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And so far Riley has brought in Marvin Williams, told Deng to take a pay cut, and tried to get Gortat.

3 strikes, LeBrons out?

LeBron wants max and an improved roster. But part of me thinks Miami is just doing all this to build up hype and the big 3 planned on returning from the get go.

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I thought there was a new clause I'm the CBA that free agents can't discuss roster moves with a team to this extent. Or something like that.

I know they put in a new clause after the last big 3 courting.

How is this not against the rules?

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LeBron wants max and an improved roster. But part of me thinks Miami is just doing all this to build up hype and the big 3 planned on returning from the get go.

Riley should have told Bosh to kick rocks from day one. Why he didn't I have no idea. I highly doubt for a second Bosh was about to take a near 9 million pay cut

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I think that Lebron and his agent are using the Cavs as leverage to put pressure on Pat Riley to build a better team around him while finding a way to give him a max contract.

I'm sure the Heat think that this is a sh*tty situation to be in because Lebron is holding them hostage.

Lebron knows that if the Heat lose him, then they lose almost everything.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Updated: July 7, 9:32 AM ET

Rockets intensify Chris Bosh pursuit

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By Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne

ESPN.com

The Houston Rockets have ramped up their pursuit of Chris Bosh and are, in the words of one source, "heavily engaged" in trying to convince the All-Star power forward to leave the Miami Heat in free agency.

Sources close to the process told ESPN.com on Sunday that the Rockets -- though they haven't formally been told they are no longer in the running for top free-agent target Carmelo Anthony -- have intensified their pursuit of Bosh over the weekend in the hope that LeBron James will seriously consider leaving the Heat.

Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard

Sources say the Rockets have ramped up their pursuit of Chris Bosh in the hopes of pairing him with their current All-Star big man, Dwight Howard.

Bosh is resolved to wait on James to make a decision before he makes a decision on any other offers, as his preference remains to return to Miami with James, according to a source. However, the longer the process has gone on, the more Bosh has felt compelled to explore "Plan Bs," the source said.

Miami has remained a favorite to re-sign Bosh, even if it required him to take a pay cut from last season's $19 million salary.

Yet, as ESPN.com first reported Thursday, Houston has been plotting to shift its focus to trying to swipe Bosh from the Heat and convince the Texas native to return to his home state as soon as the Rockets felt like Anthony was out of reach.

Sources say Bosh remains willing to take slightly less than his value on the open market to return to the Heat if James and Dwyane Wade are also coming back and if Heat president Pat Riley can upgrade the current roster. But nearly a week into free agency -- with James' agent Rich Paul having opened negotiations with a handful of rival teams and Riley having secured no free-agent commitments -- sources say Bosh has felt compelled to consider other options himself.

"They appreciate what they've done in Miami those four years together, and they want to make sure they have a chance to have that same success the next four (years)," Henry Thomas, agent for Bosh and Wade, told ESPN.com's Michael Wallace on Sunday at the Orlando Pro Summer League. "With Dwyane, he's been there his entire career, so he's in a unique situation. Chris has made it known how he's felt about being in Miami these four years."

James, Wade and Bosh each opted out of the final two years and more than $40 million left on their respective contracts last month to become free agents.

The moves, in addition to other expiring contracts and options held by Miami's other players, gave the Heat at least $50 million in cap space and flexibility for Riley to retool the roster in free agency. Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have traveled the country in recent days on a tour of free-agent meetings with Pau Gasol, Trevor Ariza, Luol Deng and Marvin Williams, among others. The Heat appear to have set a priority on adding perimeter depth behind James and Wade and also to upgrade the power forward rotation.

Thomas insisted that Bosh and Wade are operating under separate circumstances, but expects them to reach decisions on new deals "within the next couple of days."

Sources say Bosh would expect a four-year maximum offer of $96 million to leave Miami for Houston or any other suitor.

ESPN's Chris Broussard reported Wednesday that Bosh was seeking a five-year deal worth between $80 to $90 million to re-sign with Miami, while Wade is thinking along the lines of $55-60 million over four years.

The widespread assumption around the league, when free agency commenced Tuesday at 12:01 a.m. ET, was that James, Wade and Bosh had all but agreed to return to the Heat after hashing out new annual salaries among themselves. But sources say the Rockets have been aggressive in testing Bosh's resolve, fearing that Anthony will ultimately elect to return to the New York Knicks or sign with the Los Angeles Lakers.

Houston needs a big forward with 3-point range such as Bosh in its search for the ideal frontcourt sidekick to All-Star center Dwight Howard. Sources say Bosh and Mavs star Dirk Nowitzki likely would have been at the top of the Rockets' list of free-agent targets had Houston believed it had a shot at either player.

Nowitzki committed Thursday to staying for three more seasons with the only team he has ever known, rebuffing Houston's attempts to recruit him, but the sudden uncertainty in Miami appears to have given the Rockets an unexpected shot to try to tempt Bosh.

The Rockets have maintained for weeks that they could move the contracts of Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin to create enough salary-cap space to sign a high-priced free agent if they could get a commitment from one of the top names.

Houston has already struck a trade with New Orleans to dispatch Asik to the Pelicans. And ESPN.com reported Saturday that the Philadelphia 76ers are prepared to trade for Lin and the $15 million he's owed next season as long as the Rockets attach suitably attractive assets -- such as a future first-round draft pick or more -- to Lin's contract.

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Am I the only one who thinks that the Hawks should see what it would take to get the Cavs to deal Waiters?

I Waiters was not a fit on the Cavs with just Kyrie and he is definitely not a fit now with Wiggins on the team as well.

Waiters would be best on a team where he can have more chances to be a scorer.

I think that he could have a James Harden type of impact for a team if he doesn't have to play sidekick to another big scorer. It could also make the Hawks at least somewhat interesting to top FAs in the near future if Waiters comes in and flourishes.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Updated: July 7, 12:14 PM ET

Cavs believe James is open to pitch

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By Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein

ESPN.com

After more than two years of planning, the Cleveland Cavaliers believe they have LeBron James listening to their pitch to leave the Miami Heat and return to his home state in free agency, according to sources close to the process.

There has yet to be a firm indication that James is ready to leave Miami after four years and two championships with the Heat, but sources told ESPN.com that the four-time MVP is increasingly considering the Cavaliers as an option as he moves into the final stages of deciding which team to sign his next contract with.

A critical face-to-face meeting with Heat president Pat Riley looms on a day to be determined this week, sources confirmed Sunday night, so that James can hear the Hall of Famer's plans for the Heat's roster. But James' agent, Rich Paul, has already sat down with Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert in what is regarded as the first formal step toward trying to shrink the gulf between James and Gilbert after the ocean of hard feelings stemming from James' departure from Cleveland in 2010 to sign with the Heat.

Sources say that the Cavs' pitch made to Paul last week -- which they also hope to make this week to James in their own face-to-face meeting -- revolves around Kyrie Irving and the other young prospects they have in addition to the numerous options Cleveland possesses to add to the roster over the next year.

The second part of this pitch is what the Cavs hope will be the key selling point in getting James to choose them. Although several teams such as the Heat, Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets have cap space to make moves this summer, the Cavs hope to show James how they have collected and created tools to continue adding into the next few years.

The Cavs also believe they have made the greatest move so far this summer: persuading Irving to sign a five-year maximum contract extension in the first few hours of free agency. With No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins under control for the next five seasons as well, the Cavs are pitching youth and roster stability to James, who played on one of the oldest teams in the league last season.

LeBron James

LeBron James is becoming more interested in the Cavs' free-agency pitch, according to sources. However, James will meet with Heat president Pat Riley sometime this week to receive Riley's plan for the Heat's future.

The team also potentially will own three first-round picks in the 2015 draft. The Cavs will have their own pick, the Memphis Grizzlies' pick if it falls between Nos. 6 and 14 and the Heat's pick if they fall outside the top 10. The Cavs think they can use these as assets in potential trades to further upgrade the roster if James will come aboard.

The Cavs also made an unheralded trade late on draft night that has potential to become valuable next year, an aspect they intend to explain to James: As part of a draft-pick swap, the Cavs traded Alonzo Gee for Brendan Haywood in a deal that will be announced after July 10.

In addition to having size the Cavs need, Haywood has an unorthodox contract created when he was waived via the amnesty clause by the Dallas Mavericks. Haywood will be on the Cavs' books for $2.2 million this season but has a $10.5 million deal for the following season that won't be guaranteed until Aug. 1, 2015. This is one of the most interesting contracts in the league, and the Cavs could use it in a straight trade or a sign-and-trade to add a major free agent next summer, even though they aren't positioned to have cap space.

The Cavs still have several hurdles to overcome. Rival teams are skeptical that James and Gilbert will be able to patch up their differences in the wake of James' televised "announcement" and Gilbert's subsequent open letter that attacked James' character and got him fined by then-commissioner David Stern. There has been a cooling of the tension between the parties in recent years, but James still harbors some ill feelings that both would have to attempt to settle before any partnership could be renewed, sources said.

Perhaps as a sign of the Cavaliers' thawing relationship with James, Gilbert's letter was removed from the team's website Monday. It had been posted and available on the site for four years previously.

On a more basic level, the Cavs currently don't have the cap space to sign James to the $20.7 million maximum contract he is looking for. They have some players on non-guaranteed deals they could waive but will want to keep Anderson Varejao, who has a partially guaranteed deal and is the lone holdover on the team from James' years in Cleveland.

The easiest way to get near the needed space would be to offload the $6.3 million salary of guard Jarrett Jack, and the Cavs have been in trade talks involving Jack for several weeks, sources told ESPN.com.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Lance Stephenson exploring market

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By Chris Broussard

ESPN The Magazine

Nearly a week after the Indiana Pacers offered talented but controversial guard Lance Stephenson a five-year, $44 million contract, the two sides remain far apart on a deal, according to sources close to the situation.

Although his desire is to remain with the Pacers, a disappointed Stephenson began exploring the free-agent market after receiving what he felt was a low-ball offer on Tuesday, sources said.

Stephenson has drawn interest from the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers, although both teams have other free agents prioritized above Stephenson, according to sources.

Dallas, believing it likely will lose out on both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony, will attempt to sign Chandler Parsons away from the Houston Rockets. The Mavericks also have Luol Deng and Trevor Ariza in their sights, sources said.

But Stephenson has also recently emerged as a target of the Mavericks. A month ago, or even a few weeks ago, Stephenson was not on Dallas' radar, but over the past few days the Mavericks have registered their interest, according to sources.

Dallas is intrigued by Stephenson's versatility. He led the NBA in triple-doubles with five last season, and his 7.2 rebounds per game, highest among the league's guards, could help a Mavericks team that was among the league's worst in rebounding.

Like the Mavericks, the Lakers are targeting the summer's superstars -- James and Anthony -- ahead of Stephenson. They also have an interest in Deng and Ariza, but Stephenson remains a possibility should their other plans fail to materialize.

Meanwhile, the Pacers have not let their stalemate with Stephenson stop them from spending elsewhere. Last week, they agreed with guard C.J. Miles on a four-year, $18 million contract and added Croatian forward Damjan Rudez and center Lavoy Allen.

Thus far, the Pacers have been unwilling to increase their offer to Stephenson, and some league sources say they will not move from that stance.

Stephenson, for his part, believes he'll be an All-Star next season and is worth well above the $7.6 million the Pacers' offer would pay him.

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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Updated: July 7, 6:59 AM ET

LeBron James, Pat Riley to meet

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By Brian Windhorst

ESPN.com

Free agent LeBron James is planning a face-to-face meeting with Miami Heat president Pat Riley in the next few days, sources told ESPN.com.

James has been methodical in his approach since opting out of his contract two weeks ago. He has a plan in place, which included a family vacation and time to watch how the free-agent market unfolds.

Rich Paul, James' agent, met in person and over the phone with a handful of teams last week including the Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets.

James is planning to meet with several teams face-to-face this week. He is scheduled to be in Las Vegas for a Nike-sponsored camp this week as well.

Monday would seem difficult, unless James' schedule changes. He has a commercial shoot planned and was expected to travel to Las Vegas later in the day for his annual camp with some of the nation's best young basketball players, an event that opens Wednesday. James also has been planning a trip to Brazil for the World Cup final on July 13, two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press late Sunday night.

James' representatives have made it clear they are looking for a maximum-level contract, which would start at approximately $20.7 million.

USA Today earlier reported James' planned meeting with Riley.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Sources: Chris Bosh considers offer

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By Chris Broussard

ESPN The Magazine

Chris Bosh, after talking with LeBron James this past weekend, is seriously considering the Houston Rockets' maximum contract offer of four years, $96 million, according to sources close to the situation.

Bosh, since opting out of the final two years of his deal -- worth $42 million -- with the Miami Heat, had planned to see what James decided before making his choice.

But a conversation with James about his future in Miami this past weekend created enough doubt for Bosh to begin considering his other options, including Houston's offer, a source said. The source said Bosh did not know whether or not James was staying in Miami.

Another factor in Bosh's decision to look at Houston has been the tenor of his negotiations with Miami. Bosh is willing to take an annual pay cut by accepting a five-year deal worth $80 million-$90 million from Miami.

But sources say the Heat have been trying to get Bosh to accept a lesser deal, obviously so they can have more money to spend in free agency.

The Heat's "low-balling" -- plus his conversation with James -- has led Bosh to take a serious look at Houston's offer.

The Rockets made the same max offer to Carmelo Anthony, but they have come to believe he will not accept it.

Houston will have to trade Jeremy Lin to create the cap space to offer the max to Bosh, but the Rockets are confident they will be able to do that in short order.

This is very interesting to hear and maybe Bosh is the odd man out in Miami?

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Monday, July 7, 2014

Heat want Josh McRoberts

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By Marc Stein

ESPN.com

The Miami Heat are making an aggressive bid to secure a free-agent commitment from Charlotte Hornets free-agent forward Josh McRoberts before president Pat Riley meets this week with LeBron James.

Sources tell ESPN.com that the Hornets are pursuing McRoberts just as doggedly, which has the versatile power forward weighing the two offers as of Monday afternoon.

The Heat have been talking to a number of free agents in hopes of securing a verbal commitment or two to impress James and encourage him to stay in Miami in the face of the serious interest James is drawing from the likes of the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Phoenix Suns.

Sources say that Pau Gasol, Luol Deng, Marvin Williams and Anthony Morrow are among the free agents that Riley and coach Erik Spoelstra have chased. But Miami appears closest to a deal with McRoberts, who sources say is nearing a decision.

Miami's thinking is that McRoberts' passing and shooting ability would make him an ideal complement to James. Charlotte often runs its offense through McRoberts, who is regarded as one of the game's best passing big men.

The two certainly aren't strangers: McRoberts was fined $20,000 during the 2014 playoffs for making excessive contact with his foul on James during Game 2 of their first-round series.

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And the Cavs can just sign Love next year as a FA

Not that easy, the market for him would be hot. Love will re-sign with whichever team trades for him (GS, Houston, Chicago, LA, Boston, or Cleveland w/ LeBron) because whichever team trades for him will have his Bird rights and will be able to sign him for more money than anyone else.I think LeBron wants to be paired up with another star and they're familiar with each other from the Olympic squad. LeBron going to CLE is probably contingent on the fact that Love is moved for Wiggins.

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Not that easy, the market for him would be hot. Love will re-sign with whichever team trades for him (GS, Houston, Chicago, LA, Boston, or Cleveland w/ LeBron) because whichever team trades for him will have his Bird rights and will be able to sign him for more money than anyone else.I think LeBron wants to be paired up with another star and they're familiar with each other from the Olympic squad. LeBron going to CLE is probably contingent on the fact that Love is moved for Wiggins.

Some rumors it might be Melo

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Not that easy, the market for him would be hot. Love will re-sign with whichever team trades for him (GS, Houston, Chicago, LA, Boston, or Cleveland w/ LeBron) because whichever team trades for him will have his Bird rights and will be able to sign him for more money than anyone else.I think LeBron wants to be paired up with another star and they're familiar with each other from the Olympic squad. LeBron going to CLE is probably contingent on the fact that Love is moved for Wiggins.

Love will only resign with certain teams. If Boston traded for him I can't see him resigning with them. Everyone and their momma knows Love wants to play in LA. Everyone. Kyrie already is at the max. Bron wants max money. Cavs can't afford to pay all 3 max deals and have a good supporting cast. Wiggins is cheaper. Now that I think about it I doubt Love will go there as a FA. He would have to take less money if Kyrie and Bron are making max money
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I would be shocked if James goes to work for the Cavs owner after that tantrum he threw. He attacked James Personally! Classic example of burning the bridge down. Plus who is the coach? Brand new, does his style work, can he coach it to NBA players? All that is a guess, nothing is for sure and they can't give him a max deal which means 33mil discount. James is not in the business of hoping for unknowns to work out. He wants a Proven Owner, GM, HC, system and a TEAM.

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