZealand says:

    The heat have missed some opportunities. I feel they need to pursue Greg Monroe, young centre with star talent. Still try and get Trevor Ariza, and give Jimmer Fredette and DJ Augustin a go with the Heat

  9. justsayin says:

    Hawes decision didn’t come down to market size, it was the Doc factor.

  10. Steven says:

    If Carmelo stays with the Knicks he not going win a ring not in the next three years being they still gotta build a team around him and after that you don’t know what the future going to hold… I figure he would go somewhere where he going get decent money even more so if there not state tax and to a team that has a pretty good roster to win with, if he stays with the Knicks he not going be winning any time soon not in the playoffs…

  11. @baller22 says:

    Bosh to Rockets, and melo and Lebron join up

  12. lex says:

    melo, you must come to the rockets, never mind the max offer….think about your career….. you might have a big big chance to take the crown if you will join harden and dwight….. think about that, melo…. in chicago, mavs and lakers they don’t have 2 superstar….but the rockets they have…. and you will be the third one…. THE BIG TREE IN HOUSTON….

    • voiceofreason says:

      i don’t think the rockets could beat the spurs, even with melo. and melos and howards egos would clash

    • No Regrets says:

      Yes, and they will also defend like the big trees . .

  13. harrythehawk says:

    This makes so much sense,.Deng to the Hawks! Let’s Go Hawks!

  14. TheKush says:

    I think Dallas would be a good fit for Bosh if leBron decides to leave. Dirk, Chandler, Bosh, Ellis, I think a team like that could make some serious noise. Bosh is from Texas I wouldn’t overlook Bosh heading back to his home state.

  15. Kuro says:

    Lol Bosh doesn’t deserve a max, 15 at most per year. more like 10 in my opinion.

  16. johnnyhoops1980 says:

    Carmelo is almost certainly headed back to the Knicks. The only team with a legit chance at him leaving is the Bulls. They have the best surroundings to support his game. But in the end, he’ll take the most $$$ and the most guaranteed years from the Knicks. Read the SH piece on his free agency: http://straighthoops.com/courting_carmelo.html breaks it down well. I give the Knicks a 70-80% chance of re-signing him

    • LaFresh says:

      a guy named Johnny”Hoops” pushing a website called StraightHoops.. sounds legit.

      • johnnyhoops1980 says:

        sorry – thought this was a website about “hoops” – not my site BTW – and not pushing anything, just a decent article – don’t click it