Morning Shootaround — July 8


VIDEO: Kevin Ding of BleacherReport.com talks about where Carmelo Anthony may go next

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Riley not sweating a Big Three departure | Houston may be Bosh’s best fit | Report: Celtics still angling for Love | Reports: Westbrook withdraws from Team USA

No. 1: Riley confident Big Three are returning– Yesterday, the Heat agreed to deals with free agents Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger in moves that — as our David Aldridge reported — that are seen by some as ones to help assure LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh they’ll have more help in Miami. USA Today‘s Jeff Zillgitt and Sam Amick echo that sentiment and report that Heat president Pat Riley isn’t sweating the departure of any of his Big Three:

Seven days into free agency, Miami Heat President Pat Riley made his first roster moves to show LeBron James why he should stick around.

This much is clear: Riley is confident James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade will return, according to people who have had phone conversations with Riley in the last week. The people spoke to USA TODAY Sports under the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the conversations.

Of course, Riley’s confidence doesn’t guarantee anything. But right now, he isn’t scrambling.

Reaching deals with forwards Josh McRoberts and Danny Granger is step one in making the necessary roster additions to improve the Heat. At the very least, Riley has tangible evidence to show James when they meet in the next couple of days to discuss the future. He is letting him know the Heat will spend what is required, including top dollar on Bosh, to win another title after two in four years together.

In the big picture, the Granger and McRoberts agreements give Riley room to present James with a couple of different spending options, including the ability to give Bosh a big contract, too.

The Heat got longer, more athletic and younger with the two deals, which can’t be signed until the free agent moratorium ends Thursday. July 10. McRoberts and Granger are fine complementary pieces.

McRoberts is 27 and coming off one of his best seasons at 8.5 points, 4.8 rebounds and 4.3 assists per game for the Charlotte Bobcats. He gives the Heat another big man who can pass, rebound and play inside or outside. Last season, Charlotte coach Steve Clifford said McRoberts was one of the three major reasons for the team’s turnaround.

Splitting time between the Indiana Pacers and Los Angeles Clippers last season, Granger had his moments but wasn’t close to All-Star form. But the Heat don’t need him to be an All-Star. They need him to be an upgrade off the bench.


VIDEO: NBA TV’s crew discusses the Heat reaching deals with Danny Granger and Josh McRoberts

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No. 2: Houston may be best fit for Bosh — Like the rest of us, Miami Heat All-Star forward Chris Bosh is waiting to see where LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony are headed in free agency. Bosh may very well end up back in Miami with James, but that hasn’t stopped him from considering the four-year, $88 million offer the Houston Rockets have on the table for him. Our Fran Blinebury, who is on hand at the Orlando Pro Summer League, spoke with several front-office types there who think a potential Bosh move to Houston benefits just about everyone:

“On a team with Carmelo, [James] Harden and Dwight [Howard], on most nights one guy is gonna go home mad,” said one executive. “On a lot of other nights, two guys might go home mad. Then there would be those nights when all three are mad. I don’t think that’s a way to win a championship.”

Rockets general manager Daryl Morey was at the Amway Center to take in the action of his young wannabes, but was not commenting on reports that the team made an offer of a four-year, $85 million to $88 million contract to Bosh. He originally agreed to do a halftime interview on NBA TV with Isiah Thomas and Matt Winer, but backed out at the last minute.

A year ago, Morey and Rockets coach Kevin McHale got the club fined $150,000 when they arrived at the Summer League and promptly made premature comments about the signing of the free agent Howard. This time it’s zipped lips.

Bosh may not pack the scoring punch or the same A-list marquee appeal as Anthony, but he’s a much better fit for the Rockets’ offense.

“If you’re trying to draw a picture of the kind of player they need to blend right in pretty seamlessly in Houston, you’d come away with a likeness of Bosh,” said a scout. “He’s a stretch four that can make those 3-point shots that Houston loves. He’ll defend. And mostly, he’s not the kind of high-maintenance personality that you’d be taking on in Anthony. He’s the one who’s sacrificed the most in Miami. Carmelo and Harden are just too much alike in needing the ball and they would both have issues giving way to the other one at the end of games.”

Putting Bosh on the front line would be like allowing Howard to step into a time machine and go back to his days in Orlando when Rashard Lewis filled up the bucket with 3-pointers and the Magic went to the NBA Finals in 2009.

“That’s the kind of situation that Howard thrived in with the Magic,” said an assistant coach. “That’s when Dwight was at his best. With Rashard out there, he was able to open up the floor and created so much space for Dwight to go to work.

“The question that a lot of people had about Dwight going into last season was whether he was finally healthy again. Would that back hold up. It looked like it did and it’s safe to say that physically he’s back to being very close to his old self. What you want to see now is an offensive system that allows him to go back to being his old self. That’s Bosh.”


VIDEO: Fran Blinebury talks about what the Rockets are doing in free agency

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No. 3: Report: Ainge, Celtics still working on Love deal — The first move the Boston Celtics made in free agency was agreeing to a contract with defensive stopper Avery Bradley. Now that they’ve got him in the fold, what moves might be next in Beantown? According to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe, Celtics boss Danny Ainge is still interested in working out at trade for Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love:

On the opening night of free agency, the Celtics reached out to more than two dozen players, getting caught up in the open-market frenzy, expressing their admiration for players, many of whom they realized they never would sign.A week later, the Celtics are eerily quiet. They only have signed their own restricted free agent, Avery Bradley, on the second day of signings. An NBA source said they are backing off their pursuit of free agent Kris Humphries.

However, a league source said Monday that president of basketball operations Danny Ainge is attempting to gather assets to acquire Kevin Love, convinced he can devise a package that would entice Minnesota Timberwolves president Flip Saunders to move the three-time All-Star, who will be a free agent next season.

Ainge admitted that things have been quiet so far, and of course was reluctant to discuss anything dealing with free agency.

“You never know what to expect,” he said Monday as the Celtics dropped their summer league contest to the Pacers. “When you have conversations, I have a great deal of respect in the league and what they’re all trying to accomplish. I don’t know what’s going to shake out when it’s all said and done.”

When asked if he was pleased with the current state of the team, he said, “There’s a lot more to do. It’s a long summer.”

According to two NBA sources, Ainge has been dogged in his pursuit of Love, and several agents believe he has the creativity to put together an attractive package.


VIDEO: A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE.com talks about the Celtics’ interest in Kevin Love

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No. 4: Reports: Westbrook withdraws from Team USA — Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook had a trying season as various injuries led to fits and starts for him (and, at times, the Thunder). Although he finished the season strong and was solid in the Western Conference finals, Westbrook undoubtedly wants to give his troublesome knees some time to rest. As such, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports, Westbrook won’t be a part of Team USA’s roster for the FIBA World Cup in Spain this summer:

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook has withdrawn from USA Basketball’s roster for the World Cup in Spain this summer, league sources told Yahoo Sports.

Westbrook had been part of gold-medal-winning teams in 2010 and ’12 in the world championships and Olympics, respectively, and has been a favorite of national coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Westbrook, 25, still has hopes of playing in the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil, sources said.

Royce Young of ESPN.com has more on how Westbrook’s absence will affect the Team USA roster:

Team USA will still be characteristically strong, with other players like Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Kyrie Irving available to step in. Westbrook’s role for Team USA, though, has typically been more as a defensive specialist, creating turnovers and playing off the ball as a slashing and attacking guard.

Because of his versatility, Westbrook established himself as a favorite of coach Mike Krzyzewski.

According to the team, Westbrook’s health isn’t in question, but the 25-year-old point guard is trying to play it safe.

A commitment to Team USA includes a July training camp, exhibition schedule in August and then the tournament in September.

Westbrook is a bit leery of those extra minutes on his knee as he tries to be prepared and ready for Thunder training camp in late September.

Westbrook will still maintain a presence around USA Basketball though, joining the team for some of their training camp, but won’t play as he takes the summer to rest.

***

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Might Steve Blake and Caron Butler join the Lakers if Pau Gasol and Carmelo Anthony sign on? … Nerlens Noel will be a game-time decision for the Sixers tonight at the Orlando Pro Summer League … The Mavs plan to meet with Mo Williams, but the team’s focus remains finding a starting small forward … Veteran big man Aaron Gray has agreed to terms on a deal with the Pistons … Raptors reserve guard Nando De Colo is leaving the NBA to play for CSKA Moscow … Timberwolves guard Alexey Shved is warming up to being a point guard … Ex-Bucks owner Herb Kohl was a really, really generous guy

35 Comments

  1. Aw, this was a very nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to make a very good article…
    but what can I say… I hesitate a whole lot and never manage to get nearly
    anything done.

  2. John says:

    I can’t get over what a crummy team the Heat are if you don’t count James. I can’t believe what an actor this Riley cat is to be all smiles about this crummy bench he’s putting together over there. Do they really think anything different will happen when they play the Spurs next year? The Spurs bench beating their bench had to do with the Spurs victory just as much as anything else. I can’t wait for the Suns to play the Heat this year, because even if they have James the Suns bench will destroy their bench. The Morris twins are good for literally double the points of Granger and McRoberts, maybe even more if they keep improving. I’m sorry but I think LeBron is stupid if he thinks he will ever win in Miami again. He will never win another Championship again if he resigns there, because he is already having back problems and the only people that can keep him healthy as he goes into his 30s are the Suns training staff. They’re also the only ones that could save Wade’s career as a matter of fact. Any way you slice it or dice it, with or without him, the Heat are no longer legitimate contenders – mark my words. They don’t even have a PG for God’s sakes! The Suns have got 2 of the best.

  3. NBA says:

    That’s max contract had got to be tempting to bosh knowing he is probably taking a pay cut in Miami. If lebron leaves I think bosh will take the offer from Houston, and Dwayne wade will be left in Miami

    • Carlo says:

      Most likely outcome.

      Probably the worst case would be LBJ staying @ big money and Bosh going away, so that Miami has to pay a lot to LBJ and a lot to another “star” (if they can get one) with nothing remaining to build a bench. They’d be the same or worse than this year.

  4. Lacaille says:

    I have a couple of questions to float out there. I hope they don’t upset too many fans, although the Heat fans might not like them. Number 1. Is it possible that Lebron decided to opt out because he was tired of Carmelo getting all the attention in the free agency market and knew if he did he would be holding up eveybody else waiting for him to make up his mind? Number 2. Or is this another ploy by Pat Riley getting Lebron, Dwayne, and Chris to opt out to cut their payroll to get better players while knowing all along that they would all be coming back? You might ask why I would ask such a question, but after that scam they pulled on us 4 years ago pretending that they didn’t know that Dwayne and Chris were going to sign with the Heat before Lebron made “The Decison” that was based on the fact that he knew they would be there, it’s hard to not wonder that another one of Pat Riley’s underhanded tricks is in the works. Even Charles Barkley called that first one a travesty or something of the sort. Just a couple of thoughts.

    • Qq says:

      1. Ur an idiot if u think james opted out for the etantion.
      They all opted out so they could get new players. Bron wants max wich he deserves, wade and bosh has to sign for less money, wich is fair.

  5. Heat BB Fan says:

    I think LeBron will stay, the man has pride and honor above all. Who would want to play for Gilbert after the way he treated LeBron, the letter he wrote bashing LeBron. Not only did he pay to run a full page ad in the paper, he posted it on the team’s website… and left it there until just last week, really poor taste. LeBron’s agent may live in Cleveland and may be pushing but at the end of the day…. it’s up to LeBron.

    Bosh is one of the best , hope he stays in Miami!!! Bosh has done everything that was asked of him, and done it well.

    • JJ says:

      Really? LeBron has pride and honor above all? I want what he is smoking.

    • Qq says:

      Well the way lebron left wasnt exactly the best way to leave. I can see why gilbert got upset. Lebron did embarras the whole city of cleveland on national tv.

  6. william mejia says:

    lets go heat! the big 3 is the legacy of Miami lets conquer the title once again mcroberts and granger welcome to the elite club

  7. dustin says:

    I think Lebron told Bosh to pursue other deals so Miami could clear space for Carmello. Why not? Everyone knows they want to play together…….. Lebron, Carmello, Wade, Allen, Granger, Mcroberts, Cole, Napier. Whoa. So long spurs if that happens

  8. cw says:

    Love is waiting one more year for free agency and he will join the Spurs

    • Heat BB Fan says:

      Hahaha!!!

    • Carlo says:

      It depends on too many things:

      1) Love wants to go NOW.

      2) Does he want to go to a “fashionable” place (LA, NY) or a winning team?

      3) IF Duncan leaves end of next season, Spurs will need a top PF and they’ll have his salary to spend.

  9. Scisca says:

    If I was LBJ, I’d go back to Cleveland. I’d say Mission Accomplished in Miami, it was a fun ride, but there is stuff to be done back home. And let’s face it – Kyrie & Wiggins are much better than Wade & Bosh, on top of costing the team less $$$.

    If I was Love, I’d wait till I’m a UFA. Getting traded guts out the team you’re going to and makes it worse and the reason he wants to leave Wolves is that they are too weak. He may end up like Melo in NYK with a bad team after a trade. I’d play a season and go in free agency to the strongest team.

    Westbrook is doing the right thing. I’m supprised that he is making such a smart decision. There is no place for taking risks when it comes to your knees. I approve.

    • Laker24 says:

      Lol why would he go bck to Cleveland to make money for the owner that said so many bad things bout him wen he left cavaliers …y’all stupid

    • Laker24 says:

      Lol why would he go bck to Cleveland to make money for the owner that said so many bad things bout him wen he left cavalier

    • Carlo says:

      Problem is: Love’s destination is NOT in his hands, today.
      Until he’s under contract, he could be traded anywhere and it’s the Wolves interest to do it and get something good in exchange instead of just waiting and see him going away “for free”.
      What Love CAN do is warning the possible destination team that if he doesn’t like them, he’ll be leaving next year as soon as the contract expires. So, any trading team should be very careful to trade with Wolves for they risk paying Love dearly (in terms of players and/or picks) just to see him leaving in one year.

  10. notbias says:

    As for Kevin Love….I really dont like him. I want him to go on a good team so bad, only because im desperate to see if he is worth the hype. Personally I think he is only as good as his record indicates, but I will be the first to eat my words should he prove me wrong. Wolves fans dont need to endure this anyways. Trade him, and lets all find out if he is the REAL DEAL, or just HYPE.

    • Desitned4Greatness says:

      kevin love averages 25 and 14 nobody i the leaugue is doing that dwight howard is 7ft can jum higher run faster and is stronger and not doing that. id a 4 that can strecch the flor with 3s and he can bang down low and post up. He and lamarcuz aldridge are the best 4 men in the game. hype is unproven potiential, Kevin love is not hype he has stas to prove it. basketball is a ea, sport records are a team thing he cant helo who he plays with he is not the GM.

  11. notbias says:

    Carmelo is guaranteed money anywhere here goes. Team with Kobe in L.A, you become a GLOBAL icon. Carmelo can hide under a rock, and money will find him. I dont see why people are making a huge deal of the extra year he can get in New York.
    As for Chris Bosh…..That boy is a fool. Regardless of what people say about him, he is actually the master key in this puzzle. He is accepted anywhere. He is a top skill in this league. Does not command the ball, plays 2 positions, can guard 3 positions, he is a winner….and although you can say as much for these other free-agents, the one thing that seperates Bosh from the pack?? He is actually willing to sacrifice. And because of that, he can fit in, and will have much success anywhere. If I were him, I would have already had my keys to a new home in Houston.
    Meanwhile, these othe superstars can continue to ponder their future….and how it could work playing alongsude……such and such.

    • c says:

      Well, good thing you’re not CB. He won rings in Miami, with his teammates. You obviously haven’t listened to anything he has said himself.

  12. Danny Ainge is searching for Larry Bird 2.0 LOL !!!

  13. Kuya Jonas says:

    Chris Bosh is done. He can grab the Rockets deal so he and baby Dwight and wannabe Harden can choke all together.

  14. Vlad says:

    Who ever thinks Carmelo is going to choose anything over money is dead wrong. This is just an ego check, to see if he is still seen as a max player, because he is starting to realize the gap between him and the likes of Durant, LeBron etc is getting bigger. This way he also convinces New York to give him that max contract.

    He never had that drive to win and, although he will play to the worth of the contract (more or less) in the first two or three years, i can bet the salary in the last two years will be a huge cap space liability. Unless he is moved, or Phill Jackson pulls out a miracle

    • Swayy says:

      This is where u are wrong if Melo is about the money there is no need for the hold up the Knicks offer him the max contract last Thursday so he could have verbally commited to them by now so he could possibly start swaying other free agents to conme to NY but he hasn’t because he is seriously thinking bout leaving the Knicks the more the wait the more likely Melo is leaving NY

  15. nbafan23 says:

    why doe’s everyone say Bosh has good defense? He is HORRIBLE and overrated. Paying him max is such a waste of money… his 3pointers never were present in clutch situations especially come Playoff time and more so in the Finals. A starting center grabbing 5 rebounds on average…..

    • Watson says:

      he has played center for 4 years of his career. He is clearly not a center. I would not say bosh is a good or bad at defense he is just average. Go and watch some toronto raptors bosh highlights, that is how he was taught to play basketball. He is not able to show his skills as a center under the heats system of play.

      As for that he should go to the rockets and take the max deal he well deserves it just as much as any player. He would be a perfect fit and would be in a system that appreciates big man basketball. He could run pick and roll/pop all day with harden and would be the perfect partner to howard. Why a perfect fit for howard? Because history show howard can’t play with other clumsy big men who get in the way of him. He plays best with shooters around him.

  16. johnnyhoops1980 says:

    For Carmelo. I think the Lakers are only being discussed because they offered him a max deal. Don’t think he has any real plans of joining Kobe in LA. In fact, Kobe and Melo together in a high profile market could be a recipe for disaster. Although the Bulls are still in the mix, I think the momentum is fading. The Knicks are def the frontrunners at this point, almost exclusively because of the extra year and extra $30M they can offer. SH has a really good piece on Melo’s free agency. Insightful and an interesting point of view, definitely worth the read: http://straighthoops.com/courting_carmelo.html

    • justsayin says:

      You’ve said that isn’t your site but I think you’re full of it. You pimp it in glowing terms every single time you post. And just happen to use a similar name… right.

      • Desitned4Greatness says:

        No the lakers are in the miss because he can play with gasol and kobe, and after future cap space once kobe retires in two years. and of course he wants max money.`

    • Swayy says:

      You are do wrong that NY are front runners if they were what is the motivation for Melo dragging out this process if he wants the max with NY he would just say he is going back and start recruiting players available right now to come play with him. Do I believe NY id definitely not the front runners I think currently there 3rd its between LA and Chicago LA with slight lead do to He already lives there in the off season his family is stable there his wife can continue her acting etc plus doest lose much with max contract with them and endorsement deals will increase being in LA but Chicago offer a better shot at attaining a championship with the roster but money wise he take a big pay cut and not ideal spot for his family. At this moment ill be shock if he is going back to the Knicks if it was about money he would have agree to resign by now he is 30 and don’t want to waste remaining prime yrs for NY to build into a contender which if he signs they would be at least 2yrs away from being…..