A league source told GetMoreSports.com that Pat Riley and the Miami Heat should not be counted out of the equation, because the key to getting LeBron is being able to get Kawhi. And if you think Riles would not relish an opportunity to get the better of Magic Johnson, you probably did not know that Riley was drafted as a wide receiver by the Dallas Cowboys in the 11th round of the 1967 NFL Draft and owns the trademark to the term “three-peat.”
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“Right before they started the Finals against Golden State, I spent some time with Bron,” Haslem said to reporters during a visit to the Heat’s youth summer camp at South Broward High. “He was in Miami. Me, him and Dwyane got together and we spent some time together and we just chopped it up and we just talked.” James’ future was not discussed, though, with the visit actually coming between the Eastern Conference semifinals and finals. “That wasn’t part of the conversation,” Haslem said. “Obviously, he was getting ready for the NBA Finals.”
Haslem said he’s heard the speculation of a possible James-Heat reunion, with multiple Las Vegas sports books and ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith including Miami as one of the teams in the running for the 14-time All-Star. “That’s what everybody is saying and that’s what I’ve been hearing,” Haslem said. “Honestly, I hear it more on the outside than I have from him.”
What’s your reaction when you see the Heat mentioned as a potential destination for LeBron James? Josh Richardson: “Excitement. I’m not too excited because I don’t know what he wants to do or what he’s going to do. I mean I think we have great pieces to offer to play around him. We play with a lot of intensity. We’ve got a lot of dog in us. You need that in the trenches. That’s all I can really say about it.”
Barry Jackson: Josh Richardson, on LeBron: “We have great pieces to offer [for him] to play around.”
Brendan Tobin: Justise Winslow starts the @MiamiHEAT recruiting early
Though the WestGate Las Vegas sports book has given the Heat tied for the fifth best odds of winning the championship next season (20 to 1) because of a belief LeBron James could return to the Heat this summer, there is absolutely no expectation inside the Heat that James will return. Yes, the Heat would welcome James back if he shockingly decided to come back. But the Heat would need to trade off many of its appealing assets to make this work even in the unlikely event James wanted to return. And if Cleveland refused to do a sign-and-trade with the Heat, Miami would need to trim more than $55 million in salary while taking no money back to create the cap room.
“He’s not [coming back to Miami]. But the fact when ESPN polled 48 players about what they thought might happen with LeBron that they even mentioned the Heat shows that, at worst, the Heat remain relevant in players’ consciousness,” Winderman wrote. “Basically, the NBA players polled still consider the Heat a desirable landing spot. And that is a good thing. But I cannot fathom, as you pointed out, the Heat having enough on their roster to attract such a level of free agent. There was a time when I thought Hassan Whiteside could have been such a lure, but with his role minimized, I don’t see that as the case anymore.”
Rich Paul, James’ agent, has received phone calls inquiring about his client’s availability and they have been told he’s going back to Cleveland. Miami wasn’t one of the teams who called, I’m told. James is currently in Los Angeles at his new home.
One more victory, one more magnificent night at Oracle Arena, and James will get to run off with his buddies again somewhere warm. Miami. Los Angeles. Wherever. There’s a restlessness about James that craves the next big move, the next power play. Franchises are on watch again, believing nothing’s forever in Northeast Ohio. Sooner or later, there’s a belief that James comes into play again, a line of thinking that his inner circle has done nothing to dissuade. As for James himself, well, he has gone so far as to publicly describe an end-of-career scenario that doesn’t include Cleveland.
Stephen A. Smith: I’m in Miami last week. I’m in Miami a few months ago. Skip Bayless, I’m hearing about a return to Miami if this man wins. He ain’t going nowhere if he loses. But, if he wins, his options are open. LA, but especially Miami, a return to South Beach. Look man, there’s a lot going on. And there’s a lot riding on him winning. Losing changes everything, because it keeps there in Cleveland. But more importantly, it keeps him stuck, because he knows he can’t leave until he fulfills his promise. And if you can’t because you’re not a champion, that’s far worse than just choosing to stay because you want to. It’s going to get very interesting. Keep your eyes on it.
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January 21, 2019 | 7:12 am EST Update
Thompson stands to make $18.5 million next season. That’s a big number to take on, even if it’s only for one year, because of the 2019 free-agent sweepstakes so many teams want to have salary-cap space for. Unless Thompson puts a team over the top, then it would probably make more sense for a team to trade for him next season. The Cavs want him around to shepherd younger players through the early stages of this rebuild. They’ll probably be able to get better assets in return for him at next year’s trade deadline. There’s also a chance the Cavs want Thompson long term, and could, therefore, keep him and offer him an extension over the summer. What he thinks: “Blake Griffin got traded. At the end of the day, if the trade is right and the pieces are guys they feel can help the franchise moving forward, I’m totally understanding. It’s a business. If you don’t have a no-trade clause, anything can happen.”
In chasing Davis, the Lakers may need a push from his agent Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who also represents James. “I’d say if the [Philadelphia 76ers offer Ben] Simmons, or with the [Boston] Celtics’ package of picks and young players, the Lakers would probably be third,” the former executive said. “One would think that [Pelicans general manager] Dell [Demps] would want a deal done around the draft [with Boston’s picks].”
In the meantime, Kuzma has shown he can help carry a team offensively. “He’s a legitimate scorer that fits the modern NBA perfectly,” a former general manager told Bleacher Report. “Kuzma has the highest value of the [Lakers’ young prospects]. He’s the most proven.”
There is no reason for the Cavs not to trade him. Really, he was acquired from the Jazz for Korver in December in large part because of his contract — it’s such a tradable commodity. They should move him for the best offer they get now because he’s a free agent at season’s end. He’s a capable player, yes, but at age 27 he hasn’t shown enough to warrant a new contract from Cleveland in this rebuild. A nice player, but not a cornerstone. What he thinks: “I don’t want to be traded, but we’ll see what happens. It ain’t up to me. I can’t dwell on something that ain’t happenin’. Just have to wait and see. I like being around my teammates. They’ve shown me so much love, why would I want to leave?”
The Big3 league will expand to 12 teams and play two days a week, an increase from its Friday night slate last season. The plan is for six teams to play in one city and six in another during an 18-city tour. The minimum age for a player has been lowered to 27, and the league is expected to target former Celtic Jared Sullinger.
It wasn’t that Griffin was angered by the trade. He was angry that he heard about it third-person. He was angry that as friendly as Rivers can be, he didn’t bother to pick up the phone and inform his franchise player, tabbed a “Clipper for life” when he signed a five-year, $173 million contract extension in June 2017.
“I haven’t spoken to him,” Rivers said of Griffin. “That’s happened many times in my career, so I don’t make a big deal of that. You guys do, but I don’t at all. I’ve had some guys, even some guys I’m very close to — most trades and departures don’t go very well, for the record. They just don’t. I can cite you 100 of them, Kendrick Perkins [in Boston], who was like my son. Nah, they don’t go well. We all come back eventually.”