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Lebron A Hawk? Espn Says Hawks Are In Best Position


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will it happen? I would still be stunned - nothing like this happens to Atlanta...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teams eye LeBron, Melo pairing

By Brian Windhorst and Marc Stein

ESPN.com

With LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony officially opting out of their contracts, multiple teams have begun the process of exploring roster moves that would create sufficient salary-cap space to try to sign 2014's marquee free agents in tandem this summer, according to sources close to the situation.

In addition to the Miami Heat's obvious desire to retain James by any means necessary and pursue Anthony if he urges them to do so, sources told ESPN.com on Tuesday that the Cleveland Cavaliersand Atlanta Hawks are among the teams already mulling potential trades designed to clear enough cap space to be able to recruit the two stars and close friends.

The Los Angeles Lakers, meanwhile, had begun exploring such machinations even before the opt outs of James and Anthony had become known, according to ESPN.com's Ramona Shelburne.

The Lakers have been trying in recent days to package the No. 7 overall pick in Thursday's draft with the expiring contract of Steve Nash (who's owed $9.7 million next season) to free up enough room to offer James and Anthony at least $16 million each next season to join forces with Kobe Bryant, Shelburne reported.

As of now, no team that is believed to have any sort of shot at luring James away from the Heat possesses enough cap space to add both him and Anthony at representative salaries. But there are more than 15 teams projected to have significant salary-cap space this summer, raising the possibility that several will try to offload multiple players in conjunction with the draft to create flexibility in the same manner the Heat did in 2010 to create room for their historic free-agent haul.

James' Heat teammates from that haul, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, have until Monday to notify Miami whether they will follow suit and opt for free agency on July 1 or opt in for next season's salaries.

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Teams have both LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony in their sights with both players having opted out of their contracts, sources said.

Sources say the timing of James making his opt out known six days before his deadline of Monday was done in part to give teams who may want to recruit him enough notice to pursuing the needed roster alterations. This includes his own Heat team less than two weeks removed from a lopsided NBA Finals loss to the San Antonio Spurs that had James calling for upgrades to the roster "at every position."

Last week, Heat president Pat Riley acknowledged that team officials had begun discussing the idea of trying to recruit Anthony to join James, Wade and Bosh on South Beach and turn Miami's Big Three into a Big Four, but Riley also conceded that the ambitious concept was a "pipe dream" given the pay cuts it would require to make it happen.

Other teams, however, have been anticipating this contingency for months and that could lead to a flurry of activity around the league in conjunction with the draft and during the first few days of free agency in July, when teams can begin to formally pitch themselves to James and Anthony.

If the Lakers were to successfully shed the No. 7 pick and Nash's contract without taking any salary back, such moves would potentially open more than $33 million in cap space for the Lakers to chase James and Anthony and combine them with Bryant.

The Cavs, meanwhile, have numerous nonguaranteed contracts on their books and extra draft picks they could attach to other players in trades to free up money. There are scenarios where the team believes it could clear in excess of $30 million in cap space without having to trade young star Kyrie Irving or the No. 1 overall pick in Thursday's draft, sources said this week.

But if Wade, Bosh and teammate Udonis Haslem follow James' lead and opt out of their contracts, Miami could likewise create an NBA-record $50-plus million in cap space, which the Heat could use to remake their roster and include James and Anthony.

Atlanta has one of the most flexible rosters in the league with multiple options to move attractive players to other teams to create space. The Hawks, however, have been somewhat reluctant to completely gut their roster as they hope to build off some success last season.

James and Anthony have been friends since they met at a USA Basketball event in 2001 and, according to a recent report from ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, have expressed a mutual desire to play together on the same team full-time someday before their careers are over. James and Anthony are expected to be in contact during their free agent process, since this is the first time they will have been unrestricted free agents at the same time.

In an interview with Vice Sports this week, Anthony said that family considerations and the size of the market will be factors in where he chooses to sign this summer, which could affect the feasibility of certain teams being able to land both players.

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Guest facelessman07

IF they go after him they better make sure the AC unit in the Philips Arena is working at 100% efficiency

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I give this >5% chance of happening but let's game this out.

Who would we have to trade to clear enough cap space? My guess is we would trade Al Horford and Paul Milsap. That would probably clear enough cap space - don't cha think?

NBA trades are always complex because usually both teams have to take similiar salaries.....I think being an NBA GM is the hardest GM to be of all sports because there are so few stars/players and talent year-in and year-out in the draft - plus, even when you get a good team, its so hard to keep together - players have way too much control - Lebron basically has 10 teams that want him by the balls - they have to make moves in advance just hoping he would come to their town - and when he rejects them - its too late, the GM has "F'd" the team up.

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I give this >5% chance of happening but let's game this out.

Who would we have to trade? My guess is we would trade Al Horford and Paul Milsap. That would probably clear enough cap space - don't cha think?

No way the Hawks get rid of both Horford and Milsap. My hair would seriously fall out if that happened.

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I give this >5% chance of happening but let's game this out.

Who would we have to trade to clear enough cap space? My guess is we would trade Al Horford and Paul Milsap. That would probably clear enough cap space - don't cha think?

NBA trades are always complex because usually both teams have to take similiar salaries.....I think being an NBA GM is the hardest GM to be of all sports because there are so few stars/players and talent year-in and year-out in the draft - plus, even when you get a good team, its so hard to keep together - players have way too much control - Lebron basically has 10 teams that want him by the balls - they have to make moves in advance just hoping he would come to their town - and when he rejects them - its too late, the GM has "F'd" the team up.

Horford for sure and probably Milsap.

Teague?

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Horford for sure and probably Milsap.

Teague?

not sure about Teague - he is a talented player just about to hit his prime - I would think Hawks would want to keep him - 'Melo/Lebron play the frontline and Hawks would need some backcourt talent - not sure what to make of Schroder yet - he would probably be trade bait although maybe he could step up.

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I have to admit, a team with Teague, Korver, Melo, Lebron, and Horford would be deadly....Sell Out Every Game. But this is not happening.

you would see a real palpable frenzy in the A-T-L if the Hawks got LeBron - you are right - every game would sell out and the Hawks would need to hire 20 new employees to keep up with season ticket sales.

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I would prefer just Lebron and keep most of the core guys (Horford, Teague, Korver, Milsap). I know we can't keep them all if we are bringing in others.

I am not crazy about Carmelo. Great scorer, but not a winner in his NBA career. Pair him with Lebron though, and that will change obviously.

I love the possibility of Lebron and being a championship favorite. I also know, if Lebron goes out West, we are a player away from being the best team in the East if Horford can stay healthy. If you can get Lebron though, you do whatever it takes.

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