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Simmons’ idea has some merit given that it wouldn’t be overly difficult to clear the cap room for LeBron James if he gave them the indication that he would like to play for them. The major concern is how he views the ongoing legal struggle involving the sale of the team from the Sterling Trust Fund to former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer. If Ballmer were calling the shots and helping lead the pitch, the Clippers are likely a lot more attractive than they are with Donald Sterling still in the picture. LeBron was one of the first players to come out and say that there’s no room for Sterling in the league. The chances of him retaining ownership of the team are beyond slim, but until he’s officially out of the picture his presence does take away from the attractiveness of the franchise a bit.
LeBron has until June 30 to notify the HEAT of his intentions with his early termination option. He said at the HEAT’s end of season media availability on Tuesday that he plans on meeting with Dywane Wade and Chris Bosh before making a decision. However, it’s hard not to think that Clippers point guard Chris Paul, one of LeBron’s best friends in the league, could get involved sometime before he makes his decision as well to help encourage him to come join him in L.A.
The Rockets’ route to cap space is a little bit more difficult than the Clippers as Omer Asik and Jeremy Lin do not hold the same appeal as DeAndre Jordan and Jamal Crawford. Asik should actually be fairly easy to unload. The Rockets didn’t end up trading him last season because they couldn’t find any suitors, but because they weren’t willing to let go of someone who could be a very valuable trade asset for them this summer. The deals simply weren’t good enough. Even with a balloon payment owed of $15 million, there will likely be multiple teams willing to trade for him given his ability to be a quality starting center. Lin, on the other hand, is going to be more difficult to move, especially just to cut costs.
Amick’s article details the appeals of Houston, which now have them as one of the most attractive free agent destinations in the league. They bring global appeal with their presence in China, have reliable ownership dedicated to winning and a talented team already in place that is headlined by Dwight Howard and James Harden.
If LeBron indeed ends up listening to other suitors, the Rockets will have one of the most compelling cases when it comes to winning right away. Morey has proven that he can wheel and deal to create space when needed, so don’t put it past him to find a way if LeBron says he’s interested.
The Rockets seemed intent on adding a third star this summer and will likely also make a run at Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love as well.
This has been the assumption for a while now. There are just more reasons for Duncan to return than retire. As much of a storybook ending it would be for him to walk away on top like his mentor Robinson did, he’s just too good to leave the game right now.
His health is intact, he’s going to make another $10 million next season and it’s going to be his best chance at repeating in his career. Not only are the Spurs far enough away from the luxury tax threshold to retain their own free agents, they’re also going to have enough wiggle room to add a free agent of note if they want to as well.
Duncan is far too competitive to walk away from an opportunity like that.