Morning Shootaround: June 21


NEWS OF THE MORNING
Heat hot for Dragic | LeBron in a funk | No breaking up Warriors | Dealing in Detroit

No. 1: Miami to offer Dragic 5 years, $80 mllion — It won’t be a max deal, but Miami plans to turn up the heat early in the free agency period by offering point guard Goran Dragic $16 million per season to remain in South Florida as a key part of resurrecting the former champs. Marc Stein of ESPN.com says that the team will offer less than the allowable $100 million overall, because the Heat still have to deal with a new contract for franchise icon Dwyane Wade:

Sources told ESPN.com that the Heat are planning to offer Dragic a five-year deal in excess of $80 million to keep him in Miami after acquiring the 2014 All-NBA third-team selection from Phoenix on trade deadline day in February.

Only Miami can offer a five-year deal this summer to Dragic, who told local reporters after the season that he “had a great time” with the Heat despite missing out on the playoffs. He said on more than one occasion that “I want to come back.”

Heat president Pat Riley has likewise expressed confidence in Miami’s ability to retain him, saying at a season-ending media availability two months ago: “If he doesn’t sign, my ass will be in that seat [next to reporters] next year.”

A five-year maximum deal for Dragic would exceed $100 million but Miami also might find itself dealing with Dwyane Wade’s free agency one summer earlier than expected if Wade decides to bypass his $16.1 million player option for next season. The Heat also await a decision from Luol Deng about his plans to either invoke next season’s $10.2 million player option or opt for free agency.

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No. 2: LeBron still trying to deal with Finals loss — If only it were a case of James Brown, Sly Stone or George Clinton filling up the head of LeBron James. But when the four-time MVP says he’s “still in a little funk,” he’s not dancing. In a streamed testimonial on Bleacher Report’s “Uninterrupted,” James said he’s still trying to get over the 4-2 loss to the Warriors, but vows to keep the Cavaliers contending for championships in the years to come, according to Joe Vardon of the Northeast Ohio Media Group:

“Hopefully I can put our team in position once again to try to compete for a championship next year and year in and year out,” James said on Bleacher Report’s “Uninterrupted,” a series of streamed testimonials James takes part in as part of an undisclosed financial arrangement. “That’s my goal, and my inspiration hasn’t changed.”

James told the Northeast Ohio Media Group during the Finals he is “happy where I’m at” in Cleveland, and in the immediate aftermath of Tuesday’s Game 6 loss to the Golden State Warriors he reiterated his family was happy to be home.

James has a $21.57 million player option on the deal he signed when he returned to Cleveland last summer. He’ll likely decline the option for a new one-year contract worth roughly $22 million with a player option.

In James’ latest “Uninterrupted” video, in which he speaks while sitting in a barber’s chair getting a haircut, he said “being back home is everything that I dreamed of, everything that I thought about.

“Being back with these fans, being back with this community, just being back here and trying to bring joy to this city, which deserves it,” James said. “Bringing a sense of pride to this city, which deserves it. Giving this city something to talk about, which they deserve.”

Of the Finals, in which James averaged 35.8 points, 13.3 rebounds and 8.8 assists but the Cavs’ lost 4-2, he said “it hurt to lose, and I’m still in a little funk right now, but I’m trying to work my way out of it.”

“You know, for a team that’s first getting together, in our first year to be able to reach the Finals, (I’m) not saying I’m happy with the results, but I’m proud of our guys,” James said. “Just the growth that they had from the first day we walked in the gym to the other day, us losing, I’m proud of the guys and what they was able to accomplish.”

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No. 3: Warriors want to stay together — Though league rules prevent him from talking in specifics, first-year general manager Bob Myers hinted that keeping free agent Draymond Green is the high priority, but bringing back most of the roster that won Golden State’s first championship in 40 years is the plan for next season. He spoke to Al Saracevic of the San Francisco Chronicle:

“Our hope is to keep the core together,” said Myers. “That is within our control.”

“Clearly, with the success we’ve had this season, the players have shown this group can win. High character. A lot of youth. They’ve been able to complement each other.”

Beyond Green, the Warriors have a few other questions to answer, but nothing too pressing. With the expected departure of Lee, a former All-Star whose minutes were curtailed drastically because of Green’s rise, the team will be looking for a backup power forward.

A key reserve, Leandro Barbosa, is an unrestricted free agent. Myers and the ownership group, led by Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, will have to decide whether to re-sign the 12-year veteran or look for an upgrade.

“I think the league has shifted a little bit,” said Myers. “Even though it’s perceived we have a lot of shooting, we still could use more shooting, especially in the second unit.

“We could always use a shooter who can defend. That’s on the wish list of the entire league. Spacing the floor has become a major focus for all teams, as we saw in the playoffs and the Finals.”

The good news for Myers? His bosses have plenty of money, and they’re not afraid to spend it. Lacob and Guber have made it clear that success on the court is a priority.

“We want to be fiscally responsible. And we want to win,” said Myers. “Clearly, from ownership, it’s win first. It’s a good place to be. It gives you a great chance to be successful when the ultimate goal is winning.”

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No. 4: Pistons might be ready to deal pick — After trading for “stretch four” Ersan Ilyasova, whom coach Stan Van Gundy says will be in the starting lineup, the Pistons brought in a pair of forwards in Frank Kaminsky and Myles Turner for pre-draft workouts and Terry Foster of the Detroit News says that could be a sign that the team is getting ready to shop its No. 8 pick:

The Pistons sent more signals Saturday that they might be willing to trade away the eighth pick in Thursday’s NBA draft when they worked out big men Frank Kaminsky of Wisconsin and Myles Turner of Texas.

Then again, perhaps Stan Van Gundy and his staff don’t want to leave any stone unturned. Both Kaminsky and Turner will be available at No. 8. And the Pistons appear to be set at power forward after obtaining from Milwaukee “Stretch Four” Ersan Ilyasova, who Van Gundy said would start the 2015-16 season for the Pistons.

If Van Gundy is interested in adding more depth at power forward, he can turn to either Kaminsky, the college basketball player of the year, or Turner. Both have similar games. They can hit perimeter shots and dip inside for buckets. Kaminsky’s major weakness is perimeter defense. And Turner must show more fluidity when he runs.

Both are 6-foot-11 and projected to go anywhere from 11th to 16th. They are competing for a better draft slot.

The Pistons are expected to select a small forward if they keep the eighth pick. There is also a chance they’ll trade up with the New York Knicks, who are looking to deal the fourth pick. If that happens it gives the Pistons a solid shot at Duke forward Justise Winslow or shooting guard Mario Hezonja of Croatia.

Regardless, whomever the Pistons select will be a premier perimeter shooter.

If the Pistons select Kaminsky or Turner it would put them in the market to sign a free agent small forward — perhaps former Piston Arron Afflalo. That becomes a dicey proposition because this has not been a big destination for free agents.

SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Karl-Anthony Towns works out for Timberwolves and looks more and more like No. 1 pick … Greg Oden to take part in mini-camp with Mavericks … Doc Rivers’ mother dies in Illinois … Celtics legend Bill Russell enjoys his role as link to the past at the NBA Finals … Spain’s Rodriguez planning return to NBA … Lance Stephenson says he seeks to change his image with the Clippers.

13 Comments

  1. Indiana'sownLarryBird says:

    Lebron had chances to win the title but Curry got it going and balled in the fourth quarters, and Lebron put on a performance for the ages, these whole playoffs with out Love and Irving but at the end of the day Lebron had chances to win the title, but the Warriors won the ship fair and square, Lebron is the 2nd best player in the league after Curry and that’s not disrespect, i’m a huge Lebron fan and Curry too, but it was what it was and everyone watched it, Lebron is the guy to beat in the East and will be back in the Finals again next year because the East has nobody to beat him, The West now, i like the Warriors chances to repeat, but a healthy Durant, Westbrook, Ibaka, will have something to say, also you can never count out old man river walk… Love this Game!!!

  2. Dan says:

    simple and easy to understand that u put LBJ in any team and it will make it better than anyone who lead the team. Simply saying if you swap LBJ to GSW and Steph Curry to CAVS.. Where do u think LBJ heading to and Steph Curry heading to? So u gotta admitted LBJ is one of the best and is the best player in NBA today and the most valuable player than any other player in the world of today also. If anyone on the same free agent as LBJ today..no one is more favourible than LBJ.

  3. tdotconnect says:

    Come on’ , you guys are going to forever use the excuses , “oh lebron had no one with him” , ” oh he was tired” , this and that and this and that . Fact is , Even the best player in the NBA could not win at the end of the day. His shooting efforts close to the end of the game(s) were not on point, and take this into account Finals MVP went to Igudala , he only started 3 of those games averaged about 20pts or less a game. It does not take one guy to win, basketball is a team sport, and quiet frankly , yeah Lebron scored an average of 38 pts per a game , but hes not the best player ever, A number one player would have boost his teammates confidence, the whole cavs team and Clevland knew that the only one that can get a point was Lebron and sure maybe “if” you guys have kyrie you would have done better or maybe love, but also doesn’t that leave room for more error? instead of Lebron taking 80% of the teams shots now hes down to 50% or 40% because there are these other players that will touch the ball. Plus Kevin Love averaged about 17pts for the season and Kyrie with 21pts. I mean kyrie numbers weren’t bad, but Love’s is that of a bench player. Also , would Kyrie be able to defend Curry properly too? Anyways this is getting too long but GREAT players inspire their team.

  4. willbanz says:

    the cavs did good to go that far within the first year of lebron and all the new guys returning….lebron is the greatest in the game hands down… he just needed his key players …we would of won the whole finals serious…4-2

  5. Chris says:

    Lebron only has 2 rings which he got while playing for the Heat. The Heat won 3 championships. The first was w/o him.

    • Leo says:

      If LeBron James stayed with the heat they would off won a 3 ring for james with the best PG -C lineup.

  6. dustydreamnz says:

    I couldn’t believe the Cavs made the Finals. It was all about LBJ. If you took him out, you’d have one of the worst teams to ever qualify for the Finals so I think that says a lot about how good he really was.

  7. Jb says:

    Well said….CAVs did a great job even in the situattion that they were at…

    Lest others forget, LBJ said that it would take time.

    Enjoy the basketball break and looking forward for the next season…

  8. harriethehawk says:

    I think the media may be overdoing it w/ Lebron James. Of course he is disappointed. But let’s face it, Even he stated when he went back to Cleveland last year, that it would take time and would ne expect an immediate championship. Hey, I think making it to the finals is pretty significant. Cleveland got there without 3 starters. Who does that? I find it amazing but I know Lebron James is a perfectionist Let the guy enjoy his summer w/ his family and regroup. It’s been a tough year.

    • Dan Abraham says:

      Absolutely, imagine if Golden State was out three starters, their 2, and 3, etc., and Lebron had his starters, or maybe even not for that matter, would Golden State win even two games?

      • Kal says:

        all about those STRENGTH IN NUMBERS! … most cynical line turned into positivity ever.
        if Curry = 2 (MVP type allstar), Klay = 1 (allstar), Iggy = 1 (allstar), they were a combined 4 from their leads… if James = 3 (top 10), Cleveland was a 3. that’s all that won this Finals, the Warriors being up 1 Iggy pop.

        as for LBJ… he’s comparing himself to MJ, Kobe, Magic … until he gets another ring, every loss hurts bad. for any other player, even making the Finals just once would be an epic accomplishment.

      • blerot says:

        Don’t you ever learned that History doesn’t work with the word ” IF “. So what if the starters were there and didn’t play well ? Millions of scenarios could have happened, but the one that history will remember is that Golden State took a fourth ring from Lebron James and that they won the finals against him, that’s a fact.

      • cythe says:

        i agree with blerot. Haven’t you ever think why Golden State does have full roster on the Finals? This is because they didn’y force a player to play more than 40 minutes in regular season and in playoffs and stay healthy. That is the difference between GSW and cavs, although cavs does have a deep bench (Marion, Perkins and Miller) who does have championship experience but they didn’t use them. what if Marc Gasol/Lamarcus Aldridge will go to GSW in exchange with David Lee together with Andrew Bogut? It is still not a fact but would be great and might win another title even kyrie, kevin and anderson is in the roster of cavs… #steph30curry