From NBA.com staff reports
Nine days worth of speculation, rumor, fact and a mix of all three have provided the flavoring to NBA free agency thus far. At last, though, players can officially ink deals with teams — new and old — and we’ll be on top of everything all day long. Check back often …
Update 12:13 a.m. — Heat, Cavs expect LeBron’s decision before World Cup trip
Hang tight, the decision is coming. When exactly? Well, soon…
Update 11:48 p.m. — LeBron’s Brazil bound … by way of Miami
So long Las Vegas, hello Brazil. LeBron James is headed for the World Cup. He left his hoops camp and is headed for a pit stop in Miami before flying to South America for Sunday’s World Cup final between Germany and Argentina. No word who James is pulling for or, for that matter, where he’ll play basketball next season.
James will have travel buddy on the flight to Miami, the same pal who helped out at James’ hoops camp earlier in the day — Dwyane Wade.
Update 9:15 p.m. — Bulls not out yet
At this point yesterday it looked like Carmelo Anthony was definitely going to stay in New York with the Knicks. Now?
The Bulls certainly offer Anthony a much better chance to compete for a championship next season. But is he really willing to leave $30 million plus on the table? We. Shall. See.
Update 8:09 p.m. — Suns seek more guard depth
Goran Dragic and Eric Bledsoe were a surprisingly successful (and unsurprisingly fun) backcourt for the Phoenix Suns last season. But with restricted free agent Bledsoe’s future not completely certain with the Suns, Phoenix has directed attention towards the Kings’ equally-exciting restricted free agent, Isaiah Thomas.
The Suns would arguably have the best backcourt depth in the NBA if they are able to add Thomas and keep Bledsoe. The future just keeps getting brighter in the Valley of the Sun.
Update 7:32 p.m. — Tucker stays put
In non-LeBron news, it looks like the Phoenix Suns will keep their energetic big man:
Tucker, who was a restricted free agent, started every game for the Suns last season and averaged 9.4 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.4 steals per game.
Update 6:30 p.m. — Together again … for now
The picture is a little — cruddy. And far away, too. Is this some new Google Earth product?
But we’ll take Ramona Shelburne‘s word that it really is Dwyane Wade in there somewhere with LeBron James at LeBron’s skills camp in Vegas. The guys evidently still like each other.
Of the 12,374 theories on which way LeBron is headed — we are counting — you do have to wonder about this one: Would D Wade have opted out of a contract that would have paid him more than $24 million a year if LeBron wasn’t going to stay with the Heat?
Oh, we know. We know. There are explanations. There are a thousand permutations to this. But … nobody’s saying nothing. So at this point, all we can do is guess. We guess.
Update 6 p.m. — Don’t tread on this
As of 5:58 ET, this account had 10 tweets.
Ain’t twitter grand? We’re getting more out of the guy’s crabgrass than we are out of the guy.
Update 5:55 p.m. — On that other guy
What about a free agent, a seven time All-Star who has a career scoring average north of 25 points a game, getting such a short shrift this summer?
Hey, what is up with Carmelo Anthony?
Well, New York Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s sounding confident Anthony will take him up on one of his handful of offers to stay with the Knicks, according to the New York Post.
And, according to the Post, it could come soon. Like today.
“I am [expecting to hear Thursday],’’ Jackson said. “I expected one yesterday and the day before yesterday. But, no, we’re waiting.’’
Update 5:30 p.m. — Oh, Ohio
It’s pretty slow in most places in the NBA right now as we all wait on LeBron’s lower-case decision.
But in Ohio … yeah, they’re getting a little worked up already.
Matt Moore over at CBSSports.com has a pretty eye-opening post on all the things going on in Northeast Ohio as fans await good news … or set themselves up for some big-league heartbreak again.
Look at this tweet that Moore unearthed, showing cars in front of LeBron’s home there:
It’s a veritable pilgrimage to go see The King. They may make this a holiday in that part of the country.
If, you know, it doesn’t turn into a day of infamy.
Update 5:20 p.m. — Tick, tick, tick, tick
Tick, tick, tick …
Oh. Sorry. Must’ve dozed off there.
Nothing shaking yet about You Know Who going to Who Knows Where.
But, ICYMI a little earlier in the day, the guys over at fivethirtyeight, who correctly picked the last presidential race (but kinda missed on this) break down where LeBron has a better chance to win this year. The numbers might surprise you. Definitely worth it for the statistical minded out there.
A big point in the Silver piece is here:
If James really wants to get to that 60-win threshold, he’d be better off exploring teams aside from his reported favorites, such as the Chicago Bulls, Houston Rockets, Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, Atlanta Hawks, New York Knicks, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. When I placed James on the roster and ran projections for those teams, all but one finished ahead of both Miami and Cleveland.
Update 4:18 p.m. — Listening to the Lord of the Rings
Carmelo surely won’t miss out on these words of wisdom from the Zen Master, will he? Tim Hardaway Jr. and the other young Knicks are listening and trying to learn from Phil Jackson.
Update 4:04 p.m. — C’mon Cleveland and Ohio
Someone has to get this thing under control before it gets out of hand.
Update 3:46 p.m. — Yellow shorts … what do they mean?
The afternoon conspiracy theories aren’t nearly as creative as the morning crop. More colorful, but not as creative.
Update 3:43 p.m. — A Butler update
Thunder or Clippers? That is the question for Caron Butler.
Update 3:29 p.m. — What about DWade?
Wade has been the forgotten man, to an extent, in this summer of free agency.
Update 2:52 p.m. — Celtics still looking for Love
Forget LeBron and Carmelo, the Celtics need Love!
Update 2:40 p.m. — Just play ball LeBron
When all else fails, LeBron can just wrap himself up in the game … at any level.
Update 2:13 p.m. — Bath is getting ready for fireworks …
On the outskirts of LeBron’s hometown of Akron in Bath, Ohio, there is an undeniable energy surrounding the potential return of the prodigal son. If LeBron isn’t headed back to the Cavaliers and Ohio … this could get really nasty.
Update 1:48 p.m. — A true global icon …
All LeBron, all the time!
Update 1:28 p.m. — A Portland summer in 2015?
Update 12:54 p.m. — Mavs holding off on Parsons offer sheet, sign-and-trade possibilities?
The clock has not started yet for the Houston Rockets since the Dallas Mavericks have yet to formally submit the offer sheet to Chandler Parsons.
Update 12:36 p.m. — Blake to the Trail Blazers
Steve Blake is on the move again …
Update 12:26 p.m. — LeBron Watch 2014
No explanation needed!
Update 12:14 p.m. — All smiles in Jordan-land
At least someone is enjoying this time of year in the NBA!
Update 11:53 a.m. — #boshfamilyworldtour
Welcome to Ghana! (This isn’t exactly Miami or Houston)
Update 11:45 a.m. — Don’t assume anything in free agency
Listen to Uncle Ira …
Update 11:36 a.m. — Everyone has sources … (photo)
Some are more legitimate than others!
Update 11:31 a.m. — Pau back to the Lakers?
Could be, if the price is right.
Update 11:26 a.m. — Go with Beau on the NBA TV update
Update 11:11 a.m. — Things that make you go Stu!
Update 11:02 a.m. — Influential advice from Usher?
This goes beyond the sports world …
Update 10:38 a.m. — More Cleveland conspiracy theories …
The entire world wants in on the LeBron to Cleveland drama. Follow the crumbs, people, follow the crumbs!
Team LeBron — the Twitter handle that promotes all things LeBron — is being watched. And there is some peculiar activity going on with their following habits, per The Big Lead.
On the flip side, apparently Brazil and the World Cup final is winning out over both Cleveland and Miami …
Update 10:21 a.m. — Brooklyn welcomes Jarrett Jack
JJack looks good in his Brooklyn digs. The trade is official.
Update 10:13 a.m. — Tony Parker recruiting Pau to the Spurs
You don’t have to be fluent in Spanish or French to understand what it is Tony Parker is trying to do in regards to Pau Gasol, yet another quality free agent on the market. Parker has reached out to Gasol and let him know, in English and whatever other language needed, that they want him to join the championship chase in San Antonio.
“Id love to play with Pau and I told him so,” Parker told our good friend of Eduardo Schell in Madrid.
Update 9:37 a.m. — Conspiracy theorists unite in Cleveland
When reading the LeBron Matrix all sorts of tactics need to be employed. For some, it’s deciphering the messages on LeBron’s website …
… For others it’s listening to the creatures of nature and trying to understand the signals they send (like the owl at the Cleveland zoo that predicted LeBron will stick around in Miami).
Has this thing gotten foolish enough for you yet?
Update 8:50 a.m. — Questions pile up for LeBron
Trying to figure out what LeBron James is doing is one thing. Trying to figure it out and read all the potential tea leaves out there is quite another. Ethan Skolnick of Bleacher Report — as connected a Heat observer as there is out there — digs into some of the information of late and tries to separate reality from fiction:
Yes, James is investing in a pizza chain in Palm Beach and Broward counties, just as his wife Savannah has opened The Juice Spot in Miami, but the couple needs not be present full time to manage either. Yes, James dined and partied with Dwyane Wade in Las Vegas on Monday night, but even if there’s a chance they won’t be remaining teammates, that doesn’t mean they stop being friends.
This guessing game wouldn’t be continuing if we actually knew something concrete, but the truth is we don’t. Not even after James and his agent Rich Paul met with Heat president Pat Riley and general manager/cap guru Andy Elisburg in Las Vegas at roughly 6 p.m. ET on Wednesday. Not even as the NBA’s moratorium period ended at midnight.
We still don’t know, because that meeting concluded without resolution before James returned to hosting his Skills Academy. He’s not scheduled to take any meetings with other teams and is planning to discuss his options with his family.
We still don’t know if Riley and Elisburg convinced him that they could still—even in a seemingly cap-strapped state—sufficiently upgrade the roster at every position as he requested after falling in the NBA Finals to the San Antonio Spurs.
We only know this: The Heat were supposed to know more by now.
Update, 8:06 a.m. — Report: Raptors, Johnson reach deal
The Memphis Grizzlies got a bit of a hidden gem last season when the called up and eventually signed James Johnson for the season. The former first-round pick of the Chicago Bulls averaged 7.4 ppg, 3.2 rpg and 2.1 apg and was a key member of Memphis’ second unit.
CBSSports.com’s Gary Parrish reports that Johnson and the Toronto Raptors have agreed to a two-year deal …
Update, 7:50 a.m. — The buzz this morning
It seems the first official signings of free agency were made by the Clippers as they officially inked free agents Spencer Hawes and Jordan Farmar to deals. That’s all well and good, but what about the movers and shakers in free agency (we’re looking at you, Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James)?
Today’s Morning Shootaround has everything you’re looking for this morning, including how James is weighing whether or not to stay with Miami or move back to Cleveland, the conflicting reports about Anthony deciding to re-up with the Knicks, the Bulls’ chase of Pau Gasol heating up and more …
Update, 6:59 a.m. — Lesser-impact free agents get nibbles
We’re all still waiting to see what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James decide, but it seems two lesser-level free agents, Anthony Tolliver and Dahntay Jones, might be on some teams’ minds. Shams Charania of RealGM.com has more on Tolliver:
Free agent Anthony Tolliver has been in substantial conversations with six NBA teams – including the Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers – as a stretch-forward addition, league sources told RealGM.
Tolliver has also received interest from the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, San Antonio Spurs and Charlotte Hornets among other organizations, sources said, and teams expect a possible signing next week.
As for Jones, he hasn’t played in the NBA since 2012-13, but may be getting some interest, too:
Update 6:41 a.m. — Hayward puts Jazz on the clock
Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward raised some eyebrows around the league when reports of him agreeing to a four-year, $63 million offer sheet with the Charlotte Hornets bubbled to the surface on Wednesday morning.
The Jazz are on the clock for real now as the Hornets sent out a release early this morning stating Hayward and Charlotte had signed said offer sheet. But, as our David Aldridge pointed out yesterday, don’t be stunned when Utah quickly matches this offer …
Update, 6:33 a.m. — Parsons celebrates his offer
Word broke late last night that the Dallas Mavericks had inked Rockets forward Chandler Parsons to a three-year, $45 million offer sheet that Houston will now have three days to match. Who knows what the Rockets will do — especially considering their widespread interest in Carmelo Anthony and Chris Bosh.
But as is normal these days in the social media age, Parsons’ mother, Terri Parsons, took to Twitter to post an image of her son celebrating with Mavs owner Mark Cuban. Parsons himself also had a tweet worth noting, too …
And, a fan got in on the action, too, snapping a selfie of himself with Parsons and Cuban …
Update, 6:27 a.m. — Everything from the night that was
LeBron James met with Pat Riley and a select few other Miami Heat officials yesterday in Las Vegas to talk about what kind of future he has in South Beach. The meeting ended without a decision from LeBron on whether his future lied in Miami or, perhaps, back in Cleveland.
The overall buzz to take away, though, is that we don’t have any more of an idea what James will do than we did any of the other days leading into or during free agency. As well, there were reports that Carmelo Anthony was headed back to New York, but our David Aldridge cautioned that such news may not yet be true.