NEWS OF THE MORNING
Report: Heat’s Big Three not working in concert | Reports: Several suitors for Gasol | Report: Kobe returns to L.A. for ‘Melo meeting | Report: Clips, Nets talk deal for Pierce | Report: Bulls plan to amnesty Boozer
No. 1: Report: Heat’s Big Three might not all be working on deal together — Last week, the Heat’s superstar trio of free agents, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, held a meeting together over dinner in Miami. Although few details emerged from the meeting, the common notion being they talked about their future together in the city as a group. ESPN.com’s Chris Broussard reports, though, that Wade and Bosh are unsure of what James is planning next:
When the Miami Heat’s “Big 3″ went their separate ways after a lunch meeting last Wednesday, they went not knowing whether they had played their last game together, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
While Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were committed to returning to the Heat, LeBron James was unsure of what he would do, the sources said.
The only certainty coming out of the meeting concerning James was that he wanted a maximum-level salary.
James did not ask or suggest that Wade and Bosh opt out of their deals or take lesser salaries to allow the Heat to add other top players, according to the sources.
But sources who have spoken with two of the Big 3 said that was not the case. Bosh and Wade are intent on returning to Miami, but neither of them knows what James will do.
“It’s not a done deal,” said one source, when asked about James’ return to Miami. “That’s for sure.”
Bosh and Wade were so uncertain about James’s future after last week’s meeting that one of them spoke about what the Heat might look like without James, according to one source.
While both players expect to sign larger contracts overall, each is willing to take less money annually.
Bosh is looking to sign a five-year deal worth between $80 million and $90 million while Wade is thinking along the lines of $55 million-60 million over four years, sources said.
Those figures, combined with a max-level contract that would begin at $20.7 million for James, would not clear the cap room it would likely take to sign free-agent targets such as Kyle Lowry, Luol Deng and possibly Pau Gasol.
Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel gives Heat fans some hope, though, about LeBron returning … and it comes in the form of the Cavs having interest in Gordon Hayward:
With James yet to put himself in front of free-agent suitors, and with the Miami Heat more than at peace with the likelihood of James’ new contract starting at the 2014-15 NBA maximum of $20 million-plus, came word of the Cavs considering pouring their salary-cap space into an offer sheet for Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward.
Such a gambit by Cleveland, which was reported by ESPN and other media outlets, would effectively tie up the Cavaliers’ cap space until at least July 13, with July 10 the first day free-agent contracts can be offered, and with teams receiving offer sheets having up to three days to match.
A source familiar with Cleveland’s offseason machinations, which have included an NBA-maximum contract extension to guard Kyrie Irving and the selection of Kansas forward Andrew Wiggins with the No. 1 overall pick in last week’s NBA Draft, Wednesday told the Sun Sentinel that it was his impression the Cavaliers have decided to move past a short-term reunion with James, who left Cleveland in July 2010 to sign with the Heat.
The same source, however, said it is possible that even if Cleveland obtains Hayward, it could eventually be through a sign-and-trade transaction that could have the Cavaliers’ cap space back in place.
The fact that Cleveland would be willing to consider tying up valuable cap space for an extended period is an indication of the league-wide sense that James is returning to the Heat, if even for a short-term contract that yet could have him back on the market next summer.