From NBA.com staff reports
Free-agents could sign deals yesterday and we saw some movement on that front Thursday, but the guys everyone is waiting to hear from — LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony — still haven’t revealed their choice. We’re here to keep up with everything going on in the free-agency world, so be sure to check back often …
Update, 12:17 p.m. — LEBRON IS GOING TO CLEVELAND
He tells Sports Illustrated in an exclusive.
Update, 11:58 a.m. — Report: Letter a non-issue?
News about LeBron James, Dan Gilbert and the impact of Gilbert’s letter posted to the Cavs’ website four years ago are flying about. Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel has an update on just what that letter might actually mean to LBJ …
Update, 11:55 a.m. — That ‘other’ contender in the East
While folks are worrying where you-know-who might be headed, let’s not forget the team that did finish with the best record in the East, the Indiana Pacers. Coach Frank Vogel had a couple of things to say about LeBron, the team’s efforts to land Lance Stephenson and more
(And, ICYMI, the Pacers added to their roster today by adding C.J. Miles and Damjan Rudez and re-signing Lavoy Allen)
Update, 11:03 a.m. — Report: Wade unsure of James’ leaning
LeBron James reportedly boarded a flight to travel from his basketball skills camp in Las Vegas to Miami with his Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade, who was said to be on the flight. Who knows what they talked about, but Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski ventures a sourced report that Wade may have been there to provide a last-minute sales job to James on staying in Miami
Wojnarowski provided another update on that flight and chat, which basically keeps the LeBron decision as ambiguous as its always been …
Update, 10:56 a.m. — Magic officially ink Gordon
The Orlando Magic aren’t expected to make a lot of noise in free agency this summer, but they’ve made one move official that was one of the early shockers of the offseason — signing Ben Gordon to a multi-year deal:
Update, 10:34 a.m. — Pierce out at WSOP
Paul Pierce is one of those many, MANY free agents waiting to make his next move in terms of a roster decision. While he was doing so, he spent some time participating in the World Series of Poker tournament, but, alas, he’s out of the running.
Paul Pierce made a remarkable run in the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event.
But his dreams of cashing were squashed early Friday morning, when he was eliminated just shy of the money.
According to ESPN.com’s poker expert Andrew Feldman, Pierce finished in around 800th place. The top 693 finishers get paid.
Nevertheless, Pierce has nothing to be ashamed of. This year’s tournament field featured 6,683 entrants, and the future Hall of Fame forward, who played last season with the Brooklyn Nets, nearly made it to Day 4 in the $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em event.
Pierce was ousted in tough fashion. He went all-in with a board of A-J-3-6-4. Pierce held A-4, two pair, but his opponent, after thinking for a few minutes, called and showed A-J, top two pair. (You can find more details here).
Update, 10:27 a.m. — Hulk Hogan & LeBron James, world changers
Fans of the NBA (and late 1990s pro wrestling) might like this little piece from SI.com’s Extra Mustard crew about how the decisions Hulk Hogan and LeBron James made forever changed sports fandom …
Update, 10:12 a.m. — Morrow getting attention
Most free agents are waiting it out to see what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James do next. One free agent that continues to draw interest — as our David Aldridge tweeted last night — is New Orleans Pelicans sharpshooter Anthony Morrow …
Update, 10:02 a.m. — Some dollars-and-cents facts on LBJ
If LeBron James ends up shifting from Miami to another destination, how does it affect the Heat’s bottom line? ESPN.com’s Darren Rovell spells it out a bit …
Update, 9:18 a.m. — A little look inside the LBJ’s Vegas Camp
The main reason LeBron James was in Las Vegas the last few days was to hold his LeBron James Skills Academy for top-flight high school and college players. The folks over at BallIsLife.com and PointGuardU provide some insight into what went on at the actual camp on the court …
Update, 9:05 a.m. — Just in the neighborhood
He might be in Miami (or who knows where), but hopeful Cavs fans have set up a camp of sorts near LeBron’s home in Ohio
Update 8:46 a.m. — Cleaning up the Bath …
One of the big storylines last night in regards to a potential LeBron James-Cleveland Cavaliers reunion was that the police in Bath Township, Ohio, had been notified by LeBron’s crew to alert them to an announcement last night.
The Akron Beacon-Journal‘s Jason Lloyd clears up what that was all about:
Update, 8:15 a.m. — Report: Gilbert’s letter still an issue for LeBron
Shortly after LeBron James famously made his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat in 2010, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert authored a scathing takedown of James that was published on the Cavs’ website. The letter lingered on the site for years and was recently removed (SB Nation details the process here), but it seems that letter might be hurting the Cavs’ chances of getting James back.
One reason, if not the major reason, that LeBron James has taken so long to decide whether to play in Miami or Cleveland next season is the infamous letter Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert penned about James after the superstar left Cleveland in 2010, sources said.
In the letter, written in Comic Sans font, Gilbert called James a “coward” and mocked the many nicknames and catchphrases attached to James, such as “King James,” “The Chosen One” and “Witness.”
The letter remained on the Cavs’ website for the past four years until the team removed it earlier this week.
While James recognizes that informing Cavs fans and Gilbert, who was told of James’ decision to leave Cleveland in a telephone call five minutes before it was announced, on national television was a mistake, he is still wrestling with whether or not to return to play for Gilbert’s team.
“If it wasn’t for that letter, this would’ve been done awhile ago,” one source said.
Update, 7:03 a.m. — Wade as LeBron pitchman?
As has been widely reported (see below), when LeBron James boarded a flight to travel from his basketball skills camp in Las Vegas to Miami, his Heat teammate, Dwyane Wade, was said to be on the flight. Who knows what they talked about, but Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski ventures a sourced report that Wade may have been there to provide a last-minute sales job to James on staying in Miami …
(BTW, here’s some video of the pair after they landed in Miami. It’s not exactly thrilling)
Hours after the Cleveland Cavaliers believed they were on the cusp of a commitment out of LeBron James, the superstar free agent jetted 30,000 feet over America with Dwyane Wade on his way back to Miami.
The fight for the generation’s biggest free agent raged out of the desert and back to the shores of Biscayne Bay on Thursday night, with James tempering a brimming belief within the Cavaliers into a trepidation that Wade could be playing the part of Pat Riley‘s closer for the Miami Heat.
James played in games in his skills camp in Las Vegas and found himself photographed throughout the day with Wade. Twenty-four hours earlier on Wednesday, Heat president Riley and assistant general manager Andy Elisburg met with Wade and Paul for an hour, discussing the possibilities of a Heat extension and roster overhaul. James left unconvinced, and Riley stayed with the franchise’s cool, nonplussed disposition over the James’ free agency. Riley hasn’t been bombarding James with text messages and calls, but ultimately left Wade as a most intriguing, last-gasp suitor in the desert. As much as anything, Wade’s bad knees could be chasing him out of Miami, and suddenly he had been cast back into the recruiter’s role.
Update, 6:15 a.m. — Everything from Day 1 …
Yesterday, we saw some smaller fish in the free-agent pond (like Thabo Sefolosha, Steve Blake and Chris Kaman, among others) ink deals with new teams. That’s all well and good, but everyone in the NBA world is still waiting to hear what Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James are doing next. Their moves, of course, will shape how the rest of the free-agent dominoes fall.
Late last night, the Associated Press reported that James and Heat teammate (and fellow free agent) Dwyane Wade left Las Vegas together to head back to Miami. Like everything else with LeBron of late, that trip and his accompanying passenger are up to speculation and debate.
Additionally, the AP reports that Knicks boss Phil Jackson has texted with Anthony recently, but he’s still waiting for a decision from his resident All-Star forward.
Oh, and if you missed yesterday’s live blog, catch up with all of the buzz here.
Lastly, our Reggie Miller provides some good insight into what it is like to be a marquee NBA free agent (he knows a thing or two about this from his own playing days) and what LeBron and ‘Melo might be going through …